Yarn Over (yo)
One of the easiest and most common ways to create an extra stitch in knitting is with a yarn over. Not only does this technique increase your stitch count by 1, yarn overs also leave you with a neat little eyelet that can be a decorative increase, an element in lacework, or even a buttonhole.
The most important thing to know about a yarn over is that it is simply the act of moving the working yarn from one place to another. It does not include the actual knitting or purling of a stitch. A yarn over creates a stitch only when you work the next stitch, but by itself, a yarn over does not make a stitch.
Here’s a video of how to work a simple yarn over between two knit stitches, as well as some slightly more complicated yarn over situations, followed by the same thing written out!
Between Two Knit Stitches
To work a yarn over between two knit stitches, bring the working yarn from the back of the work to the front by moving it between the two needles. Bring the working yarn over the top of the right needle as you knit the next stitch as usual. On the next row, that strand that came over the top of the needle will be worked as a normal stitch… And a stitch is born!
Two Yarn Overs In A Row, Between Two Knit Stitches
To work two yarn overs in a row, you bring the working yarn forward between the needles as you would for one yarn over, then wrap the yarn over the top of the right needle and bring it back forward between the needles again, in essence wrapping the yarn once around the right needle. As you knit the next stitch, the yarn will naturally wrap over the right needle again, making a second wrap (i.e. yarn over) on the right needle. On the next row, you will treat these wraps as two stitches.
Between Two Purl Stitches
To work a yarn over between purl stitches, all you have to do is bring the yarn from the front of the work (where it already is from having just purled) over the top of the right needle, then between the needles to the front of the work, ready to purl.
After A Knit + Before A Purl
To work a yarn over after a knit and before a purl stitch, bring the working yarn forward into the purl position. Next, bring the yarn over the top of the right needle, then between the needles to the front of the work, ready to purl.
After A Purl + Before A Knit
To work a yarn over after a purl and before a knit stitch, you simply leave the working yarn in the forward purl position, then knit the next stitch as usual. As you knit the stitch, the yarn will automatically come over the top of the right needle, creating a new stitch!
A yarn over is just the act of moving the yarn, not the act of knitting or purling a stitch. What this means in real life is that when a pattern says, for example, “k3, yo, k3,” there are only 6 stitches to work, and you knit the first three, make a yarn over (i.e. bring the yarn forward between the needles), then knit the last three. Let us know if you have any questions and good luck with your yarn overs, wherever you meet them!