Ask Patty: M1 with a Twist

The little question below fills my nerdball heart with joy. You know I love nothing more than to break it down. So settle in, and let’s talk about our dear old friend, the make 1 (M1).

Hi Patty,

How can I avoid the little gaps/holes that can occur when doing a M1? I’ve tried being a bit looser with my knitting through the loop on them, being tighter, tying to keep it even, etc., but I always seem to end up with a little gap where I made the extra stitch. I’m obviously doing something wrong, but I’m not sure what?

Thank you! Kind regards,


Dear Eileen,

This is not you! If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this very question, I’d be sipping Mai Tai cocktails on my private island.

Unlike that increases worked into a stitch, like a knit front back (kfb) or increases worked into the row below, like a left or right lift increase (LLI or RLI), the M1 increase which is worked between two stitches poses a unique challenge. How do you squeeze a new stitch in between two other stitches without leaving a gap underneath?

It’s all about the running thread.

Let’s start by looking at the relationship between the yarnover (YO) and the make one (M1). They are basically the same stitch with one vital difference: do you work the stitch open by putting the needle into the leading leg (or the hole) or do you work the stitch twisted by working into the trailing leg?

Here we see the running thread from the row below and the working yarn waiting to be pulled through the next stitch:

The running thread is the working yarn that runs between stitches. In a M1, we pick up the running thread (the working yarn) from the row below to travel over our needle, and then we work into the trailing leg to twist it. In a YO our working yarn from the current row takes a detour over our needle before working the next stitch. Then, on the next row, we work that through the leading leg and we get a hole.

See the relationship?

On the left: Running thread lifted before working a m1l. On the right: Yarnover

On the left: Running thread lifted before working a m1r. On the right: Backward yarnover

Which brings us to the dreaded little hole that can come with the traditional M1…

m1l with little hole

M1 r with little hole

This can happen when we’re working with a yarn with no elasticity, like a cotton, but it can also come from the running thread size—lifting the running bar can feel too tight.

Now that we understand the connection between the YO and the M1, let’s look at my favorite M1 method.

Meet the twisted yo.

To create a M1 left, make a traditional YO (yarn front to back over needle). On the next row, you’ll see that YO sits with its leading leg to the front.

On the left: YO as usual. On the right: that YO on the next (in this case RS) row.

Work the YO through the back loop; this twists the YO to the left:

To create a M1 right, make a backward YO (yarn back to front over needle).

On the next row, you’ll see that YO sits with its leading leg to the back:

On the left: Backward YO. On the right: Ready to work backward YO

Work the YO through the front loop; this twists the YO to the right:

You can make your YO on a RS row and twist it on the WS row. If you need your increase to land on the same row as a traditional M1—which would lift the running thread that was the working yarn from a WS row—make your yo on the WS row and twist it on the following RS row.

My favorite is the twisted YO making the YO on the RS row and twisting it on the WS row. Here’s my unblocked, still on the needle sample:

An here are the close ups of my blocked swatch. You can see that twist of yarn fills the gap nicely:

Remember, your mileage may vary. Since each knitter’s working style is different, and each yarn will affect the finished look, try out both methods. Whether you go for the traditional M1 or add a twist, you can get results you like. Now where’s that Mai Tai?

Patty in your Pocket

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