What is a Yarn Over? Basically, it is a hole (or eyelet) in your knitting that is made on purpose. Simply put, all you are doing is wrapping the yarn over the right needle to create a hole. This increases the stitch count, and you will almost always be performing a decrease to get rid of that extra stitch. I say almost always, because there can be any number of reasons that you do not want to decrease – think of a triangle shawl that is worked from the bottom up and uses yarn overs as the increase. You need the stitch count to increase so that the shawl gets wider at the top, therefore there are no decreases performed in conjunction with the YO. You may see other terms for making these holes, depending on whether your next stitch is a knit or purl. Usually, the different terms are used in British or European knitting patterns; American patterns typically just use YO. It can all be pretty confusing, even for seasoned knitters. YFWD: Yarn Forward - This is a YO done between two knit stitches. Bring the yarn forward between the two needles, over the top of the right needle, and back into position to knit the next stitch. Be careful on this one – it may not mean you are supposed to make a hole by bringing the yarn forward. You may be bringing the yarn forward to slip the next stitch, creating a running strand across the work. If your pattern does not specify, look at the picture of the finished item. Are there eyelets on the fabric? If so, then you will be making a yarn over. Another clue indicating a hole is to be made is a corresponding decrease. YRN: Yarn Round Needle - This is a YO done between two purl stitches. You should already have the yarn in front of the work; bring the yarn over the top of the needle and around to the front again into position to purl the next stitch. YON: Yarn Over Needle - This is a YO done after a purl and before a knit. You're starting with the yarn in front, and need it in back, so bring it over the needle into position to knit the next stitch.

YFRN: Yarn Forward Round Needle - This is a YO done after a knit and before a purl. Your yarn is in the back, so bring it forward to the front, then over the needle and around to the front again so it is in position to purl the next stitch. You can also make your yarn over another way. If you are knitting, and plan to purl the next stitch, simply leave the yarn in the back of the work in knit position, place your needle into the next stitch ready to purl, and then bring the yarn forward and purl. If you are purling, and plan to knit the next stitch, leave the yarn in the front of the work in purl position, place your needle into the next stitch ready to knit, and then bring the yarn to the back and knit. So what if you are happily knitting along, and discover that you forgot to make a yarn over on the row below? All you have to do is insert the tip of your right needle into the running strand between the stitch just worked and the next stitch on the left needle, and scoop up the yarn. You now have your yarn over. It will be a little smaller than a regular yarn over. You may also run into a situation where you have made a yarn over by accident on the previous row. This is a very easy mistake to fix. When you get to the accidental yarn over, all you have to do is simply drop it, and keep on knitting. Don’t work it, just drop it from the left needle as if it had never been there. Since a yarn over is independent and not attached to another stitch, dropping it will not cause your work to unravel or otherwise interfere with your fabric. And finally, multiple yarn overs. This creates a larger than normal yarn over. You may not see these often, and when you do it will probably be in older or ‘vintage’ knitting stitches. The pattern will indicate how many times you are to yarn over, and how the wraps are to be worked on the following row. For instance, if you have a pattern calling for YO (2x) or YO – twice or some similar wording, all you need to do is make a yarn over as normal, and then make another yarn over. On the following row, you may be directed to work only the first of those wraps, or work all of them. Again, the pattern will tell you. Maybe the first will be knit and the second will be a purl, or purl the first and knit the second. Seems tricky, but really it isn’t very hard at all. It is often hard to see in your mind what the written word is trying to convey. Therefore, I have a video on making yarn overs. You can find the video on the blog – sapphiresnpurls.com under the Yarn Over 101 post on May 30, 2012, or on my YouTube Channel. You can find the link to my videos on the Sapphiresn-Purls Blog.


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