Figure It Out Friday

The yarn over stitch for English knitters

Today is a continuation from last week’s thoughts on the series of stitches: [yo, sl1, k1, psso].  The confusion comes for those of us who are English Knitters (hold our working yarn in our right hand). This simple stitch wracks our brains! Time to break it down. The essence of a yarn over stitch is to add a stitch between two already established stitches. If you think of the mechanic of this stitch, and the fact that you are adding a stitch, SOME of the confusion surrounding this stitch can be eliminated.

The yarn over stitch is abbreviated as yo. It functions differently depending upon the stitch prior to and following the yarn over. Here are four variations:

  • Yarn Over (between 2 knit stitches): abbreviated as [k1, yo, k1] When you get to the point where it says yo, bring your yarn to the front and then proceed with the following knit stitch KEEPING YOUR WORKING YARN IN THE FRONT. This series of stitches, I feel, would be better abbreviated for English knitters as [k1, k1wyif].
  • Yarn Over (between 2 purl stitches): abbreviated as [p1, yo, p1] When you get to the point where it says yo, your working yarn will already be at the front because you just purled a stitch. Next, take your working yarn (which is in the front), wrap it over and around your right needle and back to the front again (counter-clockwise wrap). Proceed with your next purl stitch. In this case, I think of the yarn over as a wrapping of the yarn over and around the needle.
  • Yarn Over (between a knit stitch and a purl stitch): abbreviated as [k1, yo, p1] When you get to the point were it says yo, you  need to bring your working yarn to the front, and then wrap it again around the needle in counter-clockwise motion ending with the working yarn in front again. Proceed with the purl stitch.
  • Yarn Over (between a purl stitch and a knit stitch): abbreviated as [p1, yo, k1] When you get to the point where it says yo, your working yarn will be in the front of your work because of the purled stitch you just made. Keeping your working yarn in the front, simply just knit the next stitch. I feel that this series of stitches would be better abbreviated as [p1, k1wyif].

‚ÄčHere’s a quick video illustrating each of the above yarn over combinations. Hope this clarifies some confusion with such a bugger of a stitch. Happy Friday! Happy knitting!


Somewhere OVER The Rainbow…

“That’s where you’ll find me…” – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Yarn over (YO). I have been a very mechanical knitter: I look at the pattern, I follow each instruction, and without any accompanying creative wonderings I move the yarn to the front. Until now. 

I’ve recently been dabbling in some lace patterns and have continuously found an error, or something that “just didn’t seem right”. I would take out the yarn, start over, follow the instructions and again, the same error. Always occurring right at the YO. And so, I forced myself to think. Why does this keep happening? What’s wrong? I’m doing exactly what it says. Why? Why? Why? 

A yarn over often occurs in this fashion: yo, sl1(slip 1 stitch), k1 (knit 1 stitch), psso (pass the slipped stitch over the stitch you just knit).   This was the particular yarn over that kept getting me in trouble. I investigate. And I realize one thing: the yarn needs to stay in the front! Seems simple, but here’s what I was doing:

  • Yo – I would bring the yarn between the two needles to the front as though to purl
  • Sl st- With the yarn still in the front, I slipped the next stitch over to the right needle.
  • Knit – I moved the working yarn to the back and knit the next stitch. WRONG!

DISCLAIMER: this pertains to English style Knitters. For us “throwers” a yarn over can’t stand alone. It relies upon the following stitch. Once this next stitch is completed, the yarn over now becomes a secured newly made stitch and when knitted on the way back; it creates a space in your work. Because a yarn over needs an accompanying stitch to be functional, and I always treated the sl1 as the accompanying stitch, my method gave incorrect results. In this series of stitches [yo, sl1, k1, psso] the accompanying stitch is the k1, not the sl1. I needed to keep my yarn to the front even after I slipped the stitch so that the yarn still remained in the front AND THEN I could complete the yo WITH the k1.  

This might explain better…
Problem solved. I am enlightened!

My yarn over troubles are no more and I began a new project. This project; unfortunately, comes with sad circumstances. Our little Norwegian community lost a very young life in October. She happened to be the 18 year old daughter of Cecelia’s kindergarten teacher. It was a car accident, explained only by the lack of wearing a seat belt. Like all daughters, Haley was a bright sunshine in her mom’s life and had a special fondness for sunflowers, among all things outdoors. Mrs. Fauske regularly adorns herself with scarves and so Cecelia and I thought a sunflower inspired scarf might be a comforting gift. 

I have sung for many funerals. It’s never an easy thing to do, but has proven much more difficult for me since having children of my own. This funeral tugged at my heart in a way none have before. And as I sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow, all thoughts of my own kids flooded my eyes. Unstoppable tears and a lump in my throat. The loss of a child…so unfair, so soon, so sad. I’m indulging my day with the munchkins I love.  The same munchkins whom I too often let add stress to my day, rather than welcome the joy they bring. Mrs. Fauske wants more minutes with Haley. I’m indulging myself with these precious minutes. Hope you do the same.