M1 vs inc 1

Ok, I need someone to explain this to me.
In another post someone said that if you do one instead of the other your counts will be wrong. How can that be?
If I have ten stitches and I increase one (knit front and back) don't I then have 11.
If I have ten stitches and I M1 (either picking up or backward loop) don't I then have 11.

What am I missing?


HuskerChub's picture

OK, I'm the pot stirrer so let me see if I can explain it in some fashion that makes sense. Others who understand what I'm saying, please feel free to jump in!! If you have 10 stitches and want to end up with 14 stitches you can do an increase (knit in front and back) or a M1 (various methods) and you will end up with 14 sts. 4 + 10 = 14 ALWAYS, right? Well, maybe not (see below). It's not just the final number that the "count is off" but the spacing also. If a pattern tells you to "increase 4 sts on the next row" it is knitters choice, BUT if a pattern tells you "*K2, M1*,K2" you better M1 as shown below. We are starting with 10 stitches and we want to add 4 stitches on the next row for a total of 14.--| is an existing knit stitch ^ is a M1 and & is a knit in back of loop (inc)

*K2,M1*,K2 | |^| |^| |^ | |^| |
*K2,Inc1*,K2 | | |&| | |&| | |&| becomes *K2, inc1,*,K1 AND you only have 3 new sts using the knit infront/back thus your count is now off as you only have 13 sts NOT the 14 you need.

In order for you to get the 4 sts added you need to work
K2,*inc1,K1*K1 | | |&| |&| |&| |&| which is even more than being off st count, it's a total rewrite of the pattern.

I hope that this clears up some of the confusion. If you have more questions ask!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Great explanation, Shawn! Some patterns are indeed generic enough that it isn't so critical what type of increase you use but some have to be very precise and that's where you have to ensure you do the right thing. Thanks. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

knit_knot_eat's picture

I think I get it.
So if the pattern says k2, inc 1, k2
I would knit stitches 1 and 2. Then on stitch 3, if I knit front and back, I am doing that on the 3rd stitch, in a sense splitting it into stitches 3a and 3b, and then knit 2 again. That would end up with a total of 6 stitches.
But if it says k2, m1, k2
I would again knit stitches 1 and 2. Then I would make one, not touching that third stitch yet. So I'll call this one M. Then for knit 2 it would be stitches 3 and 4. Now my left needle has 5 stitches.

Is that right?
So if this is SOOO important, why do patterns leave it up to chance? If they want me to knit front and back, then say it. If they want me to make a backward loop, then say it.

I guess I need to remember this difference. I'm just not sure I know which of my techniques are increases and which ones are makes.

Forever learning I guess.

YarnGuy716's picture

Jumping in here... in some cases it won't matter which method you use, but in others it will. Specifically the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs describes the Make 1 as lifting the horizontal strand between 2 stitches, twisting and forming the loop to knit through. So the pattern specifies how you should do the increase because this is a case where a different increase would not work for you.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating. That specific pattern is very well written. If you follow the pattern as it is written your slippers will turn out correctly.

HuskerChub's picture

Yes, you are starting to understand the basics of the difference. Usually, if a pattern just uses the generic term Increase it is knitters choice and a knit infront/back will not change anything but if it says M1 that is where the mistakes will start. In you're 1st example of K2, inc1, K2 you are spot on with the K2, K3A, Ktbl3B, K2 becoming 6 instead of 5. However, there usually would not be 2 at the end to Knit but only 1, which would then put you at the correct 5 sts. SO CONFUSING! I think that if you can on 10 stitches and actually knit the 2 examples it will become crystal clear. Any, yes there is always something new to be learned in knitting, I've been knitting 25 years and teaching 15 and am always finding a new technique to learn.