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Thanks so much! I have been trying to figure out a yarn-over for about 20 minutes and your post helped me instantly.

Holly Burnham

Excellent explaination..........

Sue Smith

Hi. I have been reading through the book "Knitting Counterpanes" by Mary Walker Phillips (ISBN No. 0-918804-98-1) and on page 72 the pattern calls for yarn overs (abbreviated to "O"). When knitting the row following a yarn over, some rows instruct you to "knit O closed" whilst other rows instruct that "the O's remain open". Have you any idea what these terms mean. I would really appreciate any help you may be able to offer. Kind regards.


why is it some patterns say to yarnover


just making a caston stitch

to add one stitch to the row?


Annie, to answer your question, a yarnover is generally used where one wants
a hole, for decorative purposes (as in lace) or functional purposes
(as in a small buttonhole). It's often paired with a decrease so that
the stitch count remains the same, although sometimes it is used as a
decorative increase. Where a hole is not desirable, a different type
of increase is usually used.

For more information, you might like to read my series on increases,
beginning with this post:


Great discussion-I think I get it now. How about a "yarnover twice" instruction? I gather this means wrap the yarn twice around , but then do you knit/purl them on the next row as two new stitches or what? I guess this makes a really big hole.

I make a lot of magic loop socks, and have trouble making a yarnover that is the last stitch on a side.

Thanks for your patient explanation. I'm amazed that instructional books gloss over the complexities completely.


Thank you so much! I KNEW this was easy, and yet I kept screwing it up!

Isn't common sense grand?


thanks so much! I was SO confused about YO and purl for a fancy baby mitten with this instruction:
* yo, with yarn in back sl 1 as to p, k 2 tog., p.s.s.o., yo, p 2, repeat from *

now it all makes sense : )


Thanks, this is so wonderfully well explained.

You have the gift!


You have saved me hours of frustration, and in a nutshell explained why I keep ending up with the wrong number of stitches on my needles! I wish I could bake you a big chocolate cake and leave it anonymously, it's that big of a rescue! Thanks a million!


how do you wrap yarn around the next st and return it to the left needle thanks.

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I would like to get a magazine from you that will be perfect because you can explain everything in there and it will be easier for us.

Jinni Black

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Absolutely the best explanation. Now, I know why my 'lace' looked funny, and my pattern didn't repeat evenly. So wish this explanation were in at least one of my 'how to knit' books.

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One big source of the confusion is that there are a lot of bad instructions out there. that's why I love your post, because you explain everything amazing

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