What does ‘Yarn Over Knitting’ mean in knitting patterns? This instruction is telling you to wrap the yarn over your needle an extra time when knitting your stitch. It is used as an extra stitch when increasing and is also used to make small eyelet holes as part of a textured pattern, as small buttonholes, or in lace knitting.
How to Do Yarn Over in Knitting Tutorial
Yarn over is a very easy stitch to work. Many new knitters learning how to knit are intimidated by lace knitting, but it is actually very easy to create simple lace patterns once you’ve learned to yarn over.
You simply have to the yarn over (which increases a combine stitch) with a decrease so that you end up with the same number of stitches in your row. This creates a decorative increase.
Abbreviations In YO Knitting
The abbreviation for yarn over knitting is YO. It is also sometimes written as YON, yarn over needle.
- k = knit stitch
- p = purl stitch
- k2 tog =- knit 2 together
- p2 tog = purl 2 together
- st (s) = stitch(es)
- YOYO = Double yarn over.
- sl = slip
- psso = pass slip stitch over.
- Rep = repeat.
How To Do Yarn Over Knitting Between Knit Stitches
- Knit to where you want the YO to be.
- Start with the yarn at the back of the work. (As for normal k.)
- Bring the yarn forward between the needles.
- Lift the yarn in front of the needle over the right needle and take it to the back of the work.
- Knit the next stitch while still holding the yarn to the back.
- When you have knitted the next stitch, you will see the YO as another stitch in between the 2 stitches you have just knitted.
- When you have completed the next row, your YO will appear as a tiny hole between 2 stitches, and it makes an increase of 1 stitch.
How To Do Yarn Over Knitting Between Purl Stitches
Purl to where you want the YO to be.
- Bring the yarn to the front of the work. (As for normal purl stitch.)
- Wrap the yarn around the needle completely- wrap it over the right needle, then bring it back to the front of the work between the needles.
- Purl next stitch.
- The YO will appear as a stitch in between the 2 stitches you have just purled.
How To YO, K2 Together
Because your YO increases the stitch count by one each time you work it, if you do not want to use it as an increase stitch, you will need to follow it up with a decrease. To keep your stitch count even, this is the method:
- Bring the yarn to the front of the work.
- Lift it over the needles to the back, ready to knit the next stitch. (This is your YO.)
- Insert the right needle into both of the next loops, knit through both loops. (This is your K2 tog.)
- Purl all the stitches in the next row. Your stitch count should be the same as the number of stitches with which you started.
What Is Double Yarn Over Knitting?
If you are using the YO as a buttonhole, it will create a tiny hole for a tiny button. If you want to create a larger buttonhole, you need to work a double YO, abbreviated as YOYO. To create a YOYO:
- Bring the yarn forward.
- Wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit.
- Bring the yarn forward a second time.
- Wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit again.
- You will have 2 wraps around the needle.
- You now have to purl the one strand and knit the second one. If you don’t work ‘opposite’ stitches, it won’t form a nice neat hole. I actually find it easier to transfer my loops to the left needle. Be careful not to drop that second loop, it will want to fall off your needle!
- So, purl the first loop that you made.
- Bring the yarn back and knit the second strand into the back of the loop.
- Knit normally across the next row.
- This stitch will increase your stitch count by 2. So if using it to make a buttonhole you must then k 2 tog twice to make your stitch count correct. Keep counting those stitches!
How To Yarn Over At The Beginning Of A Row
Sometimes, your pattern will say YO right at the beginning of a row. This will be to increase rather than to create an eyelet hole.
If you are working ak row:
- Place the yarn in front of the right hand needle before you start knitting. (Instead of at the back, as you would normally do for ak row.)
- Insert the needle under the yarn, move it to the back as for ak stitch.
- K the first stitch. You extra loop will be before your first stitch.
If you are working ap row:
- Take the yarn to the back of the right hand needle. (Instead of the front, as expected.)
- Wrap the yarn all the way around the needle and bring it to the front.
- Work the first p stitch.
Yarn Over Knitting Troubleshooting and Mistakes
Because the YO is such an easy stitch to learn, it is unlikely that you will make any mistakes while working them.
The most common mistake is to forget to knit 2 together after working a YO, so altering your stitch count. If this happens to you, just tink back to where you worked the YO, and then work the decrease straight afterward.
Even if you have knitted a few rows before noticing, it is still easy to pull out those rows and find where you worked the YO, as it is a visible loop rather than a true stitch.
Is more common to accidentally create a YO where you don’t need one! This sometimes happens to starter knitters, who have unwittingly moved the yarn forward when knitting or back when purling. The only solution is to pull back to where you found your accidental eyelet hole and then redo that row.
Easy Lace Stitches With Yarn Over Knitting
If you are substituting a lace pattern for stockinette stitch, please check your gauge! Lace are patterns especially pretty and create a cooler garment, ideal for in-between seasons.
It creates neater work if you have a stabilizing edge stitch at each edge of your piece, k on k rows, p on p rows.
Eyelet Lace with Yo Knitting
The simplest pattern is an eyelet lace knitting pattern.
- Cast on an even number of stitches
- Row 1: k
- Row 2: k
- Row 3: k
- Row 4: p1, YO, P2 tog to end of row, p1
How easy is that? And you thought lace knitting was going to be complicated!
2 Row Repeat Lace Pattern Using Yarn Over Knitting
- You need to have a multiple of 4 sts + 2. The 2 is for your edge or selvage sts.
- K a stabilizing row.
- Row 1: k1, (edge st.) *k2, YO, k2 tog. Repeat from * to last st of row, k1.
- Row 2: p1, *p2, YO, p2 tog. Repeat from * to last st. P1.
- Repeat these 2 rows until your work is the desired length.
Open Work ‘V’ Stitch
That is what this one is called, but those ‘Vs’ look upside down to me!
This yarn over stitch pattern is slightly more complicated, because to get that nice symmetrical look, instead of just k2 tog, you will also be working sl1, k1, psso.
This makes the stitches lean in the right direction. It really isn’t demanding to work, you will soon get into the rhythm of it, and it is a very pretty stitch pattern.
- Cast on multiple of 12 +2.
- Row1: k
- Row 2 and every alternate row, p.
- Row 3: k1, * k7, YO, sl1, k1, psso. K1, k2tog, YO. Repeat from * to last st, k1.
- Row 5: k1, *k8, YO, sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, YO, k1, Repeat from * to last st, k 1.
- Row 7: k
- Row 9: k1, * k1, YO, sl1, k1, psso k1 k 2 tog. YO, k6. Repeat from * to end of row, k1.
- Row 11: k1, * k2, YO, sl1 ,k 2 tog, psso, YO, k 7. Repeat to last st, k1.
- Row 13: Rep from row 1.
It really isn’t as difficult as it looks! You are working the same pattern in each k row, but you are staggering it slightly to give that upside-down V look.
Yarn Over Knitting – In Conclusion
Because yarn over is created by moving the yarn from front to back or back to front, it is often made as a mistake by new knitters. When worked properly, it gives a very attractive lacy effect, and there are dozens of lace patterns you can make using this simple stitch.
I had a little chuckle the other day when reading through an old pattern book, and all these lacy stitches were referred to as ‘layette stitches’! As though we can’t make lovely adult garments using yarn over in knitting!