Yarn Over Season is Coming!

Yarn over and basic faggoting stitch patterns

In this final weekend of April, I’m looking ahead to May and spring knitting. Warmer weather (for many!) means lighter knits, such as those incorporating lace patterns. If you’re a beginner (and a Monty Python fan) that statement may have you thinking “Run away! Run away!” In this post I hope to remove some of that fear with an introduction to one of the main maneuvers of lace knitting, the yarn over, known in knitspeak as a “yo.” In the rest of May we’ll look at some of my favorite easy lace stitch patterns, the faggoting stitches—how to work them, and what you can do with them.

What IS a Yarn Over?

A yarn over is, simply put, a strand of working yarn laid over the right needle. The instructions after “yo, ” anchor the yarn over, but are not actually part of the yarn over. This confused the bejesus out of me when I first attempted lace: I wanted a yarn over to be more, to be harder than it actually was!

What you have to do to make a yarn over depends on two things: where is the working yarn as you start and end the yarn over, and which hand holds the working yarn. When knitting, the working yarn is held at the back, on the far side of the needles; when purling, the working yarn is held in front, on the near side of the needles. The path of the working yarn may be the same regardless of which hand holds it, but the moves for getting it there are different when it is held left than when it is held right.


Between Knit Stitches

Between two knit stitches.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a knit stitch, the yarn begins at the back of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be knit (or knit together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in back after the yarn over is made.

First the yarn comes between the needles, then it is laid across the right needle, then it needs to get to the back in preparation for the next stitch(es), the anchor stitch. For left-hand holders, taking the right needle under the working strand completes the yarn over, preparing for the anchoring stitch at the same time. For right-hand holders, bringing the yarn between the needles gets the yarn in the right place for the yarn over, and the motion of working the knit anchor stitch creates the yarn over.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between A Knit and a Purl

Between a knit and a purl stitchIf the last stitch before the yarn over is a knit stitch, the yarn begins at the back of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be purled (or purled together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be brought to the front after the yarn over is made.

The yarn at the back is brought to the front between the needles in order to be laid over the right needle. Then it comes around again to the front for the following purl stitch(es). Left-hand holders take the right needle under the working strand (or lay the strand across) then bring it between the needles again (or lift it over the left). Right-hand holders bring the yarn between the sticks once for the yarn over, then again in preparation for the anchor stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between Purl Stitches

Between two purl stitches.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a purl stitch, the yarn begins at the front of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be purled (or purled together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in front after the yarn over is worked.

The yarn begins at the front; the action of getting the yarn in place for the purl anchor stitch creates the yarn over, Left-hand holders lift the working strand over the left needle to get it in place for purling. Right-hand holders take the working yarn between the needles, and your hand position brings it around, ready to purl.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between a Purl and a Knit

Between a purl and a knit stitch.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a purl stitch, the yarn begins at the front of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be knit (or knit together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in back after the yarn over is worked.

The yarn begins at the front and ends in back. Left-hand holders lift the work strand over the left needle (or take the needle under) to make the yarn over; with the yarn in the left hand it is naturally in back, ready to knit the anchoring stitch. With the yarn already in front from the previous purl stitch, right-hand holders can create the yarn over in the same motion they use to bring the yarn to the back and knit the anchoring stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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