If you’re a continental style knitter, the title on this post probably has your scratching your head. That’s cuz it’s not for you, lol. This is for those who knit English style. If your holding the working yarn in your right hand and “throwing” it for each stitch, then not all yarn overs are the same.
4 Ways to Make A Yarn Over in English Style Knitting
First a bit of
rambling explanation. I learned to knit English style and then taught myself continental. If you are like me, started out English and are wondering if its worth it to learn a whole new way to knit, the answer is oh very much yes. Its worth feeling klutzy and living through the “drop your needles every 30 seconds” phase again. Continental is faster. Once you get good at it, stranded colorwork will be a breeze because you can hold a color in each hand. In continental all the yarn overs are the same no matter what. And continental knitting is faster. I know I already said that but its worth repeating. There are fast English style knitters out there, but for most of us, going continental will speed up the knitting.
But I was English-only when I started. I was English when I tried my first piece of lace. I was completely unprepared for the fact that yarn overs are different if they happened before a purl or after a purl. Previous to that I had assumed yarn overs were yarn overs. The realization that this was
no one had ever mentioned it and….
it was not explained in my pattern and ….
it was not explained in any of the books I owned*
left me feeling betrayed. The world of knitting had been keeping secrets from me and I didn’t like it. AT ALL. I might have cussed. I might have stomped around like a gorilla. I might have pointed out this injustice to every single knitter I knew.
So now its a thing for me. All these years later I’m still very aware of how yarn overs are made. I make a point of discussing the 4 different types of yarn overs in my knitting classes. I guess I just don’t want anyone else to get stuck in their first lace pattern the way I did. And yes, I’m still holding a bit of a grudge.
So here they are, all the four situations that will dictate how to make the yarn over:
- knit, yarn over, knit
- purl, yarn over, purl
- knit, yarn over, purl
- purl, yarn over, knit
If you want to make a practice sampler like the one I’m working with in the video, here is how
Cast On 28 stitches
knit 2 rows
Row 1 (the one shown in the video): k2, [k, YO, k2] twice, [p, YO, p2] twice, [k, YO, p2] twice, [p YO, k2] twice, k2 —- will have 36 stitches
Row 2: k2, [p2tog, p, k] twice, [k2tog, k, p] twice, [k2tog, k2] twice, [p2tog, p2] twice, k2 —- will have 28 stitches
Repeat rows 1 & 2.
*It wasn’t in any book I owned at the time. I later found this topic covered in detail in The Principles of Knitting, a must-have-book for a geek knitter such as myself. Its the most comprehensive knitting resource I’ve found. June Hiatt (the author) knows absolutely everything about knitting.