Step-by-step tutorial for making 1 stitch with a backward loop – a simple right-leaning knitting increase that can also be used at the end of a row.
There are many ways to increase knitting. It starts with a simple yarn over and ends with the quite complicated KLL. One technique that is often overlooked is the backward loop increase. I find this strange because it is actually quite a versatile increase.
You can use it in the middle of a row/round, but it’s one of the very few increases you can also use at the very end of a row. You can even cast on stitches with it. Then it’s known as the single cast on, though it results in a rather tight edge not suitable for a lot of patterns.
The major difference compared to almost all other knitting increases is the fact that you do not use any strands from the rows below or previous stitches. This puts less stress on the fabric. On the negative side, this may result in little gaps in the fabric – especially if you are a very loose knitter.
The “Make 1 with backward loop” is a directional increase. The standard stitch leans somewhat to the right. If you scroll down a bit, I’ll show you the corresponding left-leaning version of the backward loop increase.
ⓘ In knitting patterns, the backward loop is often abbreviated with M1BL. Sometimes it’s also just M1. Some advanced patterns may differentiate between M1 right loop and M1 left loop. Be careful to not confuse this with M1R and M1R.
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- Wrap the working yarn around your left thumb clockwise with your right hand.
- Insert your right needle through the loop you created from below.
- Remove your thumb and pull tight. Then, continue knitting as normal.
- (optional) To cast on another stitch, especially at the end of the row, wrap the working yarn around your thumb clockwise again, and continue repeating steps 1-3 until you increased the desired number of stitches.
As a continental knitter, you can also try to insert the needle directly into the yarn around your index finger (so, skipping step 1) from below.
Backward loop increase to the right / M1 Right loop
A lesser-known alternative to the standard M1BL is the left-leaning variation. You will knit it almost in the exact same way, the only difference is the way you wrap the working yarn around the thumb.
Step 1: Wrap the working yarn around your thumb counter-clockwise using your right hand.
Step 2: Insert the right needle into the loop you created from above/behind.
Step 3: Remove your thumb and pull tight.
Step 4: Repeat as you see fit or continue knitting according to your pattern.
Tip: As a continental knitter, the yarn around your index finger is most probably already wound up correctly for step 2. So, you can also insert the right needle directly from there.
How to keep the two m1 increases apart?
For the left-slanted version, the tail of the working yarn should lead towards the front after you finished the increase. For the right-slanted version, the working yarn should lead towards the back.