A step-by-step tutorial on knitting KFB. An easy left-slanting increase for beginners.
So, your pattern tells you to increase with KFB and you have no idea what it means and how to knit it? Well, you came to the right place. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you exactly how to KFB.
What does KFB mean in Knitting
The abbreviation KFB stands for “Knit front back” and refers to a popular knitting increase where you knit twice into the same stitch – once through the front of the loop and one more time through the back loop of the same stitch. It is also known as “Bar Increase” because you’ll create a little visible purl bar with it. Sometimes is also abbreviated as “K1fb” or even “K1f&b”.
The resulting increase leans towards the left (so just like M1L) and is quite visible in stockinette stitch due to the little bar. Further down below, I’ll show you a variation of the KFB without the bar. The right-leaning counterpart is called SKL – slip, knit, lift. The purl equivalent is pfb – purl front & back.
So, let’s show you how to increase with knit one front and back:
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- Knit one stitch (so, just do a normal knit stitch) AND DON’T slip it onto the right needle.
- Insert the needle into the back loop of the same stitch from right to left.in.
- Wrap the yarn around your needle counter-clockwise and pull the yarn through and drop the stitch.
And there is your KFB. It’s really that simple. Essentially you are combining a regular knit stitch with a knit through the back loop (ktbl) into the same stitch - hence the name.
KFSB – Knit front, slip back
So, you don’t like the little bar / bump the KFB creates and you are wondering if there is a way to avoid it? There are plenty. The most invisible left-slanting increase for stockinette stitch is probably KLL (Knit through left loop). But if knitting into a stitch two rows below sounds a bit too complicated to you, you can achieve a similar result called KFBS – the abbreviation for knit front, slip back.
Instead of knitting the second part of the increase through the back loop, you only slip the back loop onto your right needle. Here is how:
Step 1: Knit one stitch and don’t drop it off your left needle (so just like before).
Step 2: Insert the needle in the back loop of the same stitch.
Step 3: Slip it onto your right needle WITHOUT knitting it through the back loop.
And that’s it. It’s even simpler than the KFB and quite a bit less conspicuous. You will see the tiniest little eyelet but as long as the portion of the fabric is not put under stress, you won’t really be able to see it.
Note: In patterns, where knit stitches are followed by purl stitches (like Moss Stitch, etc) this increase can be a very good and invisible option. The little bar can be a bonus as well, don’t just think of it as something to avoid!
Knit back and front
Another variation of the KFB is the KBF, knit back and front. You can probably already guess how to knit it. You knit through the back loop first and then, in a second step, you knit a regular knit stitch into the front loop of the same stitch. Otherwise, it’s exactly the same knitting technique.
This will result in one twisted knit stitch on your needle and a slightly smaller bar. For an untwisted version, you could slip the stitch before you knit through the back loop first. So, slip 1 knitwise, slip the stitch back to the left needle, and only then ktbl.