How to knit the KLL increase (knit left loop)

A step-by-step tutorial for the KLL knitting increase. A super invisible right-leaning increase.

A lot of increases are very visible. When you are knitting a lace shawl, then this is actually what you are looking for as those beautiful eyelets are created that way. But for stockinette stitch and similar patterns, make one right or a yarnover is not what you want.

a swatch increased with kll on the right side with green cotton yarn

By knitting through the left loop of the stitch two rows below, you get an increase that is as invisible as it gets. Here’s how you do it the continental way.

close up of a knitted swatch increased with kll on the right side

ⓘ In knitting patterns, this stitch is usually abbreviated with “KLL” – Knit left loop. This increase is sometimes also called LLI – left lifted increase. There is also a left-leaning counterpart called KRL or knit right loop. The corresponding purl decrease is PRL.

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Knitting KLL - Step by step instructions

kll knit left loop is an almost invisible increase for stockinette stitch

Step by step written instructions on how to knit KLL - probably the most invisible right-leaning increase. This knitting stitch works best in a knit row with another knit row below.

Note: I am using a contrasting red yarn for instructional purposes only.

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute

Instructions

  1. Knit one stitch as normal as preparation (note: this stitch is technically speaking NOT part of the KLL, so if your pattern says KLL it means you have to perform the steps starting from #2)

    knitting one stitch as preparation for the KLL increase
  2. Insert your left needle into the stitch two rows below the one you just knitted on your right needle from the back so you don’t twist it (the red one in the picture above).

    inserting the left needle into the left loop of the stitch two rows below
  3. Now, pick up only the left leg of that stitch and lift it on your left needle.

    lifting the left loop back to the left knitting needle

    Some people find it's easier to insert and lift with the right needle. So, try both and check what suits you better.
  4. Knit this extra stitch through the back loop.

    knitting the loop you just lifted through the back loop
  5. Drop the stitch and continue knitting as normal.
    the finished kll on the needles

Notes

This knitting increase works best in a knit row with another knit row below.

I do believe KLL is one of the most inconspicuous increases there is. It only looks super neat, however, if there are at least 3 rows in between each increase. If you want to increase in every row making one through the back loop (M1BL) is probably the better choice.

a sample swatch with two kll increases - one in red with a contrasting yarn and one almost invisible
The red yarn shows the stitches involved in a KLL

I personally love how invisible KLL is if you use it sparingly. Even if you know it’s there, it’s sometimes hard to see and that’s why I would recommend using it in these kinds of circumstances where you don’t increase in a set position each row or so.

comparing kll with m1l - one is invisible - the other isnt
A swatch increased with M1L and KLL to compare the two stitches

But even if you stack the increases on top of each other, the increase line is still much neater than other more common stitches. Just take a look at the swatch above. While M1L creates small little eyelets, KLL creates dense fabric pretty that harmonizes well with the overall look and feel of stockinette stitch.

Which way does KLL lean?

a swatch increased with kll on both sides to show it's lea
A swatch increased with KLL on both sides

You probably know there are left and right-leaning increases. So, in which category does KLL fall? Well, that’s actually quite a difficult question. If you look at the swatch above it’s actually really hard to tell. Most books will categorize KLL as a right-leaning decrease.

one single kll stitch macro shot to define its lean
A macro shot of a single KLL increase

Under magnification, you can clearly see how one of the stitches involved in the KLL appears to have a clear right-slant. But I see it a bit differently. Because of the mechanics of the stitch, it means you always add a stitch on the left side of it. That and only that is why I employ it on the right side of a project.

I feel the actual stitch itself is pretty unbiased. If you look even closer at a KLL, you could also say that the base-loop you knit it through ends up with a left-stant. I personally feel the increase is pretty centered.

Just one of the reasons why I love this increase so much. If you look around my blog and check out my knitting patterns (especially my mushrooms and flowers), you will soon realize that I use it for almost every project.

a swatch increased with kll and sloped edges
Note how the edges of this little triangular swatch form a curve?

That being said, be aware that because KLL makes use of the stitch one row below and thus it tends to “cinch” the fabric a bit. That’s because each decrease shortens the fabric a tiny bit in that position. This means it’s not the ideal increase for projects where you want a symmetrical triangle (like a shawl). Check out my list of knitting increases in case you want to see a comparison. And I also got an article about 3 other lifted increases.

However, that effect is not necessarily bad. A lot of projects, like my very popular pumpkin pattern, use KLL to get a lovely 3-dimensional shape exactly because it shortens the stitches a bit in a very predictable way.

And that’s how to KLL in knitting the continental way. Comment below in case you have any questions.

how to knit kll knit left loop - step by step tutorial for beginners

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