How to knit the KLL increase (knit through left loop)

A step-by-step tutorial for the KLL knitting increase. By knitting through the left loop, you get a very 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.

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

ⓘ 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.

A different angle of a sample swatch with KLL knitting increases
A swatch with KLL increases on the right side of the work

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Knitting KLL - Step by step instructions

this is how the kll increase will look on your needle after you knit it

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 a 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).

    lift the stitch 2 rows below on your left needle for the kll increase
  3. Now, pick up only the left leg of that stitch and lift it on your left needle. Don’t pick up the whole stitch.

    lifting the left loop on the left needle using a red contrasting yarn

    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

    Knit the stitch through the back loop for the KLL increase
  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

There is also a corresponding knit through the right loop, which would be left-leaning BUT it creates a visible tiny little hole with most yarns. If you knit that one through the back loop, then there will be no hole, but the twist will be visible. That’s why I usually stick with KLL on both sides of a project.

A sample swatch with kll and krl knitting increases
The left side of this swatch was increased with KRL (twisted) and the right side with KLL

If you look around my blog and check out my knitting patterns (especially my mushrooms and flowers), you will soon realize that this is by far my favorite increase and I use it almost for 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, 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.

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 the KLL knitting increase

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