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.
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.
ⓘ 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.
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
Knitting KLL - Step by step instructions
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.
- 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)
- 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).
- Now, pick up only the left leg of that stitch and lift it on your left needle.
Some people find it's easier to insert and lift with the right needle. So, try both and check what suits you better.
- Knit this extra stitch through the back loop.
- Drop the stitch and continue knitting as normal.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
19 thoughts on “How to knit the KLL increase (knit left loop)”
So pleased to have discovered you, your description of different stitches have been a big help with my knitting. Thank You.
happy to hear that. And feel free to ask your questions here in case you need any help!
Thank you for such a wonderful explanation of this increase .
I’m currently knitting a raglan top down jumper. I plan to use this increase on the sleeves and the body. Would you pair these increases in each section (eg body has a leaning R one side and a left L on the other side & the same with the sleeves? Or use one type of increase on them all? I’ve started it before I saw your post and got quite confused because as you say they are quite invisible. I have put two seal stitches so the increases happen on the stitch either side of those
well…it boils down to preferences. I tend to feel that KLL looks a bit neater (for me) than KRL. So sometimes I just use KLL. But at the end of the day, you might want to knit a tiny little swatch and see what you prefer.
this is the best KLL tutorial i have seen and the only one that thought me how to do it! especially the video
Blush. Really happy to hear that Jordan. And feel free to ask away in case you have any other questions 🙂
such a great, great tutorial. Loving this increase and so glad I found your blog
yah, i love KLL as well. It’s my all-time favorite increase!
This is my favorite increase. I know it as the lifted stitch increase.
Thank you for sharing this, what a great way in do the increase! I love it
Step 4 should not link to your knit through back loop tutorial. You are raising the stitch 2 courses below to be mounted with the leading leg in back and then knitting through the leading leg, so the stitch is not twisted. Your ktbl page is all about knitting twisted stitches.
I guess that depends on how you understand knitting, Jenn. If you believe ktbl is about twisting stitches, yes, then you are right. But ktbl literally says “knit through the back loop”, the loop in the back and not in the front. And that’s what you have to do here. Instead of entering from left to right (like a normal knit stitch) you enter from right to left.
And on a sitenote: KTBL is not about knitting twisted stitches, many results of knitting through the leg in the back create well-balanced stitches.
But all that is a good reminder that there is no right or wrong in knitting. You have to approach the craft with an open mind and allow other people to follow different paths.
I’m new to your website. I am battling with knit front, knit back increases after a purl row. they make my work look really messy. Do you have a remedy? I hope to incorporate your increase technique in my future knitting.
All good, I found your KFB tutorial.
Despite having been an avid knitter for over 20 years, I have still learned so many new tricks and tips and methods and stitches from you, Norman. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge so generously!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I lost the instructions to this increase I used previously & I’m SO pleased to have found your very clear manner of explaning.
You saved me hours of trailing through the internet.
great content, love your tutorials, thank you
Wonderful tutorial Norman! I have the KLL and the KRL mastered now, but am all confused when I am following the pattern. K6 KLL KRL. Do I knit the first left loop into the left side of stitch #6, or do I knit the next stitch and do the KLL. Also is the KRL done immediately in the very next stitch after finishing the KLL. I would appreciate you clearing up this confusion on my part. Thank you. Nancy
You always knit the KLL into the last stitch of the pattern. So if it’s p2, k1, KLL then you knit the KLL into the k1.