Step by step photo instructions for the pfb knitting stitch including a detailed video tutorial
Are you looking for a detailed tutorial for the pfb knitting stitch? Then you came exactly to the right place because this article is all about this increase for the wrong side. There’s a video you may watch, and tons of high-resolution pictures on top of that. Even if you are a beginner, I’m pretty sure you will be able to master this technique.
What does pfb mean in knitting?
It’s the abbreviation for “purl front & back”. It’s a right-leaning knitting increase where you purl into the same stitch twice. First, you purl into the front loop and then you purl one more time into the back loop. It’s the purl equivalent to kfb – knit front & back
Sometimes you will also find P1FB or PF&B in a pattern. They all refer to the same stitch.
Let’s knit it together, eh?
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- Bring the yarn to the front, and insert the right needle from right to left into the first stitch on your left needle.
- Purl one stitch the regular way BUT keep the loop on the left needle.
So, wrap the yarn around your needle counter-clockwise, and pull the yarn through.
- Insert your needle from left to right into the back loop of the stitch remaining on your right needle.
Keep the yarn in front but bring the needle all the way around and wiggle it through the back loop. This can be a bit tricky, so go slowly.
- Purl through the back loop and drop the loop.
This is a difficult increase if you are tight a knitter. knitting the previous row with a bit more slack will help. You can also loosen up the stitch a bit with your right needle before you knit it.
Make sure to knit a bit further up the taper so you don't run the risk of dropping the stitch. You can also secure the stitch with your index finger a bit to prevent any accidents as you try to insert your needle into the back loop.
Also know, that there are other increases for the wrong side that might be easier to knit for you. M1PL or PLL could be an option as well. Though, they make use of a strand from the row below, so a backward loop increase is probably the better option for a very similar look & feel.
Alternatives: Purl back, Slip front twisted
Now, pfb creates a little visible little bar on the right side. That’s the reason why these stitches are typically called “bar increases”. If you want to avoid that, you have to knit this decrease a bit differently.
Interestingly enough, it is the only way to create a visible right-slanting decrease line on the purl side I found:
- Step 1: Purl through the back loop and keep the loop on the left needle.
- Step 2: Slip the remaining loop to the right needle but twist it as you do (see picture below).
Purling the front and slipping the back loop does not yield any meaningful improvement if you ask me. If you take a closer look at the swatch below you can still see a bar. I thought this was quite interesting as it is a very common method to improve KFB.
Also, one would assume that purling one stitch and then slipping the loop untwisted would create something that would look exactly like a KRL. However, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t do it without creating eyelets.
PFBF – purl front, back, front
You can modify the standard pfb-technique and turn it into a double increase. This is a very rare increase but nevertheless, some patterns do feature the pfbf. You knit it in the exact same way. The only difference is that you add another purl stitch through the front loop at the end.
- Do a regular purl stitch & keep the loop on the needle.
- Purl through the back loop of the same stitch, keep the loop on the needle.
- Purl one more time into the front loop & drop the loop.
This is both a fast and somewhat difficult increase. Again, it helps if you are a loose knitter and you are knitting with needles with sharp tips. It will look a bit wonky on both the right and the wrong side, so purl yarnover purl is probably the better option.