How to Knit Yarn Forward

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Knitting yarn forward is a technique that creates an opening or hole in your hand-knit piece. It's a useful skill for knitting lacy fabrics, buttonholes or eyelets. Because knitting yarn forward adds a stitch, it is often combined with another technique known as a decrease to maintain the piece's stitch count. The term "yarn forward" is used in British knitting patterns, while U.S. patterns more commonly use the term "yarn over." Either way, the technique is easy to learn and will add texture and interest to your knitting.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles sized for your project
  • Yarn
  • When knitting, bring the yarn forward from the back of the work to the front between the two needles. Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle from front to back. Knit the next stitch.

  • When purling, bring the yarn forward as in Step 1, but wrap the yarn all the way around the right-hand needle. The yarn will be in front of the work. Purl the next stitch.

  • Check your work. The yarn over you just worked should show up as an extra loop between your last two knit or purl stitches.

  • Check the pattern. Many patterns call for a decrease after a yarn forward, such as a k2tog (knit two stitches together).

  • When you get to the next row, work the yarn-over stitch like a regular stitch, following the pattern's instructions. You should now have a hole in the row below.

  • Know the various pattern terms and abbreviations for knitting yarn forward, including yf, yfwd, yfrn (yarn forward around needle), and YO or yo (yarn over).

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