Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tutorial: Doing a Yarn Over the Right Way



Okay, major pet peeve time:

SO MANY learn-to-knit resources, be they videos or books, explain yarn overs in a way that is confusing and leads people to think that the stitch after the yarn over is actually part of the yarn over. Usually it's something like "bring the yarn to the front of the needle, knit the next stitch." Which, if you're knitting English style, will cause you to sort of half-accidentally make a yarn over followed by a knit stitch.

This is annoying for several reasons:

1. That is a "yo, k1" NOT a "yo", and therefore will totally throw off your stitch count.
2. It really only works if you knit English style
3. You don't HAVE to follow a yo with a knit stitch. It could be followed with a purl, or a decrease, or... anything, really.

I guess the people teaching think this method is easier to demonstrate/explain than just... wrapping the yarn over the needle. But I get sooo many emails from frustrated new-ish knitters (or new to yarn overs, anyway) wondering why they aren't getting the right number of stitches and it is almost always because whoever or whatever taught them to yarn over, taught them using this flawed method and they are actually doing a "yo, k1" whenever the pattern says to do a "yo." Back when I worked in an LYS, we had a lot of customers with the same issue. It's a downright epidemic of misinformation! So, I figured a video tute was long overdue.

(BTW, if my tone sounds exasperated, it's not because of you, dear knitter, but because of all the instructional resources that should really know better. Don't set beginning knitters up for unnecessary frustration! Geez!)

14 comments:

  1. That totally explains how my 3rd knitting project ended up being 2100 stitches per row instead of the 700 it should have been!

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  2. Hey, my yarn balls go "Tchooo" when I bat them away too!

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  3. I learned yarn overs from an old book and have never had a major problem with the stitch number being off unless a yarn over or two was forgotten so the row came out a couple of stitches short. But, I learned English.

    Having later taught myself Continental, after a year or so I rejected knitting in that style because it led to more problems than knitting English and it didn't speed up my knitting.

    I think most patterns and instructions are created for English knitters (an old convention for instructions in English) so if one knits English they're easier to understand and see how the yarn is worked. It would be great if all patterns and instructions were always written for both knitting styles, but it's likely a matter of publishing economics and author comfort that keeps that from happening. In a perfect world . . .

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    1. I agree you can't always account for all the styles of knitting (Combined opens up a whole 'nother sack of potatoes) but I think a lot of resources don't clearly explain that the knit stitch you're doing after the yarn-forward isn't actually PART of the yarn over, it's just the next stitch. So if the next stitch needs to be a purl, or a k2tog, then you need to do it a little differently. Or if you are doing "yo, k4" you gotta make sure to count that stitch as part of the 4, or you're going to end up off. But as long as the book/teacher makes that clear, the yarn-forward-then-work-next-stitch method works fine for English knitters.

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  4. Thank you! That misconception haunted me for years and made me think I was incapable of knitting lace. I finally figured it out only to have my yarn overs melt away when followed by a purl stitch. I hope your video saves other knitters the frustration.

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  5. I've never seen this "wrong" instruction anywhere. Strange. Must be a language/culture thing (I'm a German speaker)...
    I'm so glad I've seen this now, because I probably even wouldn't understand the problem when contacted for pattern support about this. It just wouldn't have occurred to me that one could do this wrong. :-)
    Thanks so much!

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  6. THANK YOU!!!! You just saved my baby sweater!

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  7. Do you think there is a big difference if I wrap my yarn clockwise when I do a yarn over instead of counter clockwise as you show? It seems to me that it looks and works pretty much the same. I knit continental style. Wanted your opinion.

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    1. If you wrap the other way, you may need to knit the yarn over "through the back loop" when you come to it on the next row, to keep the yarn-over-strand from twisting around itself. But otherwise there's no reason it wouldn't work :-) If it twists, you just get a smaller hole- some people do that on purpose.

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  8. Thank you so much! (And I apologize if this posted 3 times, google used to be convenient - not so much, anymore... But, this saved me and the project I have started! And therefore was worth the risk ;) )

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    1. Hehe, no worries! Blogger.com comments are weird sometimes. Glad it was helpful!

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  9. good gad, I wish I had seen this years ago!! I had to teach myself through SO MUCH trial and error. Thank you for sharing this wisdom :)

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