Knitting Blog

How to Knit the Increase Stitch: Inc 1 Tutorial

The first sweater I ever knitted was worked in garter stitch and required knit increases. I panicked, broke into a sweat, and learned the inc 1 knit stitch to tackle the sweater. And guess what? It turned out pretty lovely!

knit increase

This particular increase stitch is usually denoted in a pattern with “inc 1.” There are other types of increases, like M1, but for today we’ll concentrate on inc 1. This type of increase is sometimes denoted as kfb or kf&b ("knit front and back" — you'll see why). It's also referred to as the bar increase because it results in what looks like a little bar running across your work.

If you'd like to learn even more types of knitting increases (and decreases) that are both practical and decorative, join the class Mastering Stitchwork: Increases & Decreases.

Invisible increases

The bar increase can be visible or invisible depending on the type of stitch you’re knitting. If you’re like me, you prefer an invisible increase most of the time. The bar increase is not very noticeable in bumpy stitches like the seed stitch or garter stitch (which is what I’ve used in my swatch above), but it can be pretty noticeable on the right side of a stitch like stockinette.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if the increase is visible. For instance, some sweaters have you work the increase near the edge of the work, so the increase will be buried under your arm or in a seam. No one is going to see that increase unless you decide to point it out!

A visible increase can actually be helpful in some situations. A visible increase can help you keep up with the last place you increased — great for distracted knitters like me who like to talk while they stitch.

Try Knitting Increases in 7 Common Stitches

knitting stitches guide

Stitch your way to knitted joy! Master these seven popular patterns, then try the knit increase stitch in each one.Get My FREE Guide »

How to Increase 1

To make the increase 1, you just need to know how to make a knit stitch. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1:

Knit your row up until the point when the pattern instructs you to Inc 1. (For my swatch, I knit the first stitch in the row, then made the Inc 1.)

Step 2: 

Knit the next stitch on the needle as you normally would, stopping just before you drop it from the left needle. Don’t drop it from the left needle once you’ve completed the stitch; just leave it hanging out on the left needle. If you’re following my swatch, you’ll have two stitches on your right needle.

increaseknit

Step 3: 

Now, knit into the back of that same stitch you just knit. To do this, insert the right-hand needle into the back of the stitch from front to back. (Do not knit it in the same way that you usually knit stitches.)

needle

See how the needle is going into the stitch from a different direction than the usual knit stitch?

Step 4: 

Now you can drop the stitch from the left needle.

finish

Ta-da! What was once two stitches has now created three stitches. Those three stitches are hanging out on the right-hand needle.

Your pattern will always tell you when to increase the stitches, and it will also have a nice note at the end of the instructions to tell you how many stitches should be on your needle when you complete the row, like this: Row 3: K1, inc 1, k to end of the row. (17 <sts)

Try Knitting Increases in 7 Common Stitches

knitting stitches guide

Stitch your way to knitted joy! Master these seven popular patterns, then try the knit increase stitch in each one.Get My FREE Guide »

15 Comments

Ellisen

This is great! Like this increase. Thanks.

Reply
Kara Jensen

Thank you so much for putting together these wonderful tutorials! There are a great refresher.

Reply
Theresa

I love this increase! I’m still a newbie to knitting and I am making a baby’s sweater that requires this stitch “knit front back (kfb)” In the garter stitch it is totally invisible!

Reply
Barb Keller

How do you inc in a purl?always have trouble with it?

Reply
Gildete Michelman F. de Sousa

Lindos trabalhos

Reply
Emma McMath

I am knitting a open sided vest. Front and back are knitted in one piece. I cast on 82 stitches and knitted my rows for the front and back panel. I decreased 41 stitches when it came to the neck. I knitted 41 sts in 21 rows for the neck across the back. Now I am ready for the increase for the left side and need to cast back on 41 stitches for the left front. How do I cast on these 41 stitches?

Reply
marjorie elliott

I have been trying and trying to do an increase and your instructions and photos made it clear to me. Thank you VERY much.

Reply
jackie

(K1, inc 1), I am increasing on 20 sts to make 40 sts, I have done this process several times and ended up with 30 sts., also when I increase in every stitch, I end up with 39, so what am I doing wrong please? Its not working for me, frustrated I am, thanks

Reply
Deborah Breland

I am sorry, but I think calling this stitch an Inc 1 is going to mislead a lot of new knitters. Inc 1 is also a generic phrase that is used frequently when no specific increase is indicated.

A bar increase requires a stitch to work into, so in a lot of patterns where they may encounter this phrase another increase would be more appropriate.

Lovely tutorial otherwise. Please consider using KF&B in your terminology, or further clarify that point.

Reply
judy

Use bar increases when the pattern directions call for you to ‘increase IN the next st’. Other types of increases–the ‘make one’ stitches and yarn-overs (M1R, M1B, M1L, M1R, YO)–are all made between stitches. Directions will read something like ‘k12, M1F, k6, M1F, k13…..’ (I, too, am frustrated by stockinette patterns that use bar increases!)

Reply
Mimi

My pattern for my poncho calls to do a inc 1 stitch the first and last stitch and in between do all knit stitches . If I wanted to do a kfb stitch for the first stitch and last how can I put a nice clean edge on it . I usually when I knit , slip the first stitch purl wise and knit the rest . It makes such a nice edge but doing a kfb for the first DOSENT make a nice edge – any suggestions ???🤔

Reply
Audrey

Hi I’m trying to knit a batwing jumper and the pattern calls to “Inc 1 st at same edge on every row”. I’m not sure what this means, can anyone help with this please

Reply
Mariann

What is the difference between increase a stitch and add on stitches?

Reply
Marj

I am wanting to make headbands for my granddaughter and needed to know how to increase stitches and this really helps. I know how to decrease but couldn’t figure it out. Thank you so much for the simple instructions. I am not a master knitter….I knit square and rectangle things, scarves, hats, boot cuffs 🙂

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a reply