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Tutorial: Make 1 Left, Make 1 Right

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Increases widen the pieces of garments, and there are several types that can be used. Perhaps the least conspicuous is the Make 1 (M1). Make 1 increases are worked between two stitches by lifting the running strand (the horizontal strand connecting two stitches) onto the left needle, inserting the right needle, wrapping and then pulling the wrap through to form a new stitch in the current row. The lifted strand can be knit or purled, and can either form a closed loop or an open one, taking on the appearance of a yarn over. The closed loop can either cross itself from left to right (Make 1 Right or M1R) or from right to left (Make 1 Left or M1L). Let's take a look at how each of these knit M1s are made.

Lift the Running Thread

The first step in working a Make 1 of either type is to lift the running thread. For a M1R, insert the left needle from back to front under the running strand. The lifted strand crosses the front of the left needle from lower left to upper right before going over the top of the needle; the yarn slants to the right. For a M1L, insert the left needle from front to back under the running strand. The lifted strand crosses the front of the left needle from lower right to upper left before going over the top of the needle; the yarn slants to the left. If you find it difficult to lift the running strand with the left needle, try lifting it with the right needle and then slipping it onto the left needle.

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M1R

Once you've got the running strand sitting correctly on the left needle, it's time to knit the stitch. Work just as you normally do to knit a stitch: Insert the right needle from left to right, front to back. This can be a bit tricky because the strand over the needle is short and tight; pulling down on the fabric with your left thumb and forefinger can sometimes open up enough space to get the needle in. Another trick I use is to insert the right needle purlwise and pull it to the front to put extra length in front, and then I use my left index finger to keep the strand from moving while I insert the needle knitwise. Once you get the needle inserted, wrap it and pull through a loop. The Make 1 Right is complete.

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M1L

This one is actually a little easier than a M1R. If a pattern simply tells you to "M1" without specifying left or right, work this one! Lift the running strand by inserting the needle as described above so that the running strand slants to the left. Inserting the right needle knitwise here would create a hole. Instead insert the needle "through the back loop," from right to left, front to back. Wrap the needle and pull through a loop. The Make 1 Left is complete.

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As in the sample photos above, M1Rs are usually worked at the beginning and M1Ls are worked at the end of right-side rows. The slight slant of the decrease parallels the line that is created by adding stitches on that side of the work, and is therefore a perfect way to work increases on sleeves. Try them out on this update's featured Knitting Pattern, Seneca Lake!

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