There are many ways to create a new stitch in your knitting. Some lean left, some lean right and some are more invisible than others.
I am designing a hedgehog knitting pattern at the moment, the pattern has increases in garter stitch. I had to make a conscious decision not to use my preferred method of M1L and find a more garter stitch friendly increase. It took me a few minutes to even think of knitting into the front and back of the stitch (or KFB). So in honor of me forgetting this increase I thought I’d take a closer look at it.
There are four front and back increases in the knitted swatch above. Two knitted in the stockinette stitch section and two in the garter stitch section. Some of them are difficult to see, so here’s a map:
1 – KFB in stockinette stitch. This leaves an obvious bar where the new stitch was made, unless you were using the bar as part of a stitch pattern it’s unlikely that you would use a KFB in stockinette stitch
2 – PFB (or purl into the front and back of the stitch) in stockinette stitch. There is still a bar under the new stitch, but it is much less obvious. This is a right leaning increase, but only because it’s made on the wrong side of the stockinette stitch. KFB is a left leaning increase.
3 – KFB in garter stitch. It’s very difficult to see this because the garter stitch bumps are in the way, but the bar is still there, if you look closely:
4 – PFB in garter stitch. This time, there’s no bar, but the stitches are unevenly bunched together.
I’m going to use the KFB in garter stitch for my knitted hedgehog as it’s the least obtrusive, it also looks similar to a K2tog decrease in garter stitch, so the increases and decreases balance well.
Making a KFB
The clue to this increase is in its description. You really do knit into the front and the back of the same stitch.
Step 1 – Knit the stitch as you normally would but don’t slip the stitch off the left needle, stop when it looks like this:
Step 2 – Bring the right needle behind the left needle and knit into the back of the stitch from right to left, which looks like this:
This time, slip the stitch off the needle. And that’s it!
A PFB is very similar, although when you get to step 2 you need to purl into the back of the stitch from left to right, which is quite tricky.
I have seen examples of KFB being used as a double increase where you would knit into the front, back and front of the same stitch.
It’s a very useful increase. Now hopefully I won’t forget KFB again.