In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about how to knit a yarn over, plus a stitch tutorial.
In knitting, a “yarn over” (YO) is a technique used to create an extra stitch and an intentional little hole or eyelet in your fabric.
It’s a type of increase, and it’s considered one of the easier ones for new knitters but not the most inconspicuous one.
So yarn yarnovers are mostly used as decorative increases in various patterns.
You will likely spot a yarn over in a lace knitting pattern.
How To Knit A Yarn Over?
Hold the knitting needles with the stitches you’ve already worked in your left hand.
The working yarn should be in your right hand.
Position the working yarn in the back of the work if you’re about to knit a stitch (to create a YO between knit stitches) or in the front if you’re about to purl a stitch (to create a YO between stitches).
For a YO between knit stitches:
Bring the yarn from the back of your work to the front between the needles.
Insert the right-hand needle into the next stitch as if to knit.
Check out a video tutorial here – How To Yarn Over In Knitting
For a YO between purl stitches:
Bring the yarn from the front of your work to the back between the needles.
Insert the right-hand needle into the next stitch as if to purl.
Complete the knit or purl stitch as usual.
This will involve wrapping the working yarn around the right-hand needle and pulling it through the stitch.
You’ve created a YO, which will appear as an extra loop on your right-hand needle.
Yarn Overs FAQ
In What Knitting Patterns Do We See Yarnovers?
In a knitting pattern, “yarn over” is a specific instruction that tells you to create extra stitches and intentional decorative holes or eyelets in your knitted fabric.
Yarn overs are commonly used in lace knitting patterns, decorative motifs, novelty stitch patterns, and other designs to add an element of openness and texture to your knitting.
How To Knit Into A Yarn Over?
Knitting into a yarn over (YO) is a straightforward process.
When you knit into a yarn over, you treat it like any other regular stitch.
Here’s how to do it:
- First, locate the yarn over (YO) in your knitting. It will appear as a small loop or eyelet on your needle. Yarnovers are typically created on the previous row as part of a lace or decorative pattern.
- Insert your right-hand needle from front to back into the center of the yarn over, just as you would with a regular stitch. The direction of your needle depends on whether you’re knitting or purling into the YO:
- Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle appropriately (clockwise for knit, counterclockwise for purl), just as you would for a regular stitch.
- Complete the knit or purl stitch by pulling the wrapped working yarn through the YO.
- Slide the YO off the left-hand needle, just as you would with any other stitch.
How To Knit A Yarn Over Without A Hole?
To knit a yarn over (YO) without creating a hole, you can use a modified method that twists the YO to close the eyelet.
This technique is often called a “Twisted YO.”
Here’s how you can do it:
- Twisted Yarn Over (TYO):
- On the row where you create the YO, bring the working yarn from the back to the front (for a YO between knit stitches) or from the front to the back (for a YO between purl stitches) as usual.
- Insert your right needle into the YO from back to front (for a YO between knit stitches) or front to back (for a YO between purl stitches), but make sure to insert it through the back loop of the YO.
- Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle in the appropriate direction (clockwise for knit, counterclockwise for purl) for the stitch you are working.
- Complete the knit or purl stitch as you normally would by pulling the wrapped working yarn through the twisted YO.
- Slide the twisted YO off the left needle.
This is a useful technique when you want to maintain the integrity of your fabric, such as in some textured patterns or where you don’t want visible eyelets.
How Do You Knit The Next Row After A Yarn Over?
Knitting the next row after a yarn over (YO) is straightforward, and it typically involves working the YO as a regular stitch. Here’s how you do it:
- When you come to the YO on the next row, you’ll see it as a loop or eyelet on your right-hand needle.
- Insert your right-hand needle into the YO from front to back, just as you would with a regular stitch.
- Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle in the appropriate direction (clockwise for knit, counterclockwise for purl) based on the stitch you are working.
- Complete the knit or purl stitch as you normally would by pulling the wrapped working yarn through the YO.
- Slide the YO off the left-hand needle.
How To Knit A Yarn Over Buttonhole?
Creating a yarn over a button hole is a simple and effective way to make a buttonhole in your knitting.
Here’s how to knit a yarn over buttonhole:
- Determine the Size of the Buttonhole: First, decide how large you want your buttonhole to be. You must work as many stitches as needed for the buttonhole width. A standard size for a small buttonhole is typically 2 to 4 stitches.
- Knit to the Location of the Buttonhole: Work your knitting until you reach the point where you want the buttonhole to be. Make sure you have enough stitches left on your left-hand needle to accommodate the desired width of the buttonhole.
- Create the Yarn Over (YO): To create the buttonhole, perform a yarn over (YO) by bringing the working yarn from the back to the front between the needles (as if for a purl stitch), and then continue knitting.
- Knit the Desired Number of Stitches: Knit the number of stitches you’ve determined for the buttonhole width. These stitches should be worked directly after the yarn over.
- Bind Off the Same Number of Stitches: After knitting the desired number of stitches, bind off the same number of stitches. You can do this by passing the first stitch over the second stitch and off the needle, repeating for each stitch.
- Continue Knitting: Once you’ve bound off the buttonhole stitches, continue knitting the remaining stitches in your row.
- Knit the Buttonhole Row: When you reach the row with the buttonhole, you’ll see the yarn over (YO) that you created. To secure the buttonhole, simply knit or purl the yarn over together with the following stitch. This closes the gap and forms the buttonhole.
Is Yarn Over The Same As Yarn Forward?
No, “yarn over” (YO) and “yarn forward” (YF) are not the same in knitting.
A yarn over is a technique used to create an extra stitch and an intentional hole or eyelet in your fabric by moving the working yarn from back to front (for YO between knit stitches) or front to back (for YO between purl stitches) before continuing with the next stitch.
In contrast, yarn forward simply involves moving the working yarn to the front of the work without creating an extra stitch, often as a setup for subsequent stitches like purling.
Yarn overs are decorative and used for lace, while yarn forwards are typically used to create spacing or set up other stitches.
Does It Matter Which Direction You Yarn Over?
Yes, the direction in which you perform a yarn over (YO) matters in knitting, and it depends on the specific stitch pattern or design you’re following.
The direction of the YO affects the orientation and appearance of the resulting eyelet or hole in your fabric.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Clockwise Yarn Over (YO): To create a clockwise YO, bring the working yarn from the back to the front of the work and then move it around the right-hand needle in a clockwise direction before continuing with the next stitch. Clockwise YOs are typically used in lace patterns and are more common in knitting.
- Counterclockwise Yarn Over (YO): To create a counterclockwise YO, bring the working yarn from the back to the front of the work and then move it around the right-hand needle in a counterclockwise direction before continuing with the next stitch. Counterclockwise YOs are less common but can be used for special effects or to create specific stitch patterns.
Choosing between a clockwise and counterclockwise YO can be crucial in certain stitch patterns or lace designs, as it can affect the appearance and symmetry of the resulting fabric.
How Many Different Yarn Overs Are There?
There are two main types of yarn overs (YOs) used in knitting: the standard yarn over and the twisted yarn over.
However, within these two categories, there are variations and techniques that can create different effects and appearances in your knitting:
- Standard Yarn Over (YO):
- This is the most common type of yarn over, where you simply bring the working yarn from the back to the front (for a YO between knit stitches) or from the front to the back (for a YO between purl stitches) before continuing with the next stitch.
- Standard YOs create an open eyelet or hole in your knitting.
- Twisted Yarn Over (TYO):
- Twisted yarn overs involve inserting the needle through the back loop of the YO before working it as a knit or purl stitch.
- This technique twists the YO, closing the eyelet and creating a different look with no hole.
While these are the two main categories of yarn overs, variations can be achieved by changing the direction of the YO, the stitch it is paired with, or the number of wraps.
In addition to the standard yarn over (YO) and twisted yarn over (TYO), there are variations and techniques that create different effects in your knitting:
- Double Yarn Overs (2 YOs or more):
- Sometimes, a pattern may call for multiple yarn overs in a row, such as “YO, YO,” or “YO twice.” This creates larger eyelets or decorative openings.
- Directional Yarn Overs:
- Yarn overs can be worked in different directions to achieve specific designs. For example, some patterns may call for a “backwards YO” where you bring the yarn to the back between the needles and then around to the front, creating a different appearance.
- Lace Yarn Overs:
- In lace knitting, YOs are often combined with various decreases to create intricate patterns. The choice of decreases alongside the YOs affects the lace design, and countless possibilities exist.
- Extended Yarn Over:
- An extended YO is created by wrapping the yarn around the needle multiple times. This results in a larger, elongated eyelet or hole in the fabric.
- Cluster Yarn Overs:
- In some advanced lace patterns, multiple YOs may be combined and worked together with decreases to create clusters, flower-like shapes, or other intricate motifs.
- Dropped Yarn Over:
- Occasionally, a pattern may instruct you to drop a YO from a previous row to create a decorative elongated stitch effect.
Remember that the specific type of YO used in a pattern will depend on the designer’s intentions and the desired effect in the finished piece.
Helpful Tips About Yarn Overs
Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with yarn overs:
- Follow the Pattern: Always follow the specific instructions in your knitting pattern for yarn overs.
- Patterns will dictate when and how to perform YOs, and they may use different techniques or variations.
- Practice Tension: Maintain even tension when working YOs to ensure that the resulting eyelets are consistent in size and appearance. You don’t want smaller or bigger holes throughout your project.
- Yarn Type: The type of yarn you use can affect the appearance of your YOs. Fine, smooth yarns may create more delicate YOs, while textured or fuzzy yarns can give a different look.
- Yarn Over Placement: YOs can be placed between stitches (before or after a stitch) or within a sequence of stitches. Be sure to understand where the YOs are intended to go in your pattern.
- Stitch Count: When you come to a row with YOs, make sure you have the correct total number of stitches, considering both the YOs and the decreases that often accompany them.
- Lifelines: In complex lace patterns, consider using lifelines to thread through the stitches before working a challenging row. Lifelines can be a lifesaver if you need to rip back your work.
- Blocking: YOs often look their best after blocking. Blocking helps even out the stitches and open up the lacework, enhancing the YOs’ appearance.
- Practice: If you’re new to knitting YOs, practice on a swatch or sample before tackling a complex pattern. This will help you get a feel for the technique.
- Stay Patient: Lace knitting with YOs can be challenging, so be patient with yourself. Mistakes are common, and they can often be fixed with some careful tinkering or a crochet hook.
If you are a new maker and need help with the knitting basics, check out the knitting lessons here – Knitting Lessons (With Video Tutorials).
There, you will find tutorial posts for all the knitting techniques a newbie needs to know.
Tutorials include an abbreviations list, how to cast on, how to bind-off, how to knit the garter stitch, how to knit short rows, how to KFB, and more.
And if you need more video tutorials, check out my YouTube channel here. – Handy Little Me – YouTube.