Learn how to yo in knitting

Learn how to yo in knitting

Knitting is a relaxing and creative hobby that allows you to create beautiful and unique pieces of clothing and accessories. One important technique in knitting is the yarn over, also known as “yo”. The yo creates an extra stitch on your knitting needle, which can be used to create decorative holes or increase the number of stitches in your pattern.

To execute a yarn over, all you need to do is bring the working yarn from the back of your work to the front, as if you were going to purl. Then, continue knitting the next stitch as usual. This will create a horizontal loop of yarn over your needle. The next time you knit that stitch, be sure to work the yo together with the stitch to keep the correct stitch count.

The yarn over technique is commonly used in lace patterns to create eyelets or decorative patterns. It can also be used to increase the number of stitches in your work. A yarn over is the foundation for various lace stitches such as the feather and fan or the raspberry stitch. Once you master the yarn over, you will be able to add beautiful and intricate details to your knitting projects.

Remember to practice the yarn over technique on a small swatch before using it in your actual project. This will help you become comfortable with the motion and tension required to achieve a consistent and even yarn over. With time and practice, you will be able to execute a yarn over effortlessly and add a touch of elegance to your knitting.

Understanding Yarn Over in Knitting

In knitting, a yarn over (abbreviated as YO) is a technique used to create an extra stitch on the needle without knitting or purling into an existing stitch. It forms an eyelet or a hole in the knitted fabric, which can be used for decorative purposes or as part of lace patterns.

To perform a yarn over, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the working yarn in your right hand and the right needle in your left hand.
  2. Bring the working yarn to the front of the work between the needles.
  3. Take the right needle and insert it into the next stitch as if to knit.
  4. Instead of wrapping the yarn around the needle for a regular knit stitch, simply bring the yarn over the needle from the back to the front.
  5. Continue working the next stitch as instructed in your knitting pattern.

A yarn over creates a new stitch by wrapping the yarn around the needle, which results in an extra loop on the needle. This loop will be counted as a stitch in subsequent rows.

Yarn overs are commonly used in lace knitting patterns to create decorative holes and intricate stitch patterns. They can also be used as increases in knitting, where you want to add stitches to your work.

When working with yarn overs, it’s important to keep track of them in your pattern. They often have specific instructions for knitting or purling into the yarn over on the next row, or for joining them with other stitches to create lace motifs.

Here is an example of a simple lace pattern using yarn overs:

Row Instructions
1 K2, YO, K2
2 Purl all stitches
3 K2, YO, K2
4 Purl all stitches

In this pattern, a yarn over is performed after knitting 2 stitches. This creates a small eyelet hole in the fabric. On the next row, the yarn over is simply knit like a regular stitch.

With practice, you can incorporate yarn overs into your knitting projects to add texture, lace, and visual interest to your designs. Give it a try and explore the world of yarn overs!

Step 1: Understanding the Basics

Before you start to yo in knitting, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the basics. This will not only help you to yo more effectively, but it will also enable you to fix any mistakes that may occur along the way. Here are some key knitting terms you should know:

  • Yarn: The material that you will be working with. Choose a yarn that is appropriate for your project and comfortable to work with.
  • Needle: The tool with two pointed ends that you will use to knit. Needles come in different sizes, so be sure to choose the right size for your yarn.
  • Stitch: The individual loops that make up your knitting. Stitches can be knit (k), purl (p), or have other variations.
  • Row: A horizontal line of stitches. Knitting progresses in rows, with each row building on the one before it.
  • Pattern: The instructions for your knitting project. Patterns will tell you which stitches to use and how many to make.
  • Gauge: The number of stitches and rows per inch in your knitting. Gauge is important for achieving the correct size and fit in your project.

By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you’ll have a better understanding of the knitting process and be well-prepared to yo. Now that you have a grasp of the basics, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles

When it comes to knitting, choosing the right yarn and needles is essential to ensure the success of your project. The right combination of yarn and needles will not only make your knitting process easier, but it will also give you the desired finished look.


There are various types of yarn available, each with its own characteristics. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right yarn for your project:

  • Fiber: Yarn can be made from different fibers such as wool, cotton, acrylic, and more. Consider the qualities of each fiber and choose one that matches the desired drape, warmth, and durability of your project.
  • Weight: Yarn comes in different weights ranging from lace to super bulky. The weight of the yarn will determine the thickness and heaviness of your project. Consider the pattern instructions to determine the recommended yarn weight.
  • Color: Yarn comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Choose a color that complements your project or experiment with different color combinations to create unique designs.


Just like yarn, needles come in different sizes and materials. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right needles for your project:

  • Size: The size of the needles will determine the gauge and the thickness of your stitches. Check the pattern instructions to determine the recommended needle size.
  • Material: Needles can be made from different materials such as bamboo, aluminum, and plastic. Each material has its own characteristics, such as flexibility and smoothness. Choose a material that suits your knitting style and preference.
  • Type: Needles come in different types, including straight, circular, and double-pointed needles. The type of needles you choose will depend on your project. For example, if you are knitting in the round, circular needles may be more suitable.

Once you have chosen the right yarn and needles for your project, you are ready to start knitting. Remember to always check the gauge and follow the pattern instructions to ensure the best results. Happy knitting!

Step 2: Purl Stitch

The purl stitch is the second basic stitch in knitting. It creates a textured pattern on the fabric, with each purl stitch appearing as a raised bump. It is commonly used along with the knit stitch to create various stitch patterns and designs.

To purl, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the knitting needles with the knit fabric in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Insert the empty needle from right to left into the first stitch on the left needle.
  3. Bring the working yarn to the front of the work.
  4. With the right needle, wrap the working yarn counterclockwise around the right needle, going from back to front.
  5. Using the right needle, push it through the front of the stitch on the left needle.
  6. Bring the right needle behind the left needle, then use the right needle to bring the newly formed stitch through the old loop.
  7. Slide the old stitch off the left needle.
  8. Repeat steps 2-7 for each stitch until you reach the end of the row.

Practice purling by creating a row of purl stitches. Remember to keep your tension even and consistent throughout the row.

Now that you have learned the knit stitch and the purl stitch, you can start combining them to create various stitch patterns and textures in your knitting projects. The possibilities are endless!

Casting On Stitches

Before you can start knitting, you need to cast on stitches onto your knitting needle. Casting on is the process of creating the beginning row of stitches that will form the foundation of your knitted piece. There are several methods available for casting on, but we will focus on two common ones: the long-tail cast on and the knitted cast on.

Long-Tail Cast On

  1. Hold the knitting needle in your right hand and leave a tail of yarn that is about three times the width of your knitted piece.
  2. With your left hand, make a slipknot by creating a loop with the yarn and pulling the end through.
  3. Hold the slipknot securely on the knitting needle with your left thumb and index finger.
  4. Using your right hand, insert the needle under the loop of the slipknot and bring the yarn over the needle.
  5. With your right hand, pull the needle and the yarn through the slipknot, creating a new loop on the needle.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.

Note: The long-tail cast on creates a neat and flexible edge, but it can be slightly more difficult to estimate the correct length of yarn needed. Make sure to leave enough tail for all the stitches you need to cast on.

Knitted Cast On

Knitted Cast On

  1. Make a slipknot and place it on the left-hand needle.
  2. Insert the right-hand needle into the slipknot from left to right, as if to knit.
  3. Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the point of the right-hand needle.
  4. Using the right-hand needle, pull a loop of yarn through the slipknot, creating a new stitch.
  5. Place the new stitch on the left-hand needle.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.

Note: The knitted cast on is a simple and versatile method that creates a firm edge. It is easy to control the tension of the stitches, but it can be a bit slower compared to the long-tail cast on.

Once you have cast on your stitches, you are ready to start knitting! Remember to practice and experiment with different casting on methods to find the one that works best for you.

Step 3: Follow the Pattern

Once you have cast on your stitches and mastered the knit and purl stitches, it’s time to start following the pattern. The pattern will provide you with the instructions on what stitches to make and in what order. It will also include information on any stitch variations or special techniques you may need to use.

Before you start knitting, take a moment to read through the entire pattern. This will give you an overview of the project and help you understand the steps involved. It will also give you an idea of the size, shape, and design of the finished project.

As you read the pattern, you may notice that certain stitches or abbreviations are used. These are standard knitting abbreviations that make the pattern easier to read. Here are some common abbreviations you may encounter:

  • K: Knit Stitch
  • P: Purl Stitch
  • YO: Yarn Over
  • SSK: Slip Slip Knit
  • K2tog: Knit 2 Together

Make sure to refer to a knitting abbreviation guide if you come across any unfamiliar abbreviations in the pattern.

Once you understand the pattern and the abbreviations, you can start working on each row. Follow the instructions row by row, making the specified stitches as directed. Use stitch markers or highlighters to keep track of your progress and mark important sections in the pattern.

It’s important to stay focused and pay attention to detail while following the pattern. Mistakes can easily happen if you lose track of where you are in the pattern. If you do make a mistake, don’t panic! Just carefully unravel the stitches back to the mistake and fix it.

Knitting a pattern requires patience and practice, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to get the hang of it. As you become more comfortable with reading patterns and following instructions, you’ll be able to take on more complex projects and create beautiful knitted items.

Creating a Yarn Over Stitch

The yarn over (yo) stitch is an important technique in knitting that creates an eyelet or an increase in your fabric. It is commonly used in lace patterns or to create decorative details in a project.

To create a yarn over stitch, follow these steps:

  1. Work up to the point where you want to insert the yarn over stitch.
  2. Bring the yarn to the front of your work, between the needles.
  3. Then, wrap the yarn around the right needle from back to front, creating a yarn over loop.
  4. Continue knitting or purling as instructed. The loop created by the yarn over will be treated as a regular stitch on the next row or round.

Here’s an example:

Row 1 (RS): Knit 2, yo, knit 2
Row 2 (WS): Purl 2, purl into the yo loop, purl 2

In the example above, the yarn over in Row 1 creates an eyelet, and in Row 2, you purl into the yarn over loop to treat it as a regular stitch.

Yarn overs can also be used to create decorative patterns, such as lace or mesh designs. By strategically placing yarn overs in a pattern, you can create intricate and beautiful knitting projects.

Remember to practice the yarn over stitch on a small sample swatch before incorporating it into your knitting projects. With time and practice, you’ll become comfortable with this versatile technique.

Step 4: Binding Off

  • 1. Start by knitting the first two stitches on your left-hand needle.
  • 2. Insert the left-hand needle into the first stitch on the right-hand needle.
  • 3. Lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle.
  • 4. Knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle.
  • 5. Lift the second stitch over the third stitch and off the right-hand needle.
  • 6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until only one stitch remains on the right-hand needle.

After binding off, cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches.

Purling with Yarn Overs

Purling with yarn overs is a technique in knitting that creates a decorative eyelet or hole in your fabric. It adds texture and visual interest to your project, making it a great technique to master. Here are the steps to purling with yarn overs:

  1. Insert your right needle into the next stitch on your left needle as if to purl.
  2. Bring the yarn to the front of your work, between the needles.
  3. Instead of simply purling the stitch, bring the yarn over the right needle from back to front.
  4. Purl the stitch as you normally would by bringing the right needle through the stitch from right to left and slipping the stitch off the left needle.
  5. Note that the yarn over becomes a new stitch on your right needle.
  6. Continue purling with yarn overs as desired in your pattern.

Purling with yarn overs is commonly used in lace patterns or when creating an openwork design. It can be combined with other knitting stitches to create intricate patterns and designs. Be sure to follow the pattern instructions closely to achieve the desired effect.

Tips for Purling with Yarn Overs
1. Tension control: Make sure to keep an even tension on your yarn when purling with yarn overs to create consistent and neat stitches.
2. Practice: Like any new knitting technique, purling with yarn overs may take some practice to master. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out perfectly.
3. Count your stitches: Remember to count your stitches regularly to ensure you haven’t accidentally dropped or added stitches when working with yarn overs.
4. Blocking: After completing your project, blocking can help enhance the appearance of your yarn overs and even out the fabric.

With practice, purling with yarn overs can become an enjoyable and rewarding technique to incorporate into your knitting projects. So grab your needles and yarn, and give it a try!

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Step 5: Finishing Touches

After completing the yo stitch, it’s important to finish off your knitting with some final touches.

To secure the yo stitch, you can use a stitch marker or a safety pin to mark the stitch. This will prevent it from unraveling as you continue to knit.

Next, you may want to block your knitted piece to give it a more polished look. Blocking involves wetting your knitting and shaping it into the desired shape and size. You can use blocking mats or towels to lay your knitting on, then pin it into place. Allow it to dry completely before removing the pins.

If you’ve made a mistake in your yo stitch, don’t worry! You can always unravel your knitting back to the mistake and fix it. Use a crochet hook or your knitting needles to carefully pick up the stitches and correct the error. This may take some time and patience, but it’s worth it to have a finished piece you’re proud of.

Once you’re finished with all the steps, take a moment to admire your yo stitch! It may have taken some practice and patience, but now you know how to yo in knitting. With this versatile stitch in your knitting repertoire, you can create beautiful lace patterns and add intricate details to your projects.

Now that you’ve mastered the yo stitch, it’s time to discover other knitting techniques and stitches. Explore different patterns and designs to continue expanding your knitting skills. Happy knitting!


What materials do I need to start knitting?

To start knitting, you will need knitting needles, yarn, and a pair of scissors.

Are there different types of knitting stitches?

Yes, there are different types of knitting stitches such as knit stitch, purl stitch, and various combinations of these stitches.

Can I knit without using knitting needles?

Yes, you can knit without using knitting needles by using your fingers or a loom.

Is knitting difficult to learn for beginners?

Knitting can be a bit challenging for beginners, but with practice and patience, anyone can learn it.

Are there any tips for beginners to make knitting easier?

Some tips for beginners to make knitting easier include starting with simple patterns, using thicker yarn and larger needles, and taking breaks when needed to avoid frustration.


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