Last week we mastered eyelets. Now lets talk about shaping in the form of increases and decreases using yarn overs. That sounds halfway correct, doesn’t it? Increasing and decreasing where there are yarn overs can get really confusing. This is a place where charts make so much sense. Even if you end up writing out your instructions, this visual picture tells you what you need to know.
Yarn Overs for Increasing
Remember that yarn overs need to be paired with a decrease to keep a consistent stitch count? Let’s look at my increase chart. I used the same chart as last week. This time I created increases every other RS row (every 4th row). Then I copied the pattern over into the new chart area. I put a repeat box around the original pattern to keep that visually separate.
Notes about my way of charting:
- I do a decrease paired with a yarn over with a smaller decrease symbol so that the decrease and the yarn over each occupy a box/ stitch as they will when the row is knit. This allows things to stack visually.
- A box/stitch is added on the increase row.
- Knit stitches inside and outside the repeat are not aggregated (so if you have a marker it will make sense).
- I chose to put my increases 1 stitch in from the edge stitch. I did this consistently.
- This chart does not have WS rows, which are purled.
Inc Row 1: The incR is done inside the repeat, pushing that first stitch outside the repeat. That is the only interruption to the original pattern. 14 sts
Row 3: There is no increase, but there is now a stitch outside the repeat.
Inc Row 5: I added a YO without a decrease to make the increase, one stitch inside the edge. 15 sts
Row 7: No increase.
Inc Row 9: YO used to increase. 16 sts
Row 11: No increase.
Inc Row 13: YO used to increase. 17 sts
Row 15: No increase.
Inc Row 17: YO used to increase. 18 sts
Row 19: No increase.
Inc Row 21: YO used to increase; partial pattern remains. 19 sts
Row 23: No increase.
Inc Row 25: YO used to increase; partial pattern remains. 20 sts
That was easy wasn’t it. The chart really helps.
Yarn Overs and Decreasing
The yarn overs really aren’t used for decreasing. But their paired decrease sometimes is. Let’s look at the chart that I created showing the same pattern, and the same rate of change, but this time as decreases every other RS row (every 4th row).
- I started with two full repeats of the pattern—or 26 stitches.
- Notice how the size of the decrease symbols changes.
- The decrease is one stitch in from the edge.
- The decrease is seen in the row above, just as in your knitting.
Dec Row 1: The SSK takes up 2 boxes. Notice in the pattern that the YOs that are there are matched to a one-box decrease. 25 sts
Row 3: There is no decrease and the pattern that fits in remains.
Dec Row 5: Decrease as above. 24 sts
Row 7: There is no decrease and part of the pattern that fits in remains.
Dec Row 9: Decrease as above. 23 sts
Row 11: No decrease.
Dec Row 13: Decrease as above and only the end of the pattern remains. 22 sts
Row 15: No decrease.
Dec Row 17: Decrease as above and only the end of the pattern remains. 21 sts
Row 19: No decrease, and I left in one of the central YOs, and I changed the paired decrease to a SSK.
Dec Row 21: Decrease as above and only the end of the pattern remains. 20 sts
Row 23: No decrease.
Dec Row 25: The decrease is a SK2P occupying 2 boxes because one side is a decrease and the other is paired with a YO. 19 sts
Decreases are easy to see once plotted out. It is probably worth getting a piece of graph paper and plotting it rather than having to figure out each row as-you-knit.