Increasing in Seed or Rib Stitch

So you’ve finally reached that exciting part in the pattern where it tells you to “increase [x] stitches evenly every other row in pattern”. And that’s it. You’re on your own. I know some very organised logical knitters who settle down and draw charts to see them through the conundrum. I don’t fall into that category and plenty a time I just knit only to have to rip back several rows or have to drop a stitch to turn it into a knit/purl instead. Frustrating.

So what does it mean, “increase in pattern”? Well, assuming you’re knitting stockinette or reverse stockinette stitch then pick the most appropriate increase stitches, spread evenly along the row avoiding the last and first stitch and you’re done. However if you’re ribbing or knitting in seed stitch i.e. a small but even pattern, then you may not find it so easy.

First thing to remember is that you won’t stay “in pattern” for a few rows. You will be back in pattern in a two stitch pattern on multiple of two rows and when increasing 2×2 ribbing, on a multiple of four rows.

 Increasing in Seed Stitch

Your pattern would be k1, p1 on RS and p1, k1 on WS.

Row 1 (RS)  Increase in the second stitch in from the beginning edge with a PFB and on the penultimate stitch with KFB – k1, PFB, p1, k1, p1 until two stitches from end which will be k1, KFB and p1.

Row 2 (WS) is perhaps more important as here you can decide how to work the new stitches into the pattern. You should see the first stitch being p1 then the new (increased) stitch and the stitch (original) which was used to make the increased stitch. (New increases will come in between these two stitches.) The increased stitch should be worked as if there were another increased stitch already there rather than the stitch that the seed stitch pattern would demand. Therefore you will purl the stitch. I know, stay with me. This gives two purl stitches in a row. This is what I mean that you will come out of pattern for a while. Carry on in pattern until the last two stitches, which should be k2.

The other WS rows between this row and the next increase row will be worked in exactly this same manner.

Row 3 (or next increase row which is the RS) Place the increases on the second and second-to-last stitches of the row, and since those stitches haven’t changed, these are going to be a PFB and a KFB respectively – k1, PFB, (p1, k1) to last three stitches, k1 KFB, p1.

Row 4 (WS row), This is the row where you’ll be back in pattern. Meaning, p1, k1, p1, k1

Continue on across the row, and end by purling the new stitch between the two knits over there. You’re now completely back in pattern until the next increase row comes along. You’ll continue in this fashion, getting out of pattern on the odd increase rows, and back into it on the evens, until you’ve done all the increases.


Increases in 2×2 ribbing

Using the same logic for a 2×2 rib which is k2, p2 on the RS and p2, k2 on the WS would give you:

Row 1 (RS first increase row) K1, kfb, p2 to the last two stitches and then pfb, p1 at the end of the row

Row 2 (WS) P3 and then k2, p2 to last three stitches k3

Row 3 (RS second increase row) K1, kfb and then k1, p2 to the last three stitches and then p1, pfb, p1 at the end of the row

Row 4 (WS) P4 and then k2, p2 to last four stitches, k4

Row 5 (RS third increase row) K1, pfb and then k2, p2 to the last two stitches and then kfb, p1 at the end of the row

Row 6 (WS) p1 then k2, p2 to last three stitches, p2, k1

Row 7 (RS fourth increase row) K1, pfb, p1 and then k2, p2 to the last three stitches and then pfb, p1 at the end of the row

Row 8 (WS) And as if by magic, you’re back to p2, k2 all the way!


I think I will go and lie down now. I hope this makes sense. I really did try very hard to be clear. If not, I apologise. The main thing to bear in mind is that it doesn’t actually really matter too much unless you’re a perfectionist. And if you are, I’m sure you can work it out without my help!

Finally, I promised that I will write up the pattern for the 3-in-1 Smorf – and I have. It’s here.


About monsteryarns

I am a yarn enthusiast and knitter.
This entry was posted in Increasing, Knitting, Techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

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