How to Knit Yarn Over

    by Jackie Johnson

    About the Author

    Jackie Johnson is a published writer and professional blogger, and has a degree in English from Arizona State University. Her background in real estate analysis prepared her for objective thinking, researching and writing.


    In knitting, the yarn over is the technique that knitters use to create a hole in their knitting which can be decorative or make an increase to the stitches in the row of knitting. Knitted laces and knitted eyelets use a lot of yarn overs combined with decreases to create these decorative knitted fabrics.

    Things You'll Need

    • Yarn
    • Knitting needles
    • Knitting pattern

    Follow the instructions for your knitting pattern. When you need to make a yarn over, it will say "YO" or "yo." When you see that, it's time to make the yarn over in the next stitch.

    Yarn over before knit stitch

    To make a yarn over before a knit stitch, bring the yarn forward counterclockwise under and over the right needle without inserting the needle into the next stitch. The yarn will make a loop over the needle. You want the yarn to be behind the needle when you are done.

    Yarn Over When Purling

    To make a yarn over before a purl stitch, bring the yarn forward counterclockwise under and over the right needle, then under again so that the yarn is in the front of the work when the yarn over is done.

    Continue knitting or purling the next stitches on the needle as the directions call for. If you are knitting a lacy item, you may have to decrease either before the yarn over or after it. If you are using yarn overs for increases, you will not have to decrease at all.

    Finish the row. If you are purling the next row, knit the yarn over as a purl stitch as you would a normal stitch. If it's a knit row, knit the yarn overs as regular knit stitches.

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