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m1 – How to Make One Knit Stitch – m1R and m1L

October 3, 2013

Make 1 or m1 is a generic way to say ‘create one new stitch’.  There are many different methods that you can choose from, and you should pick the one you prefer.  Where a specific technique is listed on our patterns, it is typically for a specific reason (because it contributes to creating a special effect).  You can use the suggested method in this case, OR simply substitute your own favourite method for making a new stitch.

This tutorial explains a m1 method that involves working into the bar between two stitches.  It can be worked two different ways, these are described as ‘left’ and ‘right’ – m1L and m1R.

the bar between stitches is lifted and knit into when working an m1L or m1R.

the bar between stitches is lifted and knit into when working an m1L or m1R.

m1L ::: Make 1 Left

Step 1 ::: Insert the LH needle from front to back, under the bar between the stitches (thus lifting it onto the LH needle)


Step 2 :::: Knit this bar through the back loop (this twists it into a nice little tight loop)


This is one new stitch made!


m1R ::: Make 1 Right

Step 1 ::: Insert the LH needle from back to front, under the bar between the stitches (thus lifting it onto the LH needle)


Step 2 ::: Knit this bar through the front loop (this twists it into a nice little tight loop)blog-m1-05


Having a hard time visualizing these increases? has excellent videos which illustrate a number of different increase methods, including m1R and m1L – find them here.

Which kind of m1 should I use?

What if the pattern just says m1, but doesn’t specify where to use m1R and where to use m1L?  Well, lets take a look at the effect of working m1R and m1L in different locations.

When you are increasing AFTER a stitch marker, you create new stitches that slant out leftward from the rest of the work.  I prefer to use m1L in this context.

When you are increasing BEFORE a stitch marker, you create new stitches that slant out rightward from the rest of the work.  I prefer to use m1R in this context.


Take a look at how m1R and m1L look in these contexts – I find that the most seamless / flat / tight line of increase is to use m1L after a marker, and m1R before a marker.  But you may like the effect of using the opposite decrease!  It’s all about your preference, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do it.

Check out The Simple Collection… 8 perfect free patterns designed for building your knitting skills and know-how, from a simple scarf to a modern cardigan.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila permalink
    January 31, 2018 9:17 pm

    In tws mittens in row three of thumb gusset should it read m1L , knit to marker, m1R, SM, knit to end of round
    The L and R are not printed

    • January 31, 2018 11:31 pm

      While I do prefer a paired increase, and usually use a bar increase, we think it’s knitters choice and don’t specify the type of make one, or the lean, in that scenario

  2. Claudia permalink
    December 2, 2017 5:27 pm

    This is my kind of explanation! So clear. Thank you. Onward to the fingerless mitts and matching hat!!

  3. Brooke Shergold permalink
    November 5, 2017 10:28 pm

    I’m knitting your Waves Mittens and wondering in the round which increase is best m1L or R? Thanks!

    • November 6, 2017 10:41 am

      For the gusset I personally like to do a m1l and then a m1r, but it’s totally knitters choice.

  4. Jocelyne permalink
    July 19, 2017 3:01 pm

    I’m knitting the harvest sweater, and is wondering on row 3 after the set up row, after you knit to first marker, it’s says k2, ml do you do a m1 left or right.. Thank you

    • July 21, 2017 9:41 am

      Hi Jocelyne – I do an m1R but it’s not really critical for that particular part

  5. Gina permalink
    March 9, 2017 6:13 pm

    Hi, I would like some guidance please in relation to the front increases for the harvest cardigan.

    When I knit, I do it knitting into the back leg which is closer to the point of my needle. And when I purl, I do it from the front, with the leg on front being closer to my knitting needle in both cases holding my yarn with my left hand.

    I think my style of knitting is the uncrossed knit.

    So, would I have to reverse between M1L & M1R for the fronts of the cardigan?

    • March 9, 2017 10:52 pm

      Hi Gina – I’m not sure, you would need to try them and see if you get a hole underneath the increase

  6. Teresa permalink
    February 20, 2017 12:27 pm

    So in creating a stitch for the purpose of leaning right or left only, say on a design for a knit cap, you would need to decrease were? After creating the stitch or before. I’m trying to create a Resistance pattern for my son’s knit beanie. Thank you in advance.

    • February 20, 2017 11:10 pm

      Hi Teresa – I’m sorry, I don’t know if I really understand the question. You are creating sts but there is a question about where to decrease? Maybe drop us an email and I’m sure we can figure it out.

  7. Lorrie permalink
    February 18, 2017 1:06 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  8. Ellen permalink
    January 21, 2017 8:56 am

    Thank you so much for your clear instructions for the M1R and M1L. More importantly, thanks for demystifying when your use each increase. I am making a poncho that does not specify which increase left or right, and your photo so clearly illustrates why I might want to use each. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You have made me such a happy knitter. :)

  9. Teresa permalink
    January 18, 2017 10:43 pm

    Hi,I am a beginner knitter, and I am having trouble understanding last part instructions for row 3,where it says knit to last stich, m1 , k1. If I knit to last stich, how do I do m1 if there is no bar to do M1 Thank you

    • January 19, 2017 9:46 am

      Hi Teresa- There will be one stitch left in the row so there will be a bar to pick up….

  10. Tuxa Shepley permalink
    December 7, 2016 8:33 am

    Excellent explanation. I would always get confused about which one for which side. This certainly clears that confusion. Thanks for posting this.

  11. v.gar permalink
    October 21, 2016 4:18 pm

    pattern calls for k1,m1,*k2,ssk,k2tog,k2,m2, repeat from*to last 9 sts,then k2,ssk,k2tog,k2,M1,k1, I have tried for almost 8 months to work a gauge using 40 stiches but can’t hold each row to 40 stiches I lose 2 stitches on knit rows, rs and purl normal on ws can anyone help me.

    • October 23, 2016 12:39 am

      Hi – I’m sorry, I really tell what the problem is without reading the pattern, maybe try the designer? Or if it is one of ours which pattern is it?

  12. Margaret permalink
    September 27, 2014 9:14 pm

    You are a legend for helping me to understand how to do a M1 OR M1r OR M1L. Thank you so much, as I am a beginner and it’s hard to understand the pattern language.
    Happy days! Margaret

  13. Allyson Hall permalink
    January 28, 2014 5:36 am

    As a left handed knitter I knit in the opposite direction…will that change the order in which you would recommend I do the m1r and m1l? I have always just resorted to using kfb but would like to learn these other increases as well. Thanks for all the awesome patterns and tutorials!

    • February 11, 2014 8:37 pm

      Just reverse the order, use an m1R where others would use an m1L and visa versa

  14. MelK permalink
    January 21, 2014 2:42 pm

    This is SO CLEARLY explained ( and illustrated). Thank you!


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