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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.

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77 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria Micchelli permalink
    December 7, 2021 6:54 am

    I’m knitting the world’s easiest mittens, but apparently the project is not easy enough for me, because I have a question! Pattern says “Knit to marker, m1, SM.” How can I m1 right before the marker? The marker is in the way of the m1…! Should I m1 kinda backwards? Any help would be appreciated! Many thanks, Maria.

  2. Catherine Ruskin permalink
    October 20, 2021 7:48 am

    If you are making a thumb gusset – why would you do M1L first? Surely you want the gusset to lean out in both directions? No?
    Really puzzled

    • October 20, 2021 1:15 pm

      I like it to lean ‘into’ the thumb gusset, but either way is completely fine, it’s strictly a matter of preference.

  3. Susan Burt permalink
    September 15, 2021 5:51 am

    Thank you very helpful

  4. Carol Racine permalink
    August 11, 2021 9:21 am

    In the Sitka Spruce hat pattern it says M1. Does it matter if I M1R or M1L?

    • August 16, 2021 1:53 pm

      Hi Carol – If it’s not specified either is fine! Or it’s knitters preference.

  5. June 26, 2021 6:53 am

    I am getting started on the Gramps sweater size 2-4 years.(Very big baby) I am already confused on Row 1. It states to knit to 1 stitch before marker, M1, knit 2, M1). If I am knitting to only 1 stitch before the marker, How can I knit 2 after making 1 stitch? There is only one stitch before the marker. Is the M1 counting for one of the Knit 2 stitches? Thanks for any clarification. Julie

    • June 28, 2021 10:39 am

      Hi! You want to slip markers as you come to them, so you are going to m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1, etc.

    • Barbra Fraser permalink
      September 9, 2021 4:42 pm

      I am knitting the Gramps sweater . What method of M1 did you use. If I use m1r and m1l method, what to I start with – the m1r or m1l. Thanks.

      • September 9, 2021 5:55 pm

        Hi Barbra – It’s really knitters choice. I personally use an m1R before the marker and an m1L after, and an m1L at the first neck edge and an m1R at the second neck edge.

  6. Helen permalink
    June 19, 2021 6:57 am

    In a hat pattern I’m working on it says “move m1 st to the right”. Is this the same as m1r?

    • June 21, 2021 12:14 pm

      Hi Helen – it sounds a little different but I’m not sure what the designer was going for.

  7. December 1, 2020 4:12 pm

    Hello! I found your article very helpful. I do have one question, what does it mean when the pattern says K1, m1 – 3 sts? I know it is Knit 1, and Make 1, but I don’t understand the 3 sts afterwards? Thank you for the help!

    • December 2, 2020 1:29 pm

      Hi Ryan – Sorry, I’m not really sure! I would need a little more pattern context to figure that one out.

    • Liz Davies permalink
      December 15, 2020 1:26 am

      I wonder if this is the beginning of a pattern? So, if these were the very first stitches in your pattern, you would knit the first, and then make one. The 3 sts is an indicator that you now have 3 stitches on your needle having completed that row. (Stitch counts are given as a way of checking that any increasing you are doing during the pattern is on schedule and you are working correctly). Hope that helps.

  8. Karen permalink
    June 11, 2020 6:22 pm

    I’m knitting the harvest sweater and starting the raglan increases, but I’m not sure when to move my marker when it says knit to one stitch before the marker, m1, k2, m1. It seems like I should move the marker after I make the first stitch (m1, SM, k2, m1). Is that correct?

  9. Karin Roncoli permalink
    May 13, 2020 3:39 pm

    what does pm mean in a pattern prior to inceasing a mlL or MlR?

  10. Trudy permalink
    May 1, 2020 12:59 pm

    Just started Love Note Sweater. After the first 8 rows, the instructions have m1 increases. What m1 is preferable??? Which method do you use??? Thanks in advance

    • May 4, 2020 12:31 pm

      Hi Trudy – Any method is fine really, I use an m1 (like the one in the tutorial), usually an m1R because I find those a little easier but it really doesn’t matter.

  11. Sandy permalink
    February 29, 2020 7:21 am

    Thanks! So very helpful!

  12. Rhonda Whybrew permalink
    December 28, 2019 3:22 pm

    This was very helpful. Thank you!

  13. Joann permalink
    October 1, 2019 7:06 am

    Making harvest sweater. The instructions for increases are not clear to me? Exactly when do you slip the marker? Whether to increase to the right or left should be in the pattern?
    We spend a lot of money on suggested yarn to not have clearer instructions. This pattern is for beginners or easy?

    • October 1, 2019 11:42 am

      Hi Joann – slip the markers as you come to them. Increases are knitters choice, some prefer them one way, others the other way. I prefer mine as a m1R before the marker and an m1L after the marker. This pattern is designed as a beginner sweater, not necessarily a first ever project.

  14. Jill permalink
    June 15, 2019 9:00 am

    I understand how to do the m1l/m1r. The resulting rows are all puckered. Help please. The pattern calls for knit 1 make 1. I have tried both ways. Thank you I hope you can help.

    • June 16, 2019 8:43 pm

      Hi Jill – I think it might just need a block? k1, m1 is a sharp increase

      • Jill permalink
        June 20, 2019 10:20 am

        Thank you so much for your reply. Will do. Once again thank you.

  15. Karen Szymanski permalink
    May 19, 2019 7:08 pm

    I knitted the yoke but the one front had 41 Sr
    Tsubasa and other 9 the pattern has increases before marker do second front does not increase enough

    • May 21, 2019 12:45 pm

      Hi Karen – I’m sorry I’m not sure I understand the question, which sweater are you knitting?

  16. Jenna permalink
    April 5, 2019 6:43 am

    Great explanation. So Clear, thank you. Can you advise on a M1P? Thanks x

    • April 7, 2019 8:00 pm

      Hi Jenna – we don’t have a tutorial on that one yet, but it works the same way, lift the bar between the sts and purl into it twisting the stitch.

  17. Hilary permalink
    November 28, 2018 1:31 pm

    What does slip marker mean in practical terms?

    • November 28, 2018 3:35 pm

      Hi Hilary – it means to move the marker from the left needle to the right needle

  18. Madeline permalink
    September 10, 2018 3:15 pm

    what does the instruction “SM” mean?

  19. Arlene permalink
    July 27, 2018 9:04 am

    Can anyone help me. My pattern calls for k1r and k1l in the same bar. This is causing a hole in my pattern. Any thoughts or directions?

    • July 30, 2018 10:32 am

      Hi Arlene – It sounds like that would definitely leave a big hole. Maybe try using a different increase? I might try knitting front/back/front into the same stitch. You are trying to make 3 sts from 1 stitch, is that right?

  20. Lilly permalink
    April 9, 2018 10:27 am

    Hello! Thank you for the detailed explanation. Do you have any tips for making these tighter? I am left with gaping holes with m1r especially – not at all as clean and pretty as the instructions

    • April 9, 2018 1:01 pm

      Hi Lilly – it sounds like maybe you are knitting the sts through the back loop when you should be knitting through the front loop and vice versa. Try knitting the picked up bar the opposite from the way you were doing it, that should give you a nice even m1.

  21. 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

  22. 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!!

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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.

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

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  28. 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. :)

  29. 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….

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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

  33. 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

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

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


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