Bar Increase: The Increase No One is Using?

Probably Not.  I would venture to guess that the bar increase is the most popular increase because it is easiest to perform.   But is it the right increase?  Well….that depends on the project you are working on.  Designers often tell you to increase a stitch but they don’t always tell you how to perform that increase.  That is why it is important to arm yourself with a little bit knowledges about all the types of increases available to you the knitter.

The Bar Increase is worked into both the front and back of the same stitch and is considered a closed neutral increase.  It produces a horizontal “bar” at its base and to the left of the stitch you are knitting into which is how it derives its name.  This little bump, or  bar, is also why you will need to know not only when to use it but also where to place it.
Bar Increase

The beauty of the bar increase is that it is almost invisible compared to other increases. This is the perfect increase to use when increasing above ribbing.  A pattern will generally instruct you to increase ‘x’ amount of stitches after the increasing and have them ‘evenly spaced’.  The number of stitches do not need to be exact between these increases but it is important to not place them in the first and last stitches in the row.  There are a number of formulas that knitters use to calculate the spacing of the increases but all need to take into account where that little ‘bar’ is going to fall, you want it to be unobtrusive.  Armed with the knowledge that the bar falls to the left of the stitch you are knitting into will help you make the necessary adjustments.

You can manipulate where the bar falls by determining which side of the fabric you work it on.  For instance, if you want to use this type of increase at the beginning and end of several rows (i.e. shaping a sleeve), you might stagger the rows by working the knit into the front and back on the right side and then, on the next row, purl into the front and back of the same stitch on the wrong-side of the fabric.  You will, of course, want to knit a couple stitches before working the increase.

In a pattern, the bar increase will be abbreviated:  “k1fb”, “k1f&b”, or “kfb”.  There you have it!  I hope this little bit of information helps you the next time you knit a bar increase.


UFO Thursday ~ Twinings

Twinings has not been touched since June and I thought I would pull her out of the UFO pile to work on today.  If you recall, I have a little bit of accountability from my Saturday knitting group to stick to my UFO list I made at the beginning of the year.  Being altogether faithful to this list?  Well, let’s just say I’m trying……. there is a shawl I really do want to cast on and it is using stash yarn, mostly.



Twinings appears to be approaching the halfway point.  It is knit in two parts and then grafted together in the middle.  I know, right?  It has been a very long time since I cast this on, maybe a couple years, it doesn’t even have a cast-on date on it’s Ravelry project page.  The laceweight yarn I am using is Fyberspates Scrumptious in the ‘Water’ colorway.  I made one of these for a friend to wear to her son’s wedding and I did it in record time.  Maybe that is why I am prolonging this project out. No doubt my shoulder has some lurching memory of how it ached throughout the speed knitting.

The shawl I am longing to start is Romi’s Simee Dimeh.  I thought it would be a perfect stash busting project!



Simee Dimeh has a very interesting stitch design.  TEXTURE seems to be the current trend in knitting this year and Simee Dimeh definitely fits into that category.  I can’t wait to see how this design is constructed.  I usually learn something new every time I knit one of Romi’s shawls.

This is the first round of colors I have pulled from my stash for Simee Dimeh (I think if I say that name enough in this post I might remember it).  What do you think?  Before I start it I will throw out some options again for some advice.

I was blown away this week by the Yarn Harlot’s blog post on fixing a section of knitting where a mistake has been made a few rows back. The unhappy solution is usually to rip out those rows and re-knit them. But what if your project has over 350 sts per row? Ikes!

(Yarn Harlot’s Shawl)

Enter this genius method, where only the incorrect section needs to be ripped and re-knit.  It’s best explained in pictures, so pop on over to to Stephanie’s site, and be amazed!

Cable Flare – A Discovery

One of the things I like most about the TKGA Master Knitting program is researching and learning new things.  I’ve spent the last three weeks researching what causes cable flare and must admit that, in all my knitting adventures with the twists and turns of cables I had never heard of ‘cable flare.’  Nor had I really wondered why, when transitioning from the ribbing in an Aran sweater to the cable portion one increased stitch count.  I had a vague awareness from knitting socks that patterns which contained cables had more stitches cast on than other socks patterns but had never questioned why.IMG_1669

The non-knitters may want to pass on reading this post and those of you who don’t knit cables may follow suit.  On the other hand, those of you who are process (or curious) knitters may want to hang around a bit while I share what I found quite interesting.  Who knows?  YOU may be a future designer of intricate Aran sweaters!

When knitting cables all that twisting and turning results in the fabric ‘pulling’ in somewhat.  I the swatch below I was instructed to knit a seed stitch border above and below (and on the sides) of a cable pattern of my choice.  As you can see, despite my best efforts in blocking, there is a slight puckering (or flaring) above and below each cable.  Ikes!  My next task, after writing a pattern for this puckering swatch, was to find why it puckered like that and figure out how to compensate for that puckering so it wouldn’t flare out.

So why, dear knitter, do you think there was puckering?  If your answer has to do with GAUGE then you are exactly right.  The seed stitch border and the cable portion have very different gauges!  I know, I know……that word – GAUGE …..makes us all groan.

So off I went to find the gauge in the seed stitch border.  Then I picked another cable (below) and knit a swatch of the cable to take it’s gauge.  I did some calculations and discovered that there is a good 4 stitch difference between the two.  Wowsers!  That is definitely enough to cause a pucker under that cable.


I learned that the way to compensate is to increase those number of stitches right after the last border row but they just can’t be increased anywhere, they need to be increased right over the cable.

So that is what I did and since I had two cables, I increased 8 stitches – 4 for each cable.  I worked the cable portion with those additional stitches and when I finished the cable portion I decreased back down to my original cast on to work the other seed stitch border. And guess what?  Voila!  No cable flare!


Tuck this knitting tidbit into your knitting knowledge hat and the next time you knit a pair of cabled socks you will know why you have to cast on more stitches (because cables pull in) or you are knitting a cabled sweater and see increases at the bottom of the cables and decreases up at the top of the shoulder you will know why!

Full disclosure to inquiring minds – I have not yet submitted these swatches to the Master Knitting Committee so when I do they may tell me I’m bonkers and I need to do more research and resubmit them….actually, they would tell me in a very gentle way.  If my research has been wrong then I will come back here and let you know that you have been steered wrong by someone who is still aspiring to become a Master Knitter and is taking the scenic route 😉