Yarn Over (yo)

A yarn over is a simple increase that creates a lovely hole and is the basis for lace knitting. You may have made a yarn over my mistake, but in lace knitting we create holes with a purpose. Both yarn overs before a knit stitch and purl stitch are demonstrated in this video.

40 thoughts on “Yarn Over (yo)

  1. Would it be possible to upload a video demonstrating Building Block #3 Row 7? I have ripped my project out a dozen times now and I’m super frustrated.

  2. Are you a thrower with yarn held in right hand or do you knit continental style with the yarn held in left hand? I have two different yarn over videos – one for each style. Be sure you are executing it correctly. The design encourages larger holes, but they shouldn’t be so big that you are not liking them. Wish I was sitting next to you and we could have this figured out in a jiffy!

  3. I’m working on Building Block #4, and I’m executing the stitches to obtain the pattern of holes, but my holes are very big. What can I do to get the holes smaller in size.

  4. Ohhhhhhhh!
    Cheryl’s second comment made it click for me. I was doing the same thing—doing a stitch along with the yo. But that’s wrong. The K2tog yo is something you do 20 times across the 40 stitches, not 13 times. Thanks Cheryl!

  5. Hello,
    I’m wondering the same thing as Elizabeth Wilson. I’m on building block #3, row 7 of the body. I’ve done K2tog yo thirteen full times, and there is one stitch left (the 40th center stitch before doing the final 4 seed stitch). If I knit 2 together which would be the next stitch according to the pattern, my row will end with 49 total stitches. So that doesn’t seem right. The first seed stitch will be a knit for this row, so I’m guessing a purl stitch would stick out the least. Is that right?

  6. So sorry this is confusing you! A yarn over makes one stitch. You will work two stitches together as one to make the k2tog, then bring the working yarn between the needles to the purl position and then work the next k2tog. The act of having the yarn in the purl position will create the yarn over. Don’t forget the last yarn over at the end of the Body before the final seed stitches. Hope this helps!

  7. I’m seriously confused. I have read your responses to comments and it just confuses me even more. I am doing the Buidling Blocks Class, and haven’t been able to make the actual class for block #3. Row 7, k2tog, then yo. So that together makes 3 stitches. K2tog makes one stitch, YO makes 2 stitches. So that totals 3 stitches. 3 does not evenly go into 40, it goes into 39. So there is one left before the seed stitch. I’m literally ripping my hair out trying to figure this out! I’ve redone it over 10 times, counting the stitches before I start to make sure there are 48, and 40 in the body, making sure I am doing each stitch correctly and in the order needed. Please help me! This is frustrating me to no end. I count, I do it in order, and mathematically and doing it always ends with 39 stitches done in pattern, and one being left before the 4 seed stitches.

  8. I am working on a honeycomb lace scarf and the pattern says to ‘k2tog, yo, yo, k2togtbl’. Does the yo, yo mean a double yarn over?

  9. No, just make a yarn over then k2tog tbl. If you are a western style knitter (throw the yarn with your right hand) then bring the working yarn to the front between the needles and the yarn over will form as you execute the k2tog tbl. If you are a Continental knitter (yarn held in left hand and you pick the stitches) then yarn over as usual by scooping up the yarn onto your right needle. Be sure to watch my Yarn Over video for clarification. Happy knitting, Michelle

  10. I’m working on Building Block #4 and I’m on Row 3. The directions say: yo, k2tog tbl. Do I do a yo and then knit a stitch before doing the k2tog tbl?
    Thank you,

  11. The yo should leave a hole. Perhaps the picture just doesn’t highlight the hole enough. If you have the correct stitch count then I would assume you are working the pattern correctly. Each yo replaces one of the decrease stitches in the ssk and k2tog.

  12. I am knitting a star lace pattern and on row 17 k1,yo,ssk.k7,k2tog,yo but when I do the yo, ssk I get a hole which according to the picture there is no hole there what am I doing wrong I think it is when I do the yo before the ssk

  13. Thanks for knitting with me! In Row 3, knit two stitches and then begin the repeat. *knit two together, (knit one, yarn over, knit one, yarn over), knit one……

  14. Hello,

    I am on the final block of your book and I have a question about reading the pattern because sometimes I get confused with yarn overs. So, in ROW 3 it says: “K2 *k2tog,(k1, y0) twice, k1…”
    I am having trouble picturing how this goes, exactly. I got to the end of my row and my stitch count was wrong so I know that I am not understanding how to read the parenthetical part. Do you execute a knit stitch, yo and then k1 and that’s it for the “twice?”

    Sorry to be a bother; I have NO idea how you might be able to explain this to me, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to.

    I love your book and what I’ve accomplished and am looking forward to Building in Color (I bought that book already).

    Thank you,

  15. Thanks for knitting Building Blocks with me! In Block #3 there are 40 stitches in the Body of the square + 8 seed stitches (4 on each side). In Row 7, seed stitch the first 4 sts, then knit two stitches together (k2tog) and then make a yarn over (yo) 20 times always think of this as a pair, then seed the last four stitches. The k2tog takes away one stitch and the yo replaces it keeping your stitch count consistent. Many knitters start counting to themselves that it is yo then k2tog, but it is k2tog then yo. Count to be sure that you have the correct number of Body stitches (40) and don’t forget to work that last yarn over at the end of the Body before working the last 4 seed stitches in the row. I hope this helps!

  16. Hi,

    I see above, that someone who was working on block number 3, had an issue with a “lonesome” stitch, immediately before the last 4 seed stitches, on tow 7. I had the same issue. If I did another yo, then it would not be 48 stitches anymore, but, it would’ve made it a grand total of 49, (with one last yo). Before my last 4 seed stitches. Please help.:/. I ended up pearling the lonesome stitch, so that I could seed stitch, K1, p1, the last four. I don’t think it’s correct, though. I knit the next two rows, and don’t want to continue, until I figure out this situation, with your help.

    Thank you in advance, to your prompt help with this issue.

    Best regards,


  17. In the end of the video, I demonstrate how to work a yo before a purl stitch. Fo you, simply purl, then work the yo before a purl stitch as shown in the video and then purl. I hope this helps!

  18. Thanks for knitting Building Blocks with me! After the p3, just leave your yarn in front to form the yo as you are working the ssk. There is no difference between SSK and ssk – just a typo.

  19. I am on building block #10. row 1 says to P3, yo, SSK, k1, ssk, p3. After P3, the yarn is already in front, so how do I yo before SSK. Also, what is the difference between SSK and ssk

    Thank you

  20. YES. you are correct, #10 is the ssk square sorry. This is my first knitting project, does it show? So for row 1: P3,*yo, SSk, k1, yo, ssk I have been able to figure out k1, yo, ssk with the help of your video the yarn is just brought under and worked, but do i understand your response to mean after pearling the yarn is in the right position and then ssk. In other words yarn over means leave yarn in front and slip slip knit.

  21. Thanks for knitting Building Blocks with me! I think you are referring to Block #10. If you are a Western-style knitter (yarn held in right hand), a yarn over after a purl stitch and before a knit stitch is created by leaving the yarn in front after working the purl stitch. In other words, a yarn over before any knit stitch is formed with the working yarn held to the front as you knit the following stitch. In this row, the yo is followed by an ssk which is considered a knit stitch. Hope this helps!

  22. My wife purchased an autographed copy of your building blocks and I am very new to this but in block #11 row 1 is…p3,yo your demo is from a knit position to yarn over ummm am i missing something how do I move my yarn from purl.

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  24. Even though the slip stitch immediately follows the yo, the next stitch actually worked is a knit stitch so proceed to yo as you would before a knit stitch. The yo will be a bit elongated due to the slip stitch in between the yo and k2tog. If this bothers you then make a yarn over by wrapping the working yarn over the needle and then back to the original knit position in a clockwise motion. (This is the opposite direction of the yarn over before a purl stitch.) Hope this helps!

  25. My pattern calls fro “YO, sl 1, k2 together…”

    So not a knit OR purl stitch immediately following the YO. I’m getting a funny looking thing – a long horizontal length of yarn. Any ideas? Thanks!

  26. Thank you so much for your response. I did realize what I was doing wrong! I was thinking that a ‘yo’ included a knit stitch. I finally realized that a ‘yo’ is literally just bringing the yarn from back to front and doesn’t include a stitch!! 🙂

    Thanks again!

  27. Thanks for knitting Building Blocks with me! In Block #3 you have an even number of stitches in the Body of the square. Working across Row 7 you will knit two stitches together (k2tog) and then make a yarn over (yo). The k2tog takes away one stitch and the yo replaces it keeping your stitch count consistent. Count to be sure that you have the correct number of Body stitches (40) and don’t forget to work that last yarn over at the end of the Body before working the last 4 seed stitches in the row. I hope this helps!

  28. I am working the third building block and when I do my row 7, I have an extra stitch at the end. Am I supposed to knit that stitch?

    This stitch is right before I would start my seed stitch for the last four stitches.

    Thank you.

  29. Can you show me how to knit this?
    K1(K1,(yo,K1)7 times ) all in the same stich (15 stiches)

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