Giving Birth to a Stitch: Arne and Carlos Make 1
I recently had the pleasure of attending a fantastic Interweave Escape in the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont. Nestled in a valley surrounded by vibrant fall foliage, in a classroom found on the lower level of a historic inn, I learned how to work a M1 stitch in a way I’ll never forget.
Before I share with you Arne and Carlos’ unique way to remember how to M1, you need to know a little more about them. I know no better way to describe them than as engaging, passionate, masterful knitters who will literally and figuratively have you in stitches in their classes.
The knitted birds Arne and Carlos talk about in their interview were the focus of the class I took with them and where they taught students their distinctive way to increase a stitch. The pattern can be found in their book, Arne & Carlos’ Field Guide to Knitted Birds. I fell so in love with these little birds that I’ve knit more than a dozen of them since class. I’ve shared them with family and friends to hang on their Christmas trees, I have one my desk to distract me while I work, and I even knit an extra one to let my cat play with. They’re just that fun to make.
Technically speaking, the way Arne and Carlos M1 is called a right lifted increase (RLI) in U.S. knitting terms (see Lifted Increase in our Glossary). As they explained in class, traditionally, M1 is only ever worked this way in their Norwegian style of knitting. You’ll find their patterns don’t define what method of M1 to use for this reason. It’s only here in the U.S. that we have multiple ways of working increases.
To learn this M1 technique, you need to read it as if it were a story, and that story goes something like this…
When looking at your knitting, think of the stitches as female. All the stitches currently on the needles are the daughters. The stitches in the row below the daughters are their mothers, below the mothers are grandmothers, and so on.
Isn’t that a lovely way of looking at your stitches? I like the idea that stitches are actually small beings with identities and personalities. A stubborn stitch that splits now takes on a whole new perspective when it you think of it that way. It’s just going to need some extra attention, like any daughter with frizzy hair.
To make a new stitch, you must look to the mother row. With your right needle, lift the mother’s right leg up onto the left needle. Then, with leg lifted, put your needle between the mother’s legs, wrap the yarn as if to knit, and pull the new stitch out.
You’ve just given birth to a new stitch.
Let the mother’s leg slip off the left needle where it was being held and work the daughter stitch as usual. You can then continue knitting the row according to the pattern. The row following a row with a M1 is usually knit; this tightens up the stitches and makes the increases nearly invisible.
I can’t help but giggle to myself every time I work a M1 when knitting one of the sweet birds from Arne and Carlos’ book. I’m reminded of the day I learned this technique and I remember the charades-like performance Arne did in front of the class to demonstrate what he was describing. We roared with laughter! I can’t wait for the next Interweave Escape, I know it will be just as amazing an experience.
Editorial Director, Books
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