Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yarn Over 101

I decided to do a tutorial on yarn overs, since there can (and is) often times a lot of confusion on the topic. When I first began knitting, I was good with the YO - yarn over.  But then I started seeing things like yon, yrn, yfwd... I didn't quite understand what I was supposed to do.  I thought it was a yarn over, but then again, it seemed different. It must be different, otherwise the pattern would just say YO, right?   As a result, I avoided anything that contained these goofy instructions.  Somewhere along the way, I figured out that these were all yarn overs, and the only difference was yon, yrn, etc. were there to indicate how the yarn was treated, depending on whether the next stitch was a knit or purl.  These days, whenever I see any of these directions, I just make a yarn over and don't even worry if I am going over the needle, around the needle or whatever.  I know my working yarn has to be in the front when I purl, and in the back when I knit, and that my yarn will be going over the needle.  So I just throw the yarn over my needle, place it in the correct position, and make my next stitch.  It really is that simple.

I know a lot of knitters are very passionate about this topic.  For me, as I said above, they are all yarn overs, and I don't get too particular what "kind" of yarn over it is.  I just do it.  I knit to relax, and really don't need to stress over a hole in my knitting.

Here is a printable reference guide on yarn overs, including what to do when you forget to make one and what to do when you make one you don't need.  There is also a video which demonstrates everything on the sheet.  I hope this helps anyone who may be as confused as I was.  Happy Knitting!

Yarn Over 101 Reference Guide

Yarn Over 101 by on Scribd


  1. Hi, I'm so glad I found you. I need help! I'm knitting a child's cardigan and the directions for the sailor collar is made from the following repeated pattern:
    ROW 1: k3, *yrn, yon, k2, repeat from * to end.
    ROW 2: P1, *p2tog, repeat from * to last 2 sts, p2.
    ROW 3: K2, *yrn, yon, k2, repeat from * to last st, k1.
    ROW 4: P2, *p2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.

    I knit American, with the yarn in my right hand. When knitting the 2 yarn overs in the knit rows, I just take the yarn around twice on the right needle. It seems to work, but the pattern does not seem to have the distinct look of the picture that accompanies the sweater pattern. (It can be seen at
    I am therefore wondering if I am doing the yarn overs correctly.
    If I am holding the yarn in my right hand, is there a difference when executing YRN and YON?
    I know I'm asking a lot from you, but if you could help me I would be very grateful.
    Much thanks,

    1. Hi there!
      It shouldn't matter which hand you hold your yarn in. I am wondering if you will be blocking this? If so that should even things out and make the collar look better. Not sure if this helped or not. I hope so and good luck with your cardigan.

    2. I think blocking it will probably help. I was just concerned if I was dong the two yarn overs in a row correctly. In the end I think am. Much thanks for responding. I appreciate your great help on You Tube.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Need help there is a yarn over thats in a pattern that doesn't create a hole. Unfortunately the directions don't help, I can only learn by observe and follow along. I go from a knit, make 1, to a purl and end row by a purl, make 1, to a knit. But the directions specifically say there can't be a hole. So I need a video showing me how to do it. I also knit in the American style.

    1. The whole purpose of making a yarn over is to increase while making a hole. "Make 1" is a different increase than a yarn over increase, so if that is what your instructions are stating to do, then you shouldn't be making a yarn over. A M1 can slant left or right, if the pattern doesn't specify then use whichever you want. Just google "make one" and you will find a bunch of videos/instructions for making one.