FAQ: Which M1 Should I Use?

Whenever I get asked which M1s should be used with my patterns and where, I’m always certain that my answer is not going to be well received. I tell people that it doesn’t really matter, and they should knit their M1s however they prefer. If they want to mirror them M1R and M1L or M1L and M1R, or knit them all as M1Rs or all as M1Ls, it all works as long as the knitter likes the look and they’re knitting M1s. This is probably a good time to mention that M1 stands for “Make One,” which is the name of a specific type of increase, not a generic instruction to increase one stitch.


Here on the thumb gusset of my Aida mitts I used mirrored M1s. It looks nice, right? I went with mirrored M1s for three reasons. First, the thumb gusset is a highly visible place so the increases are going to get noticed and should look nice. Second, the increases are worked every other row so they form a distinctive line, and mirrored M1s made a slightly nicer line. Third, this particular yarn is a solid color with multiple plies, and it shows off texture really well. That meant I had to be deliberate with any textural difference I might make like the twist of M1s. Would this have looked okay if I did all the same M1 instead of mirroring them? I think so. The direction of the M1s wouldn’t make or break this project.


And here on the side shaping of my Armande sweater I used all the same M1s. One direction is significantly easier for me to knit and M1s are so small that I will always knit my M1s all the same if I think I can get away with it. I didn’t think it would be noticeable here because the shaping is under my arms, spread out, and knit in a heathered yarn. Does knitting M1s all the same direction look as nice? Nah, but it’s more pleasant to knit, and that counts for a lot in my book. These M1s might drive an extremely detail orientated knitter crazy, and that’s why I like to leave the final decision up to the person who is doing the knitting. How do you like to knit your M1s? If you don’t know your own preference, I always say that when in doubt, knit some swatches!





13 responses to “FAQ: Which M1 Should I Use?”

  1. More often than not, I mirror mine. I like the look of the lines I get that way on toeup socks, thumb gussets, etc. But, I think this is because on the things I knit the most, the increases are on things that have “sides” as it were. On things like hats where I’m increasing all the way around (like between ribbing and the main hat itself) I usually just use the same one for all of them, because it’s not as noticeable then (to me).

  2. Generally, I end just doing kfb. ^^’ Particularly for mittens, they usually make a nice line. However, I do know lots of people who don’t like the purl bump – but considering that I felt 75% of my mittens, you would never be able to tell, anyway.

    I love mirrored increases for sweaters, because I think that it gives them a gorgeous line. So that’s usually what I do then if I can’t do kfb.

    Katie =^..^=

    1. ElyseKnox

      Katie, et al: Re KFB–I recently came across another version, KFSB. Translated, that means ‘knit front, SLIP back.’ By slipping the back rather than knitting it you get the increase without the little bar across.

  3. It’s only recently I’ve knitted a pattern with directional M1s and personally I just did them the normal knit ways I’ve always done them. People sometimes like to be too specific or perfer to have the tiniest of details specified for them but it is 100% personal preference. 🙂 keep up the lovely work! X

  4. I would really like to see a tutorial on how to do increases and make 1’s if you have the time please…. I’m never really sure how to do them. 🙂

    1. I have one on Tuts+ here. That’s where you can find most of my technical tutorials.

  5. I feel the same way about M1s! Plus I can never remember which one is L and which is R, I just tend to do whichever feels better as I work.

    1. I’ve gone through quite a lot of knitting books, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of consensus about which is L and which is R. Some say the one with that twists with the right leg on top is the R, but it slants to the left so some say that it’s the L. It’s confusing.

  6. I generally mirror mine; they’re equally easy to me. I do the first one lifted from the back, and the second one lifted from the front, and knit through the back loop. The way I remember? “I’ve got your back!” Lifted from the back, first.

    Of course, there’s always the lifted increase, worked into the side of the st of the row below. I mirror those, too!

  7. I was just thinking about this! I am super picky and always mirror mine. I just finished writing another pattern where I made a point of specifying M1L and M1L for nice mirrored lines. It’s always so interesting to see how differently people feel about certain details.

  8. I always use mirrored M1s even though the pattern doesn’t specify. I guess I can’t help it, I know they exist, so I use them.

    1. Well, that’s why the pattern doesn’t specify! It leaves the decision up to you.

  9. Diana

    Hi Andi, Well what a cute girl you are. My son lives in Mt. Baker,Wa. Anyway I am confused about putting the clips on the back of the head wrap with the bow. It looks great on you and I’m to make this for my granddaughter here in Mi. I was confused also about the M1 in that pattern.
    Thank you

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