What is kfb in Knitting? Learn How to Knit the Front and Back Increase

What is the Kfb in knitting?  By Janice   |Updated 01-30-2024

Most knitting abbreviations such as the kfb must seem alien to the beginning knitter, but they don't need to sound like a foreign language for long.  In fact, the kfb, or knit front and back is actually a very easy knit increase to master.

What is KFB in knitting?

an example of knit front and back in the last row of ribbing before moving on to the stockinette stitch

The kfb in knitting is a type of knitting increase where you need to add additional stitches in a row or round.  Kfb stands for knit front and back and it is created just like the abbreviation suggests.  I have also seen it abbreviated as “K1fb” (knit 1 front and back) or “K1f&b” (knit 1, front and back).

The KFB stitch creates a subtle bump in the fabric. Since this stitch creates a little bump or bar, it is also called a bar increase.

This stitch is commonly used in patterns that require gradual shaping, such as raglan sleeves or simple lace designs. It is also a popular choice in sweaters when there is a section of ribbing at the bottom edge. 

The pattern directions often read, “increase evenly across row in the last row of ribbing.” The increases are noticeable but less so when hidden in the last row of ribbing.

"Every stitch we learn adds a new layer to our knitting abilities, and the KFB is no exception. This increase method is a fundamental technique that has shaped countless patterns."

Understanding Knitting Increases

But before we delve into the intricacies of the KFB stitch, let's take a moment to understand the concept of increases in knitting. Increases are used to add stitches to your knitting, creating a wider or more rounded shape.

They can be necessary when knitting garments with shaping, such as sweaters or hats, or when working on intricate patterns requiring extra stitches.

There are several ways to increase stitches in knitting, including yarn overs, make one (M1), and the KFB stitch. Each method has unique characteristics and purposes, but today, we'll focus on the KFB stitch.

How to Make the KFB Stitch Step-by-Step

Now that we have a basic understanding of the KFB stitch let's dive into the step-by-step process of making it. Follow these instructions, and you'll increase stitches like a pro in no time!

Demonstration of how to knit through the front loop of a stitch.This photo shows how to insert the right needle into the front loop. The typical way of beginning to make a knit stitch.
Demonstration on how to knit through the back loop of a stitch.This photo shows how to knit through the back loop of a stitch.
Demonstration of how to knit through the front and back of a stitchThe Kfb or Knit through the front loop and then through the back loop of the stitch.
  1. Begin with your working yarn at the back of your work.
  2. Insert the right needle into the front loop of the next stitch, as if to knit.
  3. Wrap the yarn around the right needle from back to front like a regular knit stitch.
  4. Keep the original stitch on the left needle instead of sliding it off as you normally wood.
  5. Insert the right needle into the back loop of the same stitch, again as if to knit.
  6. Wrap the yarn around the right needle from back to front, as you would for a regular knit stitch.
  7. Finally, slide the original stitch off the left needle, leaving you with two new stitches on the right needle.

Congratulations! You've completed the KFB stitch. Repeat these steps for each stitch you want to increase.

What is KFB in Knitting, Demonstration

What is the Difference Between the KFB and the PFB

The kfb (knit front and back) is always done on the knit side of the fabric.  If you need to make increases on the purl side or wrong side of the fabric, it is called pfb (purl front back.)

To make a Purl Front Back (Pfb),  work to the place where you need to make an increase.

  • Make one purl stitch as normally, but do not remove the stitch from the left needle.
  • Insert the right needle into the same stitch from the back of the stitch.  Make another purl stitch and then remove from the needle.  

Benefits of using the KFB stitch (or Bar Increase)

The KFB stitch offers several benefits, making it a popular choice among knitters. Firstly, while not entirely invisible, it does blend with the surrounding stitches. This works especially well when making increases within ribbing.

The KFB stitch is also relatively easy to execute, making it suitable for knitters of all skill levels. Whether a beginner or an experienced knitter, you’ll find the KFB stitch a breeze to incorporate into your projects.

Furthermore, the KFB stitch creates a sturdy increase that is less likely to stretch out or distort over time. This makes it an excellent choice for garments that need to maintain shape, such as sweaters or socks. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder the KFB stitch is a favorite among knitters!

Are there Disadvantages to Using the KFB Stitch (or Bar Increase)?

  1. The bump is visible.
  2. A hole can be created.
  3. If more than one increase must be made, the pattern may ask you to increase evenly across row.  This requires some math.

Different Ways to Use the KFB Stitch in Knitting Projects

The beauty of the KFB stitch lies in its versatility. It can be used in various ways to achieve different effects in your knitting projects. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  1. Raglan sleeves: The KFB stitch can create the gradual shaping required for raglan sleeves. By increasing stitches at specific points, you can achieve a seamless transition from the body of the sweater to the sleeves.
  2. Lace patterns: If you're working on a lace project and need to add stitches to create those delicate eyelet holes, the KFB stitch is perfect. Its subtle increase won't disrupt the intricate lace pattern.
  3. Shaping garments: Whether knitting a sweater, a hat, or a pair of mittens, the KFB stitch can help you shape your project to perfection. Use it to add stitches in specific areas to create curves or angles, ensuring a flattering fit.
  4. Increasing stitch count: Sometimes, you must increase your stitch count for a particular project section. The KFB stitch allows you to do this, such as at the end of a rib section.

Experiment with the KFB stitch in your knitting projects and discover its endless possibilities!

Comparison Between KFB and Other Knit Increase Stitches

There are more than one way to increase in knitting.  How do they differ?

Technique:  Kfb (Knit front and back)

About:  A method where a stitch is made both in the front and back of a same stitch, creating a subtle bump

Observations: Less visible when worked into ribbing, Creates a sturdy increase

Difficulty Level: Easy

Suitable for: Raglan Sleeves, Lace Patterns, Garments

Technique:  M1 (Make One)

About: Involves picking up the horizontal loop between stitches and knitting into it

Observations: Almost invisible when done correctly

Difficulty Level: Medium

Suitable for: Projects that require a subtle, nearly invisible increase

YO (Yarn Over)

About:  Yarn is wrapped around the needle without knitting or purling into a stitch

Observations: Creates an eyelet hole

Difficulty Level:  Easy to Medium

Suitable for:  Mostly for lace patterns

Technique:  Lifted Increase

About:  Made by lifting the horizontal strand between stitches onto the left needle and knitting into it

Observations:  Creates a tidy and almost invisible increase

Difficulty Level:  Medium

Suitable for:  Projects where a subtle increase is needed

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the KFB Stitch

While the KFB stitch is relatively straightforward, knitters can make a few common mistakes. Being aware of these pitfalls ensures your KFB stitch increases turn out beautifully every time. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

  1. Twisted stitches: When making the KFB stitch, inserting the needle into the correct part of the stitch is essential. Ensure you're knitting into the front and back loops, not the twisted part of the stitch. This will prevent your stitches from becoming twisted and creating a messy appearance.
  2. Uneven tension: As with any knitting technique, maintaining even tension is crucial when making the KFB stitch. Uneven tension can result in too tight or loose stitches, affecting your project's overall look and fit. Take your time and ensure consistent tension throughout.
  3. Skipping the second part of the stitch: It's easy to get carried away and forget to knit into the back loop of the stitch when making the KFB stitch. Remember to complete both parts of the stitch to create the desired increase. Skipping the second part will result in a missed increase and throw off the stitch count.

Alternative Methods for Increasing Knitting

While the KFB stitch is an excellent method for increasing stitches, it's not the only technique available. Depending on your project and preferences, you may find alternative methods more suitable for your needs. Here are a few popular methods for increasing in knitting:

1. Yarn overs: Yarn overs create an eyelet hole and are commonly used in lace patterns. They involve wrapping the yarn around the needle without knitting or purling into a stitch. Yarnovers are a versatile way to increase stitches and can be used decoratively or functionally.

2. Make one (M1): The make one (M1) increase is another common method in knitting. It involves picking up the horizontal loop between stitches and knitting into it, effectively creating a new stitch. Make one increases are nearly invisible when done correctly and are often used in patterns that require a subtle increase.

3. Lifted increases are made by lifting the horizontal strand between stitches onto the left needle and knitting into it. This method creates a tidy and almost invisible increase. Depending on the desired effect, lifted increases can be worked either on the same row or the next row.

These are just a few alternative methods for increasing stitches in knitting. Experiment with different techniques and find the ones that suit your knitting style and project requirements.

Conclusion:  What is KFB in Knitting

Congratulations, my fellow knitters! You've now conquered the KFB stitch and demystified its secrets.

We've covered what the KFB stitch is, how to make it step by step, the benefits of using it, different ways to incorporate it into your knitting projects, common mistakes to avoid, alternative methods for increasing in knitting, tips for using the KFB stitch in your patterns, and fantastic resources to help you master this stitch.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so grab your needles and start experimenting. The KFB stitch opens up a world of possibilities for creating beautiful and intricate knitting projects. So go forth, my friends, and may your knitting adventures be filled with joy and creativity!

What is KFB in Knitting:  Author Bio

Hi, I'm Janice, the person behind this website.  I learned to knit and crochet at a very young age but didn’t get serious until obtaining this site in 2021.

Since then, I haven’t stopped creating and learning and now I’m a certified knitting and crocheting instructor through the Yarn Craft Council.

I’m retired and live with my husband and eight Shih Tzu dogs. My three adult children help in various roles. You might see Beth modeling some of my creations. Aaron is my technical advisor and Nick tackles accounting.

What is KFB in knitting:  Pin for Future Reference

Knit front, back tutorial (Kfb) image created into a pin imageWhat is Kfb in Knitting?

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About Janice

Hi, I’m Janice, the voice behind Smart-Knit-Crocheting. I love to knit and crochet and even more, I love teaching others what I know.

Though I learned to knit and crochet as a child, I didn’t get serious about these amazing hobbies until I retired. I’m a certified knit and crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and am working on becoming a Master Hand Knitter through The Knitting Guild Association.

I’m currently living with my husband of over 50 years and our 7 Shih Tzu dogs.

I love hearing from you, so please drop me a line and let me know what you’re working on, whether you love knitting or crocheting more, and if you have any questions. Please visit my about me page for more information.

Happy Crocheting