How to Make a Yarn Over in Knitting: Knitwise and Purlwise

Yarnover in Knitting by Janice Jones |Published 07-28, 2023

The yarn over in knitting is a very easy beginner-friendly technique that creates an added stitch, so it is one of the many knitting increase techniques.

The result is a little hole or space in the fabric that can add interest and texture or create an airy quality, as you might find in lace. This technique is used when making lacy scarves, cowls, shawls, and other projects.

Yarn overs can be made either knitwise or purlwise, and both techniques are similar, but there is a little difference.

Example knit swatch of yarnoversYarnovers create little holes sometimes called eyelets.

How to Make a Knit Stitch

How to Make a Purl Stitch

How to Make a Yarnover in Knitting:

Knitwise is a term used to describe where the knitting needle is inserted into the next stitch. When you see the term knitwise, it means that you will insert your needle as if you were going to make a knit stitch.

It is worked on the knit side of the fabric.

Purlwise means you will insert your needle as if you will make a purl stitch. Yarn overs Purlwise are worked on the fabric's wrong side or purl side.

To Make a Yarn Over Knitwise:

  1. Work across the row until you reach where you want to make a yarn over.

  2. With the yarn in the back, wrap the working yarn from behind to the front and over the right-hand needle.

  3. Knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle.

  4. Repeat these instructions for each yarn over required by your pattern.
Yarn is placed over the right needle in a step  to make a yarnover

To Make a Yarn Over Purlwise:

  1. On a row of purl stitches work to the place where you want to make a yarn over purlwise.

  2. With the yarn in front of the needles, wrap the working yarn from the front, over the right needle, around the back, and back to the front.

  3. Work the next purl stitch as usual.

  4. Repeat these steps for each yarn your pattern requires.


  • Be sure you are wrapping the yarn in the correct direction. (From the back to the front and over the needle. Wrapping the yarn in the wrong direction: Make sure to wrap the yarn from the back to the front and over the needle.
  • Watch your tension. Yarn overs should not be too tight or too loose. If they are too tight, the hole you are trying to make will be too small, and the stitch on the next row will be difficult to work.
  • If they are too loose, the hole will be too big.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a stitch marker to keep track of their placements.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make a Yarnover in Knitting

yarnover stitch on the needle

I found this video created by a master knitter explaining how to make yarn overs all the same size.

Q: How do you fix a yarnover mistake?

If you make a mistake with a yarn over, unravel the stitch and redo it. Pay close attention to the direction of the wrap and ensure the loop is not too tight or loose. If you are making lace and have a lot of yarnovers, consider adding a lifeline periodically for bigger mistakes.

Q: How do you make two yarnovers in two knit stitches?

Make the first yarn over as you would normally. Bring the working yarn forward between both needles for the second yarn over. Then, wrap the yarn over the right needle, around to the back, and forward again. On the next row, each yarn over will be a separate stitch.

Q: How do you recognize a yarn over?

The yarnover stitch sits on the needle slightly at a diagonal rather than sitting straight on the needles. The yarn over will create a hole in the fabric which you can see by the next row.

Q: Are yarnovers combined with other techniques

Yes. The yarnover technique can be combined with various knitting stitches. Since the yarn over adds a stitch to the row, it’s often paired with a decrease, such as a K2tog (knit two together as one stitch). This keeps the stitch count the same on the row.

Q: Is the yarn over in knitting considered to be beginner friendly?

Yes. Consider a yarn over as just one more technique for moving stitches from one needle to the other needle. Start with simple patterns such as eyelet and easy lace patterns and work from there.


The yarnover knitting technique is a versatile and captivating addition to your knitting repertoire.

Mastering this skill allows you to knit intricate lace patterns and add visual interest to your projects. But the good news is that yarnovers are easy to make.

Remember to start with simple patterns and practice regularly to build confidence. 

Happy knitting!

Yarnover in Knitting:  Pin for Future Reference

Yarnovers in knitting pin image

If You Found Yarnovers in Knitting, You might like these, too

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