Yarn overs are a basic construct of a knitted or crocheted object. But do you understand them enough to see how they can affect your work? They make a big difference in things like Z-twist and S-twist, the leading edge of your loops, and other important characteristics of the way you work that can change the drape and structure of the finished product. So, before we get into all that complicated stuff, let’s just take a look at the common ways of making a yarn over (YO).
This is the way I currently knit – Continental. The first image is that of knitting, the latter of purling. The yarn is wrapped counterclockwise (from the perspective of the top of the needle) around the right needle with the trailing yarn in your left hand. (Bonus tip: This adds S-twist to the yarn.)
English knitting accomplishes the same counterclockwise wrap, but in a different way. Interestingly enough, this more often adds Z-twist to the yarn.
This is combined knitting. This is not how most people knit, as the clockwise wrapping of the YO is not the norm in most knitting and can cause some problems. I started out this way, and I think it’s because I started crochet first. Combined knitting often adds Z-twist to yarn.
Ah, crochet, my pride and joy! And what got me into this nonsense! (I started taking careful note of yarn overs after observing this post about tapestry crochet.) Crochet and Tunisian crochet normally use the clockwise wrapping and add Z-twist to the yarn.
We’ll be revisiting these concepts later as we start talking about structure. Z-twist and S-twist can be quite interesting things.