YO: The gateway stitch
I'm sitting here, this steamy Tuesday [typical September weather in Florida], preparing for the coming season, thinking about yos [yarn overs]-a gateway stitch that can help take your knitting to the next level. This is a very basic stitch, that is just a wrap of the working yarn between stitches created by carrying the yarn over [see how it got its name?] the needle, resulting in a small hole. This simple hole is the start of lace work and can be used as an increase to start shaping garments.
While this is a very simple stitch, it is not always worked the same way. For instance, if you're working a yo between two knit stitches it will be worked differently than if you worked it between to purl stitches. Take a look:
k, yo, k: k 1 st, bring your yarn in front of your needle, k the next st with the yarn in this position.
k, yo, p: k 1st st, bring yarn in front of your needle, then behind and in front of your needle again, p the next st.
p, yo, k: p 1st st, without moving yarn to the back, k the next st.
p , yo, p: p the first stitch, carry the yarn over the needle, bringing it behind and back to the front of the needle, p the next st.
Notice that in all of these scenarios we're left with a wrap between two stitches. This wrap is our yarn over. These four scenarios can be applied to any other situation such as (k2tog, yo, k), (p, yo, p2tog), etc.