I received a message via Ravelry from someone who got frustrated reading lace charts. The problem was that the pattern was calling for a yarn over (YO) at the end of a row, and they wanted to know how the heck to accomplish that. (I absolutely understand how that is a frustrating instruction to follow.) In trying to describe it to her, I realised that using visuals would get the ideas across better, so I figured, heck, why not just do a blog post about it, I'm sure there are other people out there who want to know what to do. Well, maybe my way of doing it isn't the 'right' way, but it sure seems to work for me. So here goes...
I'm going to assume that the YO at the end of the row is done on a row where it's knitted stitches (as opposed to purls). So, I get to the end of the row, there are no more stitches on the left hand needle, the yarn is at the back of the work (because I've been doing knit stitches), and now I have to do a YO.
I think the easiest way to do this is to turn the work so that the right hand needle becomes the left hand needle, and then do the YO, and then start the instructions for the next row. So, looking at your left hand needle, the yarn is at the front of the work (because in the last row you were doing knit stitches). Wrap the yarn around the left hand needle once, counter-clockwise (or anti-clockwise, whichever term you prefer). You've now made the YO that was supposed to go at the end of the previous row. It looks like this:
Now, the instructions for what to do next assume that you're supposed to knit the first two stitches of the next row. If your instructions ask you to do something else, then it gets a bit more confusing, but hopefully you'll be able to figure it out once you understand these instructions.
You now need to knit into the YO you've just made. This is tricky, because the YO isn't anchored by anything. So, making sure that you don't lose the YO loop, insert your right hand needle into it just like you're knitting a regular stitch. Like this:
Wrap the yarn around:
Pull the yarn through the loop:
And off the needle:
What you really have now, of course, is not a real knitted stitch, but another unanchored loop around your right hand needle. So you need to knit the next stitch right away in order not to lose that loop. Insert the right hand needle into the next stitch:
Move the yarn to the back of the work (by moving it under the right hand needle) and wrap the yarn:
And pull it through and off the left hand needle! You now have the first two stitches of the row complete:
You can now continue with whatever instructions you have for the rest of the row.
Hopefully, that makes sense! Feel free to message me on Ravelry (I'm 'wipinsanity') or put something in the comments if you have any questions or complaints.