Manipulating Increase Lines

Single increase on each
side of a center point
Single increases
centered over
several rows
Increases stack over each other to create a visual seam line.  When increasing only one stitch, you can increase in the first stitch of the increase in the previous row (see picture on left) - so from one row to the next the increases balance out to create a line over several rows.  The reason that top-down sweaters tend to be raglans is that the increases are centered over each other, like corners on a motif.  Often there is a point (see picture to right), and the stitcher increases one stitch on each side of that point stitch, with the increased stitches get added to its own side.  The effect at that whole increase point is to add 2 stitches.

Another option is to make a double increase in the point stitch.  That visual line can be manipulated:  Increases don't have to be centered over each other.
Double increase
centered over each other
Increase to the sleeve for 3 rows,
then to the front for 4 rows - we
don't know which way the increase
at the top of the picture goes.

To manipulate the visual line, the increases still have to line up over each other, somehow -- just not centered.  In the next increase row, choose whether to increase in the first stitch, or in the last stitch, of the previous increase point.  That way, the increases from the previous increase get allocated to one side or the other.  Notice that where the current increase being made is going (like the top double increase in the picture to the left) hasn't been decided yet -- that gets decided in the next row.

What is tricky about this is how to write it in a pattern.  In the case of adding one stitch on either side of a marker, if you look at the fabric, you are adding 1 stitch  in the 2nd stitch of the previous increase, then in the 1st stitch of the next previous increase - which sounds really complicated.  It sounds easier to say simply "increase 1 on each side of the marker." The orientation of the instructions is to focus on the relationship between the increase and the marker -- not on placing the current increase in a certain relationship to the previous increase in the line, which involves looking at the fabric structure.  It is easier to write the instructions that way.  On the down side, it creates a dependency on instructions and plays down the relevance in knowing what is happening in the fabric.

If the relationship in the project is between the stitcher and the yarn, with the pattern on the side, it is easier to look at the stitches, see what structure is going on, and simply say, "Increase to the front (or to the sleeve, or to the back)."  If more knitters and crocheters engage with the fabric, maybe that kind of pattern-writing will evolve.  It could happen.