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How to Knit the Rib Stitch for Beginners?

Rib stitches in knitting are an easy combination of knit and purl stitches. The stitch pattern can be made with any knitting needles, for any pattern where you need a stretchy knitted fabric. Rib stitches are found everywhere, from sweaters, hats, socks, mittens to even scarves and edges of a blanket, etc. Essentially rib stitches are an easy way to create a stretchy portion of a project to give it a snug fit at the base of your sweater on the sleeves or around the neck.  But even worked on the edges of flat-knit projects it produces a neat finish without curling.

If you are working on a scarf or even a blanket, you can knit the rib stitch pattern with straight needles or any of the circular needles in the right length. And, if you are working on socks or sweaters, you can continue knitting with either double pointed needles (DPNs) or circular needles of the right length. Rib stitches work smoothly with other stitch patterns because of their fair balance of knit and purl stitches. Reversible and balanced, the rib stitch pattern works smoothly for all kinds of knitting patterns and projects.

How are Rib Stitches Knitted?

Rib stitches in knitting are an uncomplicated mixture of knit and purl stitches, which can be created with any kind of knitting needles for any pattern requiring a stretchy knitted fabric. The beauty of rib stitches is that they can be produced with any mix of knit and purl stitches. A 1X1 pattern or a 2X2 pattern works as beautifully as 1X3 or 3X2 combinations of knit and purls. The idea is to balance out the knit and purls and create a stable reversible fabric that is often used for snug fits.

Different Types of Knitted Rib Stitches

As we discussed 1 x 1 (single rib) and 2x2 (double rib) stitches give the fabric an aesthetically pleasing texture and elasticity. They’re often referred to as regular or even ribs due to the identical number of knit and purl stitches. As the ratio of knit to purl decreases, the fabric will become increasingly stretchy - a 1x1 rib being stretchier than a 4x4.

Knitting Rib Stitches:  Combining Knits and Purls

Making rib stitches is accomplished by alternating knit and purl stitches in diverse arrangements. Two of the most commonplace rib stitches are the 1x1 and 2x2. The 1 x 1 is established by repeating the sequence of one knit stitch followed by one purl stitch for the entire row. While a 1 x 1 can be completed on either an even or an odd number of stitches, a 2 x 2 is done on an even number. To give the fabric further variety, it’s possible to experiment with different combinations of knit and purl stitches and a range of stitch numbers.

In the beginning, new knitters may have difficulty discerning whether to knit or purl a stitch. This dilemma is quickly resolved, though, because purl stitches present bumps while knit stitches form V shapes. The purl bump dictates a purl stitch and a V necessitates a knit stitch.

Specialty rib stitches are knit and purl mixtures with a twist, not twisted stitches. These patterns can be utilized in any location needing ribbing. Some may be utilized as stand-alone stitches to make items such as hats, scarves and sweaters. Twisted rib stitches involve knitting through the back loop instead of the usual front loop, which leads to a pattern consisting of alternating knit and purl stitches.

Garter Rib Stitch

The Garter Rib stitch produces a ribbed fabric with added texture. This is done on a multiple of four plus two. On row one, knit the entire row, and on row two, purl two stitches followed by a knit two and purl two patterns. Repeat these two rows for the pattern.

Broken Rib Stitch

The Broken Rib stitch is a variant of the 1x1. On a multiple of two plus one, the row one pattern is knit across the entire row, while row two calls for alternating purl one, knit one and finishing with a purl one. As with the Garter Rib stitch, two rows must be repeated to maintain the pattern.

Beaded Rib Stitch

Finally, the Beaded Rib requires a multiple of five plus two. On row one, purl two, knit one, purl one, knit one and repeat to the last two stitches followed by a purl two. For row two, the pattern begins with a knit two, followed by a purl three and a knit two pattern. As before, repeat these two rows to create the Beaded Rib.

The process of creating rib stitches correctly is a feat easily achieved by a beginner knitter, however, for an experienced knitter, a uniform and flawless fabric is desired. So, here are a few tips to have neat rib stitches for all your knitting projects.

  • You can create very special knitting projects with basic stitch patterns. The reason the stitches are very elastic is, because of the fact the knit stitches pop out and the purl stitches lay back giving it a perfect stretch.
  • Knitting with a smaller-sized needle from the rest of the garment or project, the rib stitches are even more elastic.
  • Finally, knit rib stitches also tend to lie flat, as opposed to stockinette fabric which tends to curl.
  • Achieving the right tension in ribbing is more difficult than it may appear and must be addressed with each cast-on and bind-off, each row, and on the fabric edges. Tension is affected when switching between a knit stitch and a purl stitch, as seen in the 2x2 rib swatch with the different size knit stitches. Getting the tension right requires concentration and practice.

Rib stitch patterns or any other stitches or knitting techniques, for neat knitting it is essential to work with knitting needles that you enjoy working with. The Mindful Collection offers stainless steel knitting needles in options of double-pointed, fixed circulars as well as interchangeable circular needles. Each needle carries a special inspirational word on its tip that helps knitters focus on the meditative aspects of the craft. Besides needles, complementing the collection is a wide range of knitting accessories that assist with smooth crafting.

Fixed Circular Needles