How to Do Ribbing in Knitting

Learn how to do ribbing in this knitting tutorial from Howcast.

So I’m going to show you how to make ribbing, which is a fantastic stretchy edge to put at the hem of a sweater or a sleeve or the brim of a hat, or anywhere that you want fabric with a little bit of bounce. The first one I’m going to show you is 2 x 2 ribbing, which means knit two, purl two.

I’m going to slip my first stitch, as I always do to make a tidy edge, and there’s my two knit stitches. Now I’m going to move the yarn to the front and purl two, one-two. Then I’m going to move my yarn to the back, and knit two, one-two; and continue on, move the yarn, purl, move the yarn, knit.

This makes a fabric that is two knits wide and then purls wide, and then two knits wide, all the way across, and the only thing to remember is that when you get to the back, you have to knit them as you see them, so that you’re not switching the pattern. And I’ll show you what that looks like when we get to the end here.

I finished with two purls, which means on the back they look like two knits. They look like knits, so you have to knit them. In ribbing we always want to stack our knits on top of knits, and our purls on top of purls. So I say, knit them as you see them. You can also work 1 x 1 ribbing, which means knit one, purl one, but you have to move the yarn every single stitch, instead of every other.

I’m going to slip my first stitch, move the yarn to the front for purling, purl one, move the yarn, knit one, move the yarn. So it’s a little bit more work in that you have to move the yarn every stitch, but it makes this beautiful fabric that kind of looks the same on both sides.

Because it’s so elastic, it pulls in and hides the purls and makes a great stitch for a scarf, because it has no wrong side. This is a scarf knit in 1 x 1 rib, knit one, purl one, with two different color changing yarns. And here is a glove with 2 x 2 ribbing, so knit two, purl two, in a yarn that slowly fades color to color. And those are some examples of ribbing.