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How to Knit the Rib Stitch

The rib stitch, or ribbing, is often used on the edges of pieces where you need a snug fit, because it's stretchy and doesn't curl. Best of all, since you've already learned the knit stitch and purl stitch, you're practically already done.


  • Step 1: Position work Hold the needle with all your cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. Position your work so the cast-on stitches are at the bottom of the needle, and the yarn trails away to your right.
  • Step 2: Knit 2 stitches Knit two stitches.
  • Step 3: Wrap yarn Wrap the yarn around so it passes in front of the needle with the new stitches.
  • Step 4: Purl 2 stitches Now purl two stitches.
  • TIP: You can also rib stitch by alternating between one knit and one purl stitch – as long as you've cast on a number of stitches divisible by two – or four knit and four purl stitches—as long as the number of cast-on stitches is divisible by eight.
  • Step 5: Wrap around back Now wrap the yarn around the back of the needle with the new stitches.
  • Step 6: Knit 2 stitches Knit two stitches again.
  • Step 7: Wrap & purl Wrap the yarn around the front of the needle again, and purl two more stitches.
  • Step 8: Alternate stitches Continue alternating this way, between knitting and purling, until you've completed the number of rib stitches required by your pattern. You should be ending with two purl stitches.
  • Step 9: Swap needles Swap the needles, so the one with the stitches is back in your left hand and the empty needle is in your right hand, and keep on ribbing. Knit two, purl two. Knit two, purl two. Knit two...
  • FACT: Some British fishermen in the sixteenth century wore sweaters with distinctive, individualized patterns—to help identify their bodies should they ever be washed overboard.

You Will Need

  • A ball of yarn
  • And a pair of knitting needles

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