When I started knitting sweaters, my Mother insisted on knitting a ribbed cuff – and I had to use a smaller needle for the rib to make it nice and tidy. It was the 80’s and even then I rebelled against the “you have to knit like that”. When I proposed to just start knitting to have the Stockinette Stitch roll a bit (a cool, edgy look, I thought then) my Mother was appalled and said “you cannot do that”. Hah. Tell me what I cannot do and I’ll do it just to prove you otherwise. (Especially when being a teenager. You know what I am talking about. Don’t you?)
Anyways. Look at knitting patterns now and you’ll find plenty edges, ribs, rolls and whatnots. And I do think that is exactly how it is supposed to be – a ribbed cuff is just not enough!
However, there is a place for ribbed cuffs and there are different ways to knit them. I get asked often which rib is ‘better’ – the 1×1 or the 2×2? Then I have to say – as so often – there is no ‘better’ there is only preference. Whichever you like best when it comes to the knitting and the look after, that is the one you pick. A garter edge is very common also, as is the rolled edge. There are advantages to each, then again you want to consider a few things before deciding which one to use. Today I have a few for you to review – to pick and choose for your next project.
1×1 rib, can be knit loose or tight depending on what you want. Choose a smaller size needle to get an even and neat look.
2×2 rib – not better than 1×1, I just prefer the look when knitting socks.
any other ‘uneven’ rib like 1×3, 2×5 etc.
This is 3×1 rib, any combination is possible. The higher the knit portion, the flatter the rib.
Quite common, easy to do. Do not forget to use a smaller needle for garter edges, since garter is a bit wider than Stockinette Stitch on the same size needle.
1×1 through the back loop
Working this you have to get used to, the purls are also worked in the back loop. Embossed, crisp look, though less stretchy.
Very decorative, not that common but a good choice if you want something a bit different.
There are more options, Seed Stitch is one to consider. As is Moss Stitch or Double Moss. If you have a stitch dictionary you know that there is a whole section about rib stitches, there is garter rib, diagonal rib, and even chevron ribs. It all depends on the look you are going for.
Maybe this inspires you to try something else for your next project, otherwise it is good to know that there is more than ‘just plain rib’. (Whatever that means.)
Happy knitting, as ever!