Friday, February 27, 2015

Striped Rib Stitch - A Closer Look

The rib stitch is one of my most favorite knitting stitches.  It is versatile and one can go about it in several ways.  Whether you choose the knit one-purl one rib, the knit two-purl two rib, a combination of both or even mixed up with some twisted knit stitches, it will more than likely look no less than stunning.

Striped Rib Stitch

Colors in knitting pieces can add depth and personality to the finished item. Knitting in stripes, I think, is a simple way to integrate colors into your knitting. Doing stripes with the rib stitch, however,  gets a little more interesting.  Let's take a closer look.

With the rib stitch, regardless of how many knit and purl stitches, the rib effect is achieved by following the pattern (if the right side has k1, p1 and so on, the wrong side should follow p1, k1 and so on). However, if you are changing colors for your stripes, the first row should be a knit row. This will make the stripes look cleaner.

Here are comparative photos of a knit one-purl one rib and a knit two-purl two rib: with and without the stretch. The right sides shows the cleaner stripes, done with a knit row whenever switching colors.

This is how it looks like with the knit one purl one, without the stretch
Knit two purl two, without the stretch
You can see that once the piece is stretched, the lines on the right side are much cleaner than the left. This is achieved by doing an all knit row as the first row when switching colors.

Knit two purl two with a stretch, the clashing colors are more visible here.

Here are the backs of the same swatches above.
Interestingly, the cleaner stripes on the front of the knitted piece turned out to produce lines on the back.
The right side shows the lines formed from the all knit row when switching colors.

The back of a knit one purl one with a stretch

Figure 2B: The back of a knit two purl two with a stretch
As a conclusion, if both sides of the piece will show (a perfect example would be a scarf), my personal choice would be to follow the pattern for both right and wrong sides. It will not have clean stripes but since the elasticity of the ribbing stitch allows to hide the clashing lines, I would prefer that rather than the visible lines on the back (as shown on the right side of Figure 2B).

For something such as a hat, I think the better choice would be the cleaner stripes. Hats when worn will be stretched so the clear lines would look nicer. The wrong side of the work will show the visible lines from the knit row but it would not matter because it will not be seen.

I hope you find this tip useful. Happy knitting!