When I first began my adventure in knitting I was an knit socks almost exclusively. I noticed that different patterns used different type ribbings for their cuffs. I thought it was merely a function of aesthetics and each designer had their own preferences. It wasn’t until I substituted their choice of ribbing with my own preference that I learned there were reasons why they had chosen those various ribbings. In sock construction, the choice of ribbing often determines whether or not you can pull that sock over your heel. In a sweater the ribbing choice is even more significant because it determines whether the sweater hangs loose giving your figure no shape or whether it fits snug revealing you as the shapely woman you are.
The Sweater Sampler is worked using the three most common ribbings. It was an insightful exercise for me because it taught which ribbings were elastic and which had less elasticity.
Knit 1, Purl 1
The knit 1, purl 1 ribbing is not a favorite of mine. I find it tedious to knit and despite all effort on my part, the knit stitches look kind of catawampus or cockeyed — sloppy. I was greatly relieved to hear Jacqueline Fee confirm what I was experiencing. She said that this is the least elastic of the ribbings and works best with fine yarn. I guess that is why I see it used in sock patterns. It is not a good choice for medium or heavy weight yarns.
The Twisted Rib – knit 1b, purl1
The Twisted Rib is one I have seen Cookie A., one of my favorite designers, use on some of her sock patterns. It is an attractive rib but is not very elastic. The method used in The Sweater Workshop differs from any other Twisted Rib explanation that I’ve seen. A round of plain K1, P1 is alternated with the twisted rib round.
As suggested in the book, I put a second marker on the needle at the seam line whenever I start the twisted rib round to keep tract of the alternating rounds. I removed it when I started the plain round. What a nifty way to keep track of alternating rows! I think it would also be a useful method to employ when doing arm decreases. I’ll ponder that idea for a bit and try it out when I knit my Sirdal sleeves in a couple weeks.
Knit 2, Purl 2
Knit 2, Purl 2 is a good, snug, all-purpose rib that you can use with any weight yarn. Something I learned from reading Sweater Workshop is that the more of it you do, the more elasticity it will have. Lengthwise, the longer you rib it – the more elastic. Widthwise, ‘the higher the number of equal alternating knits and purls, the greater the amount of pull-in to the fabric.’ So…..K3, P3 is more elastic than K2, P2. Did you know that? I never connected those dots. I’m telling you, Sweater Workshop is very insightful!
Next up…….adding a bit of color.