Monday, July 14, 2014

Using Twisted Rib to Tighten Up Your 1x1 Rib.

I don't know if you are like me, but I typically don't like how my 1x1 rib looks, especially in sock cuffs. I've been playing around with some techniques to improve the look of my sock cuffs when the pattern calls for 1x1 rib. I'm using Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn using US 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) needles for these tests.

All swatches were knit as follows: Cast on 56 stitches using German twisted cast on. Join in the round. Knit 16 rows in pattern. Bind off using Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

First, lets look at my typical 1x1 (K1, P1) rib cuff. You can see how the knit stitch has expanded in width. This makes for a sloppy looking rib
My typical solution is to knit a simple twisted rib (K1tbl, P1). In my sock cuffs, I don't typically worry about twisting the purl side. This creates a much cleaner and crisp rib, but it is twisted and this may not work with some sock designs.
So, I thought I would experiment a bit. In this example, instead of twisting the knit stitch, I twisted the purl stitch (K1, P1tbl). I have to say, this one was a bit annoying to knit, but it creates a wonderfully clean rib.

Using twisted stitches to clean up my 1x1 rib doesn't solve the underlying problem, but rather, only disguises it. The underlying issue is having a purl stitch with a different gauge than my knit stitch. I believe the purl is larger (uses more yarn) than my knit stitch. I need to work on reducing the size of my purl stitch. I'll do some more swatches working on tightening my purls to see what works and what doesn't. Hopefully I'll have something to report on later.

Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits..


  1. great examples! have you found a solution to making your purls smaller? i have the same troubles with my ribbing looking sloppy. i have tried 'eastern purling' with some success. ysolda writes about it here :)

    1. I can't say I've found a perfect solution. The two things that help a little are, knitting your purls with your needles at right angles and pulling the stitch after the purl tight. Neither solves the problem. If by eastern purl you mean combination knitting, I can see how that will work. If you look at your stitch as your are purling and compare the amount of yarn used with a knit stitch, you see that you are using more yarn. A combination purl is made in a manner very similar to the knit and the amount of yarn used is similar. I'm just not very good with my continental tension, so until that improves, i don't continental knit very often. I will continue to explore different ideas.

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