How To Knit Rib Stitch {1×1 and 2×2 ribbing}


In this post, you will learn how to knit rib stitch.

The 1 x 1 rib stitch and the 2 x 2 rib stitch are knit stitches that are used for shaping in many knitting patterns.

It has a large amount of stretch which is great for fitted clothes, hats, and scarves.

knitting the rib stitch

Basic Rib Stitch Patterns

Basic rib stitches are great to learn and are the ones you will probably use over and over again.

You can use this stitch with any yarn.

To learn more about the knitting basics, visit this post – Knitting Lessons

How to knit rib stitch

What can the rib stitch be used for?

Knowing how to knit ribbing stitch patterns will help you when you start making all those cozy hats, mittens, scarves, socks, and sweaters (necklines).

Ribbing is one of the best ways to make a stretchy piece of fabric and it is also reversible.

This is used in many of my patterns, to give lots of volume.

mens mariner hat pattern

What Is Ribbing?

Ribbing is the term used for any columns created in knitting, that are made up of both knit and purl stitches.

Single rib (1 x 1 ribbing) of knit one, purl one is used in many patterns, as well as 2 x 2 rib which is knit two stitches, purl two stitches.

There are also other options available like mock cable rib, slip stitch ribbing, and embossed moss stitch rib.

knitting example of ribbing

How useful is ribbing?

Ribbing is chosen due to the usefulness it can have to a pattern.

For example, if you knit a sweater, ribbing is often knit for the cuffs and any other part that needs to have some stretch.

When you choose a ribbing pattern for your project, think of how useful it will be for the project.

Whatever ribbing pattern you decide on, you will need to make sure you cast on the right number of stitches, for instance:

  • Single rib (1 x 1 ribbing) – K1, P1 – needs a multiple of 2 stitches.
  • Double rib (2 x 2 ribbing) – K2, P2 – needs a multiple of 4 stitches.
  • Triple rib (3 x 3 ribbing) – K3, P3 – needs a multiple of 6 stitches.
ribbed stitch patterns illustration

Learn How To Create Ribbing

Take a look at the two most commonly used rib stitch patterns below:

How to knit 1 x 1 rib

For symmetry, work on a multiple of 2 + 1 sts, + 1 edge st on each side.

This can be worked on any number of stitches, even or uneven.

1st row (right side of work): K1 (edge), *K1, P1*; repeat from * to * to last 2 sts, K1, then K1 (edge).

2nd and following rows: Work each stitch in the manner it presents.

This hat pattern uses 1×1 ribbing – Roger’s Ribbed Beanie.

1 x 1 rib stitch

How to knit 2 x 2 rib

For symmetry, work on a multiple of 4 + 2 sts, + 1 edge st on each side.

This means you need to work on an even number of stitches.

1st row (right side of work): K1 (edge), *K2, P2*; repeat from * to * to last 3 sts, K2, then K1 (edge).

2nd and following rows: Work each stitch in the manner it presents.

This hat pattern uses 2×2 ribbing – Ribbed Beanie Knitting Pattern.

2 x 2 rib stitch

Video Tutorial

You can see a video tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

Using smaller needles to create ribbing

In most sweater patterns you will be asked to knit the ribbing in the pattern on needles that are a couple of sizes smaller than those that are used for the rest of the garment. 

This makes the ribbing have more stretch, and also helps it to keep a firmer shape.

This is important for the future wear of the garment, you don’t want the ribbed sections to sag out and lose shape over time.

woman wearing a ribbed sweater

What Patterns Use Ribbing?

There are a number of patterns that use ribbing, from sweaters and cardigans to accessories like scarves and hats.

Take a look at the patterns below and practice your rib stitches:

ribbed hat with pom pom

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