How To Knit Rib Stitch Patterns (1×1 and 2×2 ribbing)

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

The 1 x 1 rib stitch and the 2 x 2 rib stitch are knit stitches that are used for creating a reversible fabric in many knitting patterns.

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

How to knit rib stitch

Basic Rib Stitch Patterns

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

You can use these stitch patterns with any yarn.

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

There are more ribbing stitches that you can try, including the broken rib stitch knitting pattern, double rib stitch, and fisherman’s rib. – Easy Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern (Broken Rib Stitch)

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knitting the 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, cuffs, etc).

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

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

It can also create a very thick fabric for a blanket or throw.

Related Post: How To Knit A Hat For Complete Beginners (+ Video Tutorial)

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
You can see a column of knit stitches that stands out from the purl stitches in the ribbed knitting.

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 used 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 purpose.

Whatever ribbing pattern you decide on, you will need to make sure you cast on the right number of stitches, they often need multiples 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:

Abbreviations

  • K – Knit
  • P – Purl

What is a good cast-on for ribbing?

The tubular cast-on is a great choice for ribbing as it is can look like a neat finished edge.

It’s a stretchy cast-on that is perfect for projects like socks, hats, and cuffs.

How do you knit a 1 x 1 rib stitch?

For symmetry, work on multiples of 2 stitches.

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

This pattern is the same worked flat with two straight needles or in the round on circular needles.

The right side and the wrong side will look the same.

You will repeat row 1 for every row working K1, and P1 to the end of the row.

1st row (right side of work): *K1, P1*; repeat from * to *.

2nd and following rows: *K1, P1*; repeat from * to *.

This hat pattern uses 1×1 ribbing – Roger’s Ribbed Beanie From Outlander {Easy Knit}

1 x 1 rib stitch

How do you knit a 2 x 2 rib stitch?

For symmetry, work on multiples of 4 stitches.

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

This pattern is the same worked flat with two straight needles or in the round on circular needles.

The right side and the wrong side will look the same.

1st row (right side of work): *K2, P2*; repeat from * to *.

2nd and following rows: *K2, P2*; repeat from * to *.

This hat pattern uses a 2×2 ribbing – Ribbed Beanie Knitting Pattern {Unisex Mariner’s Hat}.

2 x 2 rib stitch

Video Tutorial

You can see a step-by-step tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

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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.

There are also variations of ribbing like the twisted rib stitch and half-twisted rib.

This is used for edges and the columns of knit stitches have a twist in them.

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

ribbed mariner's hat

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