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Knitting ribbed stitch is one of the basic building blocks of knitting! You master knitting the ribbed stitch and you can knit a large number of basic patterns, including the free beginner hat pattern below!
- Knitting Ribbed Stitch: A Quick How To
- The Two Most Common Types of Ribbed Stitch
- Why Do We Knit the Ribbed Stitch?
- Tips for Knitting Clean Ribbing
- Caring for Ribbed Stitch During Blocking
- The Dirty Little Secret for Knitting with Stripes in Ribbed Stitch
- Get the FREE PDF for this Beginner Knitting Pattern: Hat
- Needed Supplies & Details for the Free Beginner Knitting Pattern: Hat
- Get the Premium Pattern for just $2
- Desert Sage Hat: A Free Beginner Hat Pattern
- Congratulations! It’s Time to Celebrate!
Knitting Ribbed Stitch: A Quick How To
When you’re knitting ribbed stitch, that can mean a lot of different things. But at its most basic, it is columns of knit stitches next to columns of purl stitches.
The Two Most Common Types of Ribbed Stitch
- 1/1 ribbing (aka 1×1 ribbing) = 1 knit stitch & 1 purl stitch. Broken down this means knitting 1 knit stitch followed by 1 purl stitch all the way around or across. On the next row/round, you will knit 1 stitch and purl 1 stitch again, making sure the knits are knit on top of knits and the purls are purled on top of purls.
- 2/2 ribbing (aka 2×2 ribbing – the kind used for this beginner knitting pattern: hat) = 2 knit stitches & 2 purl stitches. Broken down this means knitting 2 knit stitches followed by 2 purl stitches all the way around or across. On the next row/round, you will knit 1 stitch and purl 1 stitch again, making sure the knits are knit on top of knits and the purls are purled on top of purls.
Other Types of Knit Ribbed Stitch
- 3/2 ribbing – knit 3 sts, purl 2 sts
- 3/3 ribbing – knit 3 sts, purl 3 sts
- 4/2 ribbing – knit 4 sts, purl 2 sts
- 4/3 ribbing – knit 4 sts, purl 3 sts
- The combinations are endless!
Why Do We Knit the Ribbed Stitch?
When you change from a knit to a purl stitch, the knitted fabric pulls in on itself. When you multiply this effect by knitting ribbed stitch all the way around an edge, like an accordian, pulling in tight on itself. But this also means it has a great capacity to expand!
This is why its so often used on cuffs and hems and why it’s perfect for a beginner hat knitting pattern!
Tips for Knitting Clean Ribbing
What do I mean by “clean” ribbing? I mean knitting uniform stitches—stitches that aren’t loose, uneven, wobbly, or oversized.
Why does this happen? Because you’re constantly changing between knits and purls. This can cause 1 of 2 problems:
- In maneuvering your yarn and needles to change position, you pull your needles too far apart. This pulls the stitches on the row below apart. When they come back together, the extra yarn that you created in the gap wiggles back into the stitches making them look uneven.
- When moving your yarn from front to back while knitting your current row, the yarn slackens. The slack eventually wiggles back into the stitches making them look uneven.
How do you combat these issues?
- Keep your needle tips close together when switching from knits to purls and back.
- After switching from a knit to a purl or a purl to a knit, give your yarn a good tug. (You don’t have to worry about the ribbing being too tight.
Because of these tendancies above, ribbed stitches always appear a little bit looser than stockinette stitches. This is why it’s recommended when knitting ribbed stitches to switch your stockinette gauge needle out for a needle 2-3 sizes smaller.
Caring for Ribbed Stitch During Blocking
NEVER let your ribbing stretch out when wet.
Remember how I said that ribbing was like an accordion? Well you have to take special care of it during wet blocking to keep this springy, accordion-like nature.
When you’re transferring it in and out of the water, be sure to keep the ribbed stitches bunched up in your hands—do not let it fall open.
And when you’re laying it flat to dry, pinch the ribbing in as tight as you can manage it. Once it dries in place, it will set the springiness.
If it stretches out during blocking you can lose the elasticity of your knitwear, leading to loose baggy cuffs or a hat that doesn’t fit.
Severe overstretching may not be fixable, but minor overstretching can be recovered by using the wet heat of a steamer. Apply a lot of steam to the overstretched area, pinching the ribbing together as you go. Let it dry completely and you should be good to go!
(P.S. The elasticity of your knits also has a lot to do with your yarn choice, which is why I went for a lovely–and springy-Rambouillet wool blend.)
The Dirty Little Secret for Knitting with Stripes in Ribbed Stitch
Have you ever seen the color change for a stripe on the wrong side (WS)/purl side of a knit? When not used especially for a design, it can look pretty messy.
This is because the purl bumps (they look like umbrellas) are pulled above the bottom of the new line of stitches (they look like smiley faces), so there are bumps of the old color above the bottom of the new color—not a clean color change.
When knitting with stripes in ribbing, you can have the same messy issue in the purl columns! Unless of course, you know the dirty little secret for knitting with stripes in ribbing.
It’s so simple you’re going to laugh.
Knit around for 1 whole round with the new color, before knitting ribbed stitch on the next round.
There will be no messy, ugly color bumps in the color change because there will be no purl bumps on the right side (aka RS—the side facing out when wearing).
On the next round, those purl bumps will come out and over that round of knitting so that you can barely see that there was a knit round at all.
Get the FREE PDF for this Beginner Knitting Pattern: Hat
When you sign up for my email list below, you will not only get the basic PDF of the Desert Sage Hat, you’ll get a free Premium pattern, a 20% off coupon on all knitting patterns, and access to all my other awesome freebies like the basic PDF patterns for Dino Jammies and Desert Sage Mitts as well as my video tutorial for the Ultimate Guide to Provisional Cast Ons.
Needed Supplies & Details for the Free Beginner Knitting Pattern: Hat
Unstretched Circumference: 15.5 (17.5)”/39 (44.5) cm
Length: 8.25 (9)”/20 (23) cm
(Note: The 17.4”/44.5 cm is available only in the premium pattern.)
MC – 115 (130) yds/290 (330) m
CC – 45 (50) yds/115 (130) m
Knit Picks High Desert Worsted Weight (100% USA Grown Shank Wool) 217 yds, 100g – 1 in Dusk (MC) and 1 in Lupine (CC)
Needles & Notions
US 8/5.00 mm – 16” circumference and Magic Loop or DPNs (preferred method for small circumference knitting) – or needles needed to obtain gauge!
Techniques to Indulge In
Twisted German CO (optional)
Knitting in the round
Get the Premium Pattern for just $2
Want expanded sizes, a beautifully designed pattern with photos, all the tips and tricking in one place? Get the premium knitting pattern for the Desert Sage Hat on Ravelry for just $2!
Or get all 3 Desert Sage Premium Patterns for just $5. This pattern power pack includes the Mitts, Hat, and Socks patterns, all for just $5. It’s a steal!
Desert Sage Hat: A Free Beginner Hat Pattern
BOR – beginning of round
CC – contrast color
CO – cast on
k – knit
k2tog – knit 2 sts together
m – marker
MC – main color
pm – place marker
p – purl
rep – repeat
rm – remove marker
ssk – one at a time, slip the next 2 sts knitwise; return the sts to the lefthand needles, and knit them together through the back loops
Body for the Beginner Knitting Pattern – Hat
Using MC and a German Twisted Cast On, CO 112 sts. Pm and join in the round.
Rounds 1-6: * K2, p2, rep from * around.
Round 7: Using CC, k around.
Rounds 8-12: * K2, p2, rep from * around. (Cut CC after last round.)
Round 13: Using MC, k around.
Rounds 14-18: * K2, p2, rep from * around.
Round 19: Using CC, k around.
Round 20: * K2, p2, rep from * around.
Round 21: Using MC, k around.
Rounds 22-23: * K2, p2, rep from * around.
Repeat Rounds 19-23 four more times. Cut CC.
Continue knitting around in 2/2 ribbing until hat reached 5.5” from the CO edge.
In this section you will “work in patt” which simply means you will knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Set up round: Rm, k1, * pm, work 28 sts in patt, rep from * around.
BOR has moved forward one st and all other markers are in the center of two knit sts.
Round 1: * Ssk, work in patt to 2 sts before m, k2tog, rep from * around – 104 sts.
Round 2: Work in patt around.
Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 eight more time(s) – 40 sts rem. Repeat Round 1 four times – 8 sts rem.
Cut yarn and place end on a tapestry needle. Feed the end through all open loops and pull tight. Feed through a second time. Weave in ends, block, and enjoy!
Congratulations! It’s Time to Celebrate!
I hope you enjoyed this beginner knitting pattern for a hat. You are now a master of knitting ribbed stitch! Go forth and conquer all of the knitterdom.
And don’t forget to check back in next month to grab the final free Desert Sage pattern: the Desert Sage Socks/Slippers. Don’t want to miss it (or any other new freebies)? Then sign up for my newsletter below!