This is the third of five posts in a series on sewing ribbing.
Jump to half-stitch seaming in 1×1 ribbing, half-stitch seaming in 2×2 ribbing, or full-stitch seaming in 2×2 ribbing. (In this series of posts, “half-stitch seam” means any seam that consumes half a stitch from each edge, and “full-stitch seam” means any seam that consumes a full stitch from each edge. See the first post for more information.)
There are two set-ups for working public-side rows in 1×1 ribbing. We can
- start with K1 and end with P1
- start with K1 and end with K1
Let’s take them in turn, and we’ll see with stylized stitches which one works best. (Scroll to the bottom to see what to do if your ribbing instructions start with P1 instead of K1.)
Option 1: Start with K1 and End with P1
If the pieces begin with K1 and end with P1, then at the wearer’s left side, we have
The gray stitch on each piece will be used in the seam
leaving us with
The stitch sequence across the seam will be
So option one gives us the appearance we want: unbroken 1×1 ribbing across the seam.
The other body side seam and the sleeve underarm seams will work exactly the same way.
Option 2: Start with K1 and End with K1
There’s really no point in testing this option, since option one is the correct one. But let’s see what happens here anyway.
in the full-stitch seam
we’re left with
Since we have two adjacent purl stitches, we’ve confirmed that 1×1 ribbing must not begin and end with a knit stitch if we sew up with a full-stitch seam.
So the Correct Option Is…
If we want 1×1 ribbing that looks unbroken across a full-stitch seam, public-side rows must start with K1 and end with P1.
Adjusting a Project’s Instructions
If our sweater project uses 1×1 ribbing and the instructions have us end its public-side rows with P1, then we make no changes.
If the ribbing’s public-side rows end K1, then we have to change the number of stitches we cast on.
Cast On the Correct Number of Stitches
If the ribbing’s public-side instructions end with K1, we can do either of two things at the end of the cast-on:
- We can cast on one more stitch.
- We can cast on one less stitch.
Either way, the last stitch will be kept as a purl on the public side.
It won’t really matter if you add or subtract a stitch, unless your gauge is two or three stitches per inch or you’re making a very small sweater. In worsted- or fingering-weight yarn for even a child-size sweater, one stitch more or less on one of the two edges at a seam won’t make any difference. But if you’re concerned, cast on one more stitch on each piece. It’s probably always safer to make a garment slightly bigger since, er, we tend to grow rather than shrink.
When We Start the Body/Sleeve After the Ribbing
Sweater instructions often have us work the ribbing on fewer stitches than the main fabric of the body and sleeves, to help the edges remain snug. Then we usually increase up to the proper number of stitches in the first row after the ribbing.
- If we chose to cast on one more stitch to ensure a neat seam in the ribbing, then during the increase row after the ribbing, then we increase one less stitch than the instructions specify, since we already have an extra stitch.
- If we chose to cast on one less stitch, then we increase one more stitch than the instructions specify, since we are already short a stitch.
If the Ribbing Starts with P1
I suppose there are sweater designs that start the ribbing with P1 instead of K1. All of the above will apply, except that we have to swap “knit” for “purl” and “purl” for “knit” everywhere.