This is the fifth and final post in a series on sewing ribbing.
Jump to half-stitch seaming in 1×1 ribbing, full-stitch seaming in 1×1 ribbing, or half-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 three set-up options for working public-side rows in 2×2 ribbing. We can
- start with K2 and end with P2
- start with K2 and end with K1
- start with K2 and end with K2
Let’s take them in turn, and we’ll see with stylized stitches which one works best for seams that consume a whole stitch on each edge. (Scroll to the bottom if the ribbing starts P2 instead of K2.)
Option 1: Start with K2 and End with P2
If the pieces begin with K2 and end with P2, then at the wearer’s left side, we have
The gray stitches are the ones consumed in sewing up.
So we’ll be left with
and the stitch sequence across the seam will be
Since 2×2 rib is bolder than its 1×1 cousin, that K1–P1 in the middle will probably be fairly noticeable. Let’s move on to see if we can find a better result.
Option 2: Start with K2 and End with K1
What happens here?
The gray stitches will be used
in the full-stitch seam
so we’ll be left with
That’s closer, but we are still not maintaining an unbroken stretch of 2×2 ribbing, because there’s only a single knit stitch between two groups consisting of two purl stitches.
Option 3: Start with K2 and End with K2
This option is the only one we have left, so let’s hope it works.
When we consume the gray stitches on each edge
as we sew the full-stitch seam
we have the stitch sequence
Finally, the Correct Option!
If we want 2×2 ribbing that looks unbroken across a full-stitch seaming method, we have to start and end the ribbing with K2.
The other body side seam and the sleeve underarm seams will work exactly the same way.
Adjusting a Project’s Instructions
If our sweater project uses 2×2 ribbing and the instructions have us end the ribbing’s public-side rows with K2, then the designer almost certainly intends us to use full-stitch seaming instead of half-stitch seaming. We can do half-stitch seaming in 2×2 ribbing<link> if we prefer.
But what if the instructions have 2×2 ribbing whose public-side rows end with P2 or 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 rows end P2, we need to cast on two more stitches at the end and work them as public-side knits.
- If the ribbing’s public-side rows end K1, we need to cast on one more stitch at the end and work it as a public-side knit.
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 had to cast on one more stitch, then we increase one less stitch than the instructions specify, since we already have an extra stitch in the ribbing.
- If we had to cast on two more stitches, then we increase two fewer stitches than the instructions specify, since we already have two of those stitches in the ribbing.
If the Ribbing Starts with P2
I suppose there are sweater designs that start the ribbing with P2 instead of K2. All of the above will apply, except that we have to swap “knit” for “purl” and “purl” for “knit” everywhere.