Ugly Ribbing

I have started a sweater in fingering weight yarn, a cotton/wool blend. The pattern is K5, P3 all the way up the body. I think I would like this plan OK, except that the stitches on either side of the band of K5 look, well, sloppy. I am on gauge so I don't want to change needle sizes. I tried knitting in the back. I am working on size 3's so that gets sort of tedious and makes the edge stitches look sort of "angry". I know it must be changing from knit to purl and back that's causing the problem, I just don't know how to fix it. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

ksmarguy's picture

usually I find when I have wonky stitches on one side of a rib or the other, that blocking can even it out in the end. have you tried or considered trying a small swatch and blocking it to see if that will help it in the end? Otherwise the only other thing that I can think of is either what you already mentioned, of going tbl or try pulling the stitch that is 2 sts after the one that looks bad as you k/p it. sometimes that can help a bit. also, are you continental or english? I am sure that one of the more experienced guys will be along soon to give some more advice. As always, no matter what your level, there is always something to learn on here! Good Luck!

QueerJoe's picture

This is pretty common, and the easiest way to tighten up those loose side stitches is to twist the adjacent purl stitches, which I find easiest by wrapping the purl stitch in the opposite direction...unfortunately, this kind of ribbing would require you to K5, Twist P1, P1, Twist P1, K5, which could be quite annoying, but I think you'll find it will make those 1st and last Knit stitches look better.

If you find that it's mostly just the first of the 5 knit stitches, you could potentially get away with just twisting the 3rd purl stitch.

Good luck.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Good points, guys. This ought to help me with my knitting as well. Otherwise, I'd have to attempt reteaching myself tensioning the yarn to try to even everything out. Just a thought: If you are already doing 2 sts TBL, wouldn't it be easier to do all 3 TBL? -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

I always do the first and last stitch in knit, keeps the edges nice and also looks nice (IMO). I have been doing sweaters like this for over 40 years and havent had any trouble with bad eges due to tension issues. When i started knitting a elderly friend of my grandmothers from england showed my this and have used it ever since. I hope this helps.

mrhugzzz's picture

Hi Nash,

If you're going to be sewing it together then you should put a selvedge stitch on it so it won't matter about the first and last as they disappear (I use stocking stitch if I'm sewing it together). If not, then a slip first and knit last stitch selvedge works really well (scarves and such where you have an open edge). Hope this helps.

Hugzzz 8-)

Nashrunner's picture

Good news! I washed the swatch again and the nastiness completely went away! Problem solved. I have always liked cotton because it seemed to behave nicely. I just never figured that simply washing it a couple times would fix this. Who knew?