The swatches in this photo are not blocked. Without blocking, you can easily tell that the swatch on the left has a neater look and tidy edges because stitches are more uniform. This is the swatch made using the Russian knitting style.
Neatness is just a nice side effect of this simple way to make a rib stitch. You don’t have to be a seasoned user of Russian knitting to make this type of ribbing. You don’t even need to work the whole project in the Russian knitting technique. But if you want to improve the look of your ribbing without much effort, make it the Russian way.
Here’s how this simple way to make a neater ribbing works step by step.
If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here or scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.
Even though we always hold the yarn in the left hand when we use the Russian knitting style, in this tutorial, I will also show you how you can make this neater ribbing if you usually hold the yarn in your right hand.
STEP 1 – KNIT STITCH
In Russian knitting, we knit stitches through the back loop.
1.1. With the working yarn at the back of the work, insert the tip of the right needle into a stitch from right to left.
1.2. Pick the strand between the left needle and your left index finger.
If you prefer to hold the yarn in your right hand, wrap the tip of the right needle with the yarn counterclockwise (the same way as you do when you knit a stitch using the classic knitting style).
1.3. Pull the yarn through the stitch forming a new stitch, then slip the original stitch off the left needle.
Work step 1 every time you need to knit a stitch in the ribbing pattern.
STEP 2 – PURL STITCH
When purling a stitch using the Russian knitting style, we wrap the yarn around the tip of the right needle clockwise instead of counterclockwise.
2.1. With the yarn at the front of the work, insert the tip of the right needle into a stitch from right to left.
2.2. Pull the stitch a bit to the right so that the working yarn moves to the back of the stitch. Then pick the yarn from left to right.
If you hold the yarn in your right hand, wrap the yarn around the tip of the right needle clockwise.
2.3. Pull the yarn through and slip the original stitch off the left needle.
Work step 2 whenever you need to purl a stitch to form a ribbing pattern.
This process is the same for all kinds of ribbing – 1×1 ribbing, 2×2 ribbing, 3×3 ribbing or any other combination of knit and purl stitches that forms a rib pattern. Just work step 1 to knit the knits and work step 2 to purl the purls.
If you follow these steps to make a ribbing worked in the round, you will make a beautiful twisted ribbing that is neat and strong.
To transition to the classic knitting style knit all knit stitches through the back loop and purl all purls using the classic way of knitting. After one row, work in the classic knitting style as usual. Or, continue to work the Russian way to knit faster with less strain on your wrists.
To learn more about the Russian knitting style, consider taking the self-paced online course “Russian Knitting Simplified”.