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Jessica Joy

Knitwear designer, teacher and author

Have you ever noticed baggy purl stitches in your 2x2 rib­bing — specif­i­cally a slightly longer trail­ing yarn between a knit and a purl stitch? I have and I found it really frus­trat­ing until I dis­cov­ered this super cool trick.How to Knit Tighter 2x2 RibbingPlant fibre yarns seem to accen­tu­ate the prob­lem and com­bine that with loose purl stitches and the mean­der­ing motion of mov­ing from a knit to a purl stitch, and the result is just plain saggy.

Have a go at this tuto­r­ial and make your rib­bing pop!

There’s a writ­ten descrip­tion down below the video, includ­ing how to do this when knit­ting in the round. If you enjoy this video, you can sub­scribe to my chan­nel here.

For the first purl stitch of every p2 twist the work­ing yarn clock­wise around the front of the nee­dle (oppo­site direc­tion to nor­mal). This effec­tively twists the stitch and hugs it in closer to the pre­vi­ous knit stitch. If you’re work­ing flat, untwist this stitch on the return row by knit­ting through the back loop (the twisted purl stitch is now a knit stitch). At the same time keep wrap­ping every first purl stitch clockwise.

Tighter 2x2 ribbingIf you’re work­ing in the round twist and untwist the same purl stitch by purl­ing through the back loop on the alter­nate round. Happy days!

  1. Sally 12 January 2014, 11:49 am

    Thank you for mak­ing this tuto­r­ial, this will be really use­ful! :o)

  2. Sue 13 January 2014, 9:59 am

    This is excel­lent! Came across the tip via Pin­ter­est, and re-pinned it imme­di­ately. I will be doing this from now on on all my 2x2 ribbing.

  3. Alex 20 January 2014, 3:47 pm

    Don’t know why I didn’t think of this myself. So obvi­ous a solu­tion to a very nag­ging prob­lem. Thank you.

  4. mo 28 January 2014, 6:24 pm

    Bril­liant! I just fin­ished a pair of socks with 2 x 2 rib­bing and I don’t like the out­come — will now frog it all back and try it this way! Good tim­ing! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Betsy Ann Dey 29 January 2014, 8:18 pm

    This was an incred­i­bly help­ful les­son. I appre­ci­ate it very much. I am try­ing to under­stand how to do this method in the round. I’ll have to try it and see how I untwist a purl stitch.

  6. Elizabeth 7 February 2014, 6:15 am

    Years ago, I made a slouchy hat out of alpaca yarn. The hat had a ribbed band, which stretched out over time. I’d be able to reshape it after wash­ing, but it would just stretch out again due to the inelas­tic­ity of the yarn.
    I should have tried this tech­nique! I know it would still stretch out a bit, but at least the rib­bing would hold up a bit better!

    • Jess 24 February 2014, 8:41 pm

      Yes — good point, Eliz­a­beth! Alpaca isn’t very springy at all so this should help to hold it in shape a lit­tle bet­ter. Thanks!!

  7. Nina 23 February 2014, 1:51 pm

    Thank you! I can’t wait to try this out.

  8. Bonny 18 March 2014, 7:39 pm

    This is bril­liant! I had the same prob­lem as Eliz­a­beth with the rib­bing stretch­ing out with­out spring­ing back into shape. Only I used a Camel yarn instead of Alpaca but it behaved just like the Alpaca. I wish I knew this tech­nique before I gave the hat away. I could have reworked the brim and saved it. Thank you for post­ing this tutorial :)

  9. Sandy 2 May 2014, 10:01 pm

    I am so glad I landed on your tuto­r­ial and blog. You have some very pretty knit­ting projects and you explain tech­niques very well. I need all the help I can get, being a begin­ner @ every­thing. I need to learn how to make my knit­ting (or cro­chet­ing) look a bit more pro­fes­sion­ally fin­ished and you are doing this. I love to knit and cro­chet and take every chance I have to try some­thing new. I don’t like to keep doing the same thing over and over and never advanc­ing. So I hope to obtain a lot of help from you.

    Thank you Again!

  10. Barbara 20 September 2014, 7:01 pm

    If I’m knit­ting in the round, and on the first round I knit two and then purl in your mod­i­fied style, what do I do on the sec­ond round when I come to the mod­i­fied purl stitch? Do I knit two and then do the mod­i­fied purl on the first purl stitch and purl nor­mally on the sec­ond purl stitch, or do I knit the first two and then knit into the back of the first mod­i­fied stitch?

    • Jess 21 September 2014, 12:54 pm

      Hi Bar­bara, on the 2nd row you untwist the mod­i­fied purl stitch from the pre­vi­ous row by purl­ing into the back loop. As the right side of the work is always fac­ing you, you only need to work the mod­i­fied purl stitch every other row. I hope that makes sense — good luck!

  11. Rocky 30 September 2014, 9:21 pm

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!! :)

  12. Kathleen 16 March 2015, 4:00 pm

    This is a great tip! It also makes a neat edge when switch­ing to reverse stock­inette as a back­ground for cables. Thanks for the reminder — I’ve switched to con­ti­nen­tal style since I first learned it so hope­fully all the ptbl won’t take long to get used to.

  13. Name 13 July 2015, 7:46 pm


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