Sweater Ribbing Advice Needed

abc12345November 10, 2006

I am working on one of those top-down raglan sweaters, and am at the bottom ribbing. I used size 8 circular needles for body, but don't have size 6 circulars to use for ribbing. (I did the neck on two 6 straight needles and sewed the seam, then joined.

Would the sweater look funny if I did the ribbing on the larger size 8 needles? My choices are the size 8 or size 5, but I'm afraid that would make the sweater too tight around the bottom.

Was wondering what you would suggest I do?


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I often don't come down a size to do the ribbing. With my "less than flat" stomach, I don't necessarily want the sweater to be snug at my hips. I agree that a size 5 would probably be too tight, but if you want it to be a bit more snug at the hips you're going to have to break down and purchase the size 6 needles.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I think sloppy ribbing looks bad so I would definitely use the #5 intead of the #8. Some sweater patterns actually call for ribbing needles three sizes smaller than the main needles, so I really don't think your ribbing will be too tight unless, of course, you knit it very tightly. Keep it loose while you knit and it will be fine. Make very sure you bind off loosely!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:44AM
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I don't necessarily think that "larger" ribbing equates to "sloppy" ribbing. To me, sloppy ribbing is a ribbing that has mismatched tension, and I don't like that either.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 12:22PM
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You could always decrease a couple of stitches when you get to the ribbing. That would take care of the using smaller needles thing.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:02PM
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Thanks for the help! I put the stitches on a string and will do the sleeves for now while I think about what to do.

It's for bf, he said he'd wear it "no matter what".....

Must be true love, eh? LOL

Thanks again ;)

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 9:25AM
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Ohman. You're making a sweater for the boyfriend!?

Good luck.

~ Kit

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweater Curse

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 7:11PM
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I guess by "sloppy" ribbing, I meant ribbing that's too close in size to the rest of the sweater, which would give it a kind of sweatshirt effect. That's usually caused by knitting it too loosely. One reason you should use smaller needles is so that the ribbing has the proper combination of tightness and stretch.

Just decreasing stitches doesn't accomplish the same thing because all you would be doing is reducing the size of the sweater at the waist and reducing the amount of stretch it could otherwise have which might make it uncomfortabe to wear.

If you don't want a sweater to come in at the waist or wrists, it would be better to knit the bands in a seed stitch or some other kind of edging to give it a more tailored look. But you probably wouldn't do that with a man's sweater.

When knitting a sweater for a man, it's best to stick to a very conventional style and method, and that means knitting the ribbing with smaller needles. I've never seen a sweater pattern that didn't use that approach.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 7:37PM
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LOL Funny article, thanks Kit. I'll let ya know if its a curse for us. ;)

I finished the first sleeve, used the size 5 needle and it looks fine, so I'm thinking I'll go ahead and use it for the body ribbing as well.

Great opinions here, I'm glad I found this forum.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 8:31AM
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I usually knit the last two rows of ribbing on a size or two larger needles, to get a nice stretch.

When I first started knitting my bind off was so tight, and no stretch at all.

I really like the way it goes, using a larger needle towards the end.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 8:40PM
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