In Search of a Tighter Rib

I’m currently working on a design with stockinette stitch sandwiched between garter stitch on the left and right ends. If you’ve ever knitted a rib stitch you’ll know that when the stockinette is to the left of the garter stitch, the last line of Vs against the garter stitch bumps are naturally tight. But when the stockinette is to the right of the garter stitch that last line of Vs is much looser.

I’m not sure why this happens probably because knit stitches are made more tightly than purl stitches. But whenever I start trying to imagine the route the yarn takes, I get a headache.

There is a fantastic post about this on Techknitting but I wanted to find a solution more complex than “purl tighter” and less involved than “get out a crochet hook”. I decided to try a judicial use of knitting a purling through the back loop. Here’s what I found.

The bottom sample here is a plainly knitted version with stockinette on the left and garter on the right. Just for reference.

The next sample up is also knitted plain, but this time with garter on the left and stockinette on the right. What’s interesting is that looking at it like this, there’s not much difference. But if you stretch that piece you’ll see the problem.

The next sample up (or second from the top, if you prefer) was knitted with every purl stitch before the garter knitted through the back loop. Sadly, this is definitely worse. It seems to accentuate the looseness of every other stitch. Yuck.

The sample at the top is, I think the most successful. In that one every stitch before the garter was knitted or purled through the back loop. Interestingly, that has problems of its own. The next stitch along is slightly looser!

I guess it’s time to get out the crochet hook.

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