Three Rib Variations – Single Rib, Fisherman’s Rib and Brioche Stitch

Single rib, Fisherman's rib, and Brioche swatches

A ribbed fabric is formed by alternating knit and purl stitches horizontally, creating columns of these stitches. The knit stitches appear raised on the surface and purl stitches recede. There are many variations of rib and the following how-to’s demonstrate three common rib patterns, single rib, Fisherman’s rib and brioche. Typically, ribs have a lot of horizontal stretch. Because of the many different types of rib pattern stitches, their elasticity varies, with some looser than others.

K1, P1 Rib (Single Rib)

This is the simplest of the rib patterns, and is usually used on sweaters at lower edges, neckband, borders, and cuffs.

Even number of stitches

*k1, p1; repeat from * across row. Repeat this row for pattern.

Fisherman’s Rib

This rib variation makes a deep, fluffy fabric and is a beautiful allover fabric. It does require more yarn, and it takes more rows to work the same length as a stockinette stitch fabric.

Even number of stitches

Cast on required stitches and purl one row.

Row 1: *p1, knit next stitch in the row below; repeat from *, end p2. Repeat this row.   

Brioche Stitch

This stitch pattern has the same fluffy texture as Fisherman’s rib, but is looser and the purl-like columns are more visible. It’s made with slipped stitches and yarnovers (yo). All slip stitches are slipped with the yarn in back. The last row at the end of ribbing (before binding off) should be worked by omitting the yarnovers, and working (p1, k2tog) across. Bind off very loosely. There are other variations of brioche; the following how-to is the most basic.

Even number of stitches

Row 1 (preparation row): *yo, sl 1, k1; repeat from *.

Row 2: *yo, sl 1, k2 tog (slip stitch and yarnover from previous row are worked

together); repeat from *. Repeat only row 2 for stitch pattern.

These three variations of rib are common, but look different. Try Fisherman’s rib and brioche to amp up your rib stitch library.