re:Is it just a “common knitting knowledge”* thing that there should be a normal K st at each end with the increase being excuted on the second and second to last sts?
it’s not common knowledge.
it’s something you learn!
it is one of many “best practices” that have evolved.
Its not required, it just make sewing up/finishing easer…and the finished garment a little nicer looking.
You can start a garment with the same size needles you intend to knit with.
but ribbing often looks sloppy–so most knitters have learned to knit ribbing with smaller needles to make them as attractive as stocking knit stitch.
You can make your increases on the very last/very first stitch.
But most agree, they look better done 1 to 3 stitches away from the edge.
It’s your knitting…do it any way that you want.
and remember there are often a half dozen ways to do anything in knitting, since not everyone (or at times, even most) agrees about anything!