How do you remember what you're doing when knitting rib?

Did that title make sense? I am a beginner and am working on my first project with ribbing. It’s a very simple, but long, scarf with K3P3 ribbing so it’s a lot of switches back and forth. I’ve found the only way I can remember if I started a row with K or P is to keep a pad beside me and write down K or P before I knit each row. If I get distracted I forget what I’m doing and I still cannot tell just by looking if a stitch is a K or P …

I’m getting tired of writing K and P constantly … any help would be appreciated!


In a rib you are always knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches.

So you need to be able to recognize what a knit stitch and a purl stitch looks like as you get ready to work it.

The knit stitches look like Vs and the purls look more like bumps. Here’s a good page with pictures of how the stitches look including what a rib looks like.

Once you get used to just looking at your work and being able to recognize what comes next you won’t have to write anything down.

practice! much of knitting is practice.

some of us take to it like ducks to water, and learn quickly, others, (like me) are slow learners

I know more than most about knitting (but then i’ve hand 45 years of practice!)

at first some things are so very hard, you wonder if you’ll ever be able to do them… then one day… you’ll find yourself zipping along…

so just practice.

Another way to remember is if you end a row with a purl st, you start it with a knit; end with a knit, start with a purl. But yep, it’s easiest to learn what each stitch looks like.

It will get easier as you go along! After several rows, you either be in the “dip” or the “ridge” of the ribbing, which will help cue your eye to what you should be doing.

Also, (as a beginner myself) my first scarf is long and ribbed. Somewhere around row 20 or 30, one of those ribs got an extra knit stitch, and a pearl stitch got dropped. I knit the rest of the scarf like that, and its a long one.

No one but me ever notices. :cool:

Easy way: When you’re starting a row, notice whether you’re knitting or purling. Now pin a safety pin into the front of that side where you’ll be sure to see it. Work across and notice whether you knit or purl the last stitches. Write that down, if you need to, and stick it on the safety pin. Now the other side should be just exactly backwards.In time, you won’t need to do that, but for now, it’ll help.

Learn what the stitches look like and it’ll help you the rest of your knitting career. :wink: It’s easier than placing pins or watching for dips in the knitting

Each stitch has two sides, one side is a knit the other side is a purl. With ribbing you knit the knits and purl the purls so if you know what the stitches look like it’s simple. You may have to pull the stitch down a bit by the needle to be sure sometimes, but it becomes quite obvious after a few rows.

Back when I was first learning to knit, I would use two different colored needles for patterns like that. I would have a pink needle and a blue needle. When I switched to the pink needle, I knew the row would start with a purl stitch. (Pink = Purl)

Just a quick cheat. :wink:

I love reading about everyone’s little tips, I don’t have any “live” friends that knit, and it’s so nice to realize that everyone knits so differently! I tried teaching my sister to knit and of course wanted her to do it just like me, and it just was not working for her. She’s slowly figuring it out now on her own.

For me, I’ve learned to recognize the difference between what a purl and a knit stitch look like, but it didn’t come naturally. It just clicked one day, and from then on, I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how much trouble it had given me before.

Just keep practicing!

Thanks everyone … OK, so I have been paying attention every time I start a new row and really looking at the stitches. I have still been keeping my silly little log, just in case, but each time I start a new row I am looking and deciding whether it’s time to knit or purl and each time I have been right – so thanks for the tips! :slight_smile:

Way to go! :thumbsup:

thanks for sharing that tidbit about learning,Of Troy. Sigh I am new at knitting and I’m hard on myself, so impatient! It seems it’s just too much trial and error with one thing and then bam! I got it, after 2 days have passed by and I have wasted my cheap yarn, hee hee!

Hey, cheap yarn is PERFECT for trying new things. :thumbsup: