Ribbing and needle sizes

After I finish working on the blanket I have on the needles, I’d like to make hubby a sweater but I’m thinking I want to try making something wearable for me first. It’s for practice is all :wink:

I have come across some patterns that have ribbing and use smaller needles for the ribbing and then larger ones for the main body of the garment (usually stockinette stitch on the body).

Why is that? Is that because ribbing tends to be knit more loosely and you have to compensate? I’m just curious.

You want to have the ribbing pull in more than just the stitches will make it do. Most sweaters have the different needle sizes, so I guess it’s important.

I found that if you use the same size needles to knit a swatch of stocking stitch and a swatch of ribbing (K1, P1), the stitches in the ribbing are much larger! So as well as making a tighter elastic edge, using smaller needles for ribbing also keeps the stitches looking the same size.

Needing to buy new needles is also a good excuse to go to the yarn shop!

Having an interchangeables set can be a great benefit in situations like this.

I generally use the same size for the ribbing as I make the sweater with. Ribbing pulls in a little anyway, so it snugs up some. I guess it depends on your tension with the different stitches, so try some samples (I guess you’d call them swatches) both ways.


Thanks! I thought it might have to do with looser stitches.