Blocking Uneven Ribbing

Knitting nice uniform, even-looking, ribbing is a big challenge for me.  I realize it has to do with the varying tension of my knits and purls when ribbing back and forth, but the nature of some yarns make it difficult to get uniform ribbing even when ribbing in the round.

At the moment, my best option is to fix the ribbing during wet-blocking.  I thought I’d share my method here, because I’ve often searched the web in vain for help on this topic.  I’d love to hear back if anyone has a method that works for them, because mine could use some further optimization.

Last year I knit the Lesley pullover from Hannah Fettig’s Home and Away book.  I love it so much I will probably knit another one.  Much as I enjoy designing, I like to relax and knit from published patterns equally often.  It’s the the best way for me to learn new things.  This project calls for a gauge of 14 sts/4″ on an aran yarn. I chose to use a worsted yarn knit with larger needles in order to get a loose drapey fabric at the same gauge.  It was a bit of an experiment but I am happy with the fabric.

sweater

Notice that there is a fair quantity of ribbing and it looks relatively uniform in the final photo.  It wasn’t always like that….

Here is what it looked like, straight from the needles:

Preblock2

preblock1

So I wet-blocked it.  As usual I rolled up the sweater in a towel to press out any excess water.

Blocking1

Immediately after this, I went to work on the ribbing.  This may seem like sacrilege – but I pull lengthwise on all the columns of knits and purls, until they look straight – and I let it dry like that.

Pulled on the neck ribbing…

Blocking2

Pulled on the sleeve ribbing….

Blocking3

And pulled on the bottom ribbing…. ALL the way around…

Blocking4

I then laid the whole sweater to dry flat on a rack, with a fan blowing over it.  Once dry, the ribbing looks acceptable – although I always still feel like it could be better.

Blocking5

Blocking6

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