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Old 06-05-2009, 08:19 AM   #1
wildnwoolly
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Can I stretch ribbing?
Hi all, I'm a bit of a beginner with a question.

I'm in the middle of knitting a scarf for my husband. I didn't really have a pattern so decided to just make a rib scarf. I started just knitting k1, *k3,p3*, k1 (repeating between **). Sadly, it's becoming apparent that people make patterns for a reason, and my scarf looks ridiculous! It's 26 stitches across and the ribs are entirely bunched together so that the scarf is really thin and you can't even see there is a pattern.

Is there a way I can stretch the scarf horizontally so it's wider and you can see the rib pattern? I've tried tugging it, but it just springs back into place.

Thanks so much
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #2
knitgal
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Ribbing wants to pull in- it's just the nature of the beast. It's also very stretchy, which is why it's used for hat brims, sock cuffs, around the neck of a sweater etc.

My first question would be what type of yarn are you using? If you're using wool yarn, you might have a hope of blocking it when you're finished. The main issue with this is that you will have to really stretch it and pin it out and I think it would be more trouble than it's worth.

I knit a ribbed scarf as my first project and it turned out lovely, but yes it pulls together. I think you're most likely stuck with it the way it is.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:25 AM   #3
OffJumpsJack
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How far along are you?
I'm just an intermediate beginner with knitting, but I know stockinette stitch (ST ST) curls both at the ends and on the edges. The *k3,p3* pattern means you essentially have alternating thin strips of ST ST. It will make for a very thick fabric but will curl in to reduce the width.

A few possible and easy alterations:
(If you are not too far along in length)

First is to change the pattern by groups of rows. For a checkered look, do 5 or so rows (until the length matches the width of a single rib) and then switch to k1 * p3, k3 * k 1 and repeat for the same number of rows.
VVVV---VVV---V
VVVV---VVV---V
V---VVV---VVVV
V---VVV---VVVV
V---VVV---VVVV
VVVV---VVV---V
VVVV---VVV---V
VVVV---VVV---V

Or try k1 * k3, p3 * k 1 on only the odd rows and make the even rows k across.
VVVV---VVV---V
----------------
VVVV---VVV---V
----------------

A third option would be to change to a garder stitch for a few rows to give a flat band across the scarf at regular intervals. The ribs would still pull together between the bands and you'd have more of a scalloped/scooped edge.
)VVVV---VVV---V(
)VVVV---VVV---V(
==============
==============
)VVVV---VVV---V(
)VVVV---VVV---V(
)VVVV---VVV---V(
==============
==============
)VVVV---VVV---V(
)VVVV---VVV---V(

V are knit and - are purls in my simple little ASCII text graphics.

But the good thing is you have learned something new about knitting.

If you really are in the middle of the scarf and still want to change, then you'll learn to FROG. (That is what we call it when you "rip-it, rip-it" out since it sounds like croaking.)

I you want to partially FROG back to say 4 inches from the CO? Look for instructional posts on using a "life line" to help keep what you want when you are FROGing.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for replying!

knitgal, I'm not sure what type of yarn it is, I bought it years ago and the labels are long gone. And I think you're right that blocking sounds as if it would be more hassle than it's worth.

OffJumpsJack, those alterations you suggested are quite clever but I'm a little embarassed to admit that I'm quite a way into the scarf (thought it would magcally stretch!) so I won't be able to use them. I might have to do the 'frogging' (never heard that term before, it made me laugh out loud), so thankyou for pointing me in the direction of the life line - sounds handy.

I guess I better hunt down a pattern and do it properly this time.

They say you learn something new every day, well I sure learnt my lesson today!

Thanks a lot for your help
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:53 AM   #5
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You could a sort of mistake rib type pattern. Do the k1, *k3,p3*, k1 on one row, and knit back on the other row. That would still give you some texture, but the plain knit row will keep it from drawing in so much. Or there's the scrunchable scarf which is sort of ribbed, but there's a column of garter stitch between the ribs.
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