Vertical ribbing is a bit time consuming to crochet, but it creates a nice stretchy fabric suitable for hats, gloves, legwarmers and various types of clothing items. Not only does the ribbing add stretch to the finished piece, but it can also be used for decorative purposes when used correctly. Best of all, it is easy enough for a beginner to master.
The ribbing is crocheted simply by working a foundation row of single crochet stitches. Then instead of working into both loops of the stitch, you only work into the back loop. This naturally pulls the fabric together, but also allows it to stretch out when needed.
Although a vertical ribbing is easy to crochet, it can get a little tricky when crocheting it to horizontal rows. But with the right know-how and by following a few simple steps, even that is easy to master.
The following tutorial will show you step-by-step on how to join a vertical ribbing to just about any pattern. For this tutorial, I used this legwarmer pattern, but the concept is pretty much the same for any pattern.
When I put this tutorial together I made a boo-boo and skipped the first stitch in step 3. For some reason I tend to do this and then I’m always short a row when I get to the end. (To me the chains act as the first row, but this is not the case. The first row is worked into the chains, thus, you work the first slip stitch into the same stitch as where you made the join.) Anyway, I have updated the image in step 3, but the others are still the old ones, which show that I skipped the first stitch. Please ignore this until I have time to redo the images.
If the yarn is not already attached to your work, join it with a slip stitch to the edge where you want the ribbing attached. Then chain as many as the pattern says or as many as you want.
Once your chains are made, begin to single crochet into the second chain from the hook and into each chain across.
The next step is to work 1 slip stitch into the next 2 stitches along the top. But before you do, you might want to mark off the stitches in order to take the guesswork out.
In the image below I placed a stitch marker in the first 2 stitches to mark where the first 2 slip stitches will go. Then I placed the third marker to mark the spot where you will slip stitch the next time around. Technically you don’t have to mark the first 2 stitches as they are easy to see and will be worked into next. But you do want to mark off the third stitch, especially if you are a beginner, because it can be difficult to find later on.
Another thing that you might want to mark off is the back loop of the first stitch that you need to work into after you make your slip stitches. The easiest way to do this is to mark the front loop of the last stitch that you make before you make your slip stitches. After you turn your work, that loop will be the back loop. (Front loop is simply the loop that is facing you, and the back loop always faces away from you.)
The reason you want to mark this stitch is because it can be difficult to see where the first stitch is after you make the slip stitches. Once you get going you can omit this step. But if it is your first time you might end up working into the slip stitches and then end up with more stitches than you want.
Now you are ready to make your 2 slip stitches along the edge.
Turn and working into the back loops, single crochet across. Do not work into the slip stitches.
When you get to the end, turn. Chain 1, working into the back loops only, single crochet into the first stitch and into each stitch across. Then repeat the above steps until you have made your way around.
Once you’ve crocheted around, simply join the rows with slip stitches or fasten off and sew the seam using a yarn needle and the tail end of the yarn. In this case I chained 1, then joined the back loops to the free loops of the first row.