The Best Crochet Ribbing Stitches

Crochet Ribbing Stitches

I’ve been a crocheter for almost fourteen years and I think I can say that I have finally found crochet ribbing stitches that I actually, genuinely love! And no, there’s no single crochet in the back loop only here.

You can use crochet ribbing stitches in all kinds of projects. For the most part, I use them in the obvious scenario of adding a crochet edging to my designs. So we’re talking: cuffs on mittens, waistbands on jumpers & cardis, the brim of a hat or perhaps as fun edgings on a shawl or scarf.

Below I share my thoughts about my faves and their written patterns. I have also put together a video tutorial for YouTube: My Favourite Crochet Ribbing.

For the stitch patterns I used DK yarn and a 4mm hook. All swatches start with 24 stitches.

What I’m not going to do in this post is to talk about Join As You Go ribbing. I think I’ll save that for another day; it is a subject all by itself.

Favourite Crochet Ribbing

Ok, so in this blog post I am going to share my favourite crochet ribbing patterns. I will not share all the rib patterns out there because there are quite a few. Every time I discover a new stitch I will always try it to see if I like it. I know I don’t really like double crochet (US sc) in the back loop as I don’t think it’s the best ribbing. Neither am I keen on htr (US hdc) in the back loop only (blo). It’s not stretchy enough, it hasn’t got decent definition and it doesn’t look very rib-like. *shrugs*

However, I do have a soft spot for front and back post stitches. I think they can be really effective in a garment design or accessory. But I get it. Those raised post stitches don’t always fit other design elements and there are excellent alternatives which I love and use regularly. Luckily, for all of us, there’s lots of choice, which is awesome.

In terms of crocheting garments and accessories, I’m after a certain look in my ribbing that will complement the rest of the item and look fabulous too. If the stitch offers fab stitch definition and a bit of ba-doing, then yes, I’ll take some of that please!

Two Categories of Ribbing

I would split my faves into two categories of crochet ribbing. One, it’s all about getting the look using textured front and back stitches worked around the post of the stitches below. These are simple to work up and great for beginner friendly crochet makes.

The second category is about manipulating rows of stitches so that the tops of each row is pushed forward when the next row is worked, to become the rib itself. That’s why the htr (US hdc) is used so often as it has three top loops to use rather than the usual two.

I often start my ribbing with Foundation Starts as it is a more elastic technique than working into chains. Don’t be scared of starting your crochet this way, it’s awesome. I have a video tutorial on How to crochet a foundation start and it covers the main stitches: dc, htr & tr (US sc, hdc &dc).

Using back and front post stitches for crochet ribbing.

Post Stitches

I’ll get these out of the way first as post stitch ribbing is well known but seeing as I really enjoy using them in my design work I cannot leave them out of my collection of fave ribbing stitches. In the UK, they might be referred to as “raised stitches” as well.

More often than not, you would work these stitches in the same direction as the rest of your work.

Essentially, to create the textural quality that looks kinda like ribbing, standard treble (US dc) stitches are worked around the front and back post of a stitch rather than in the top of it.

Look at the picture above. There are three swatches to show post stitches acting as a rib. I like to refer to them as 1×1, 2×2, and 3×3.

  • 1×1: worked as a repeat of 1FPtr &1BPtr (US dc) over a multiple of 2 stitches.
  • 2×2: worked as a rep of 2FPtr & 2BPtr over a multiple of 4.
  • 3×3: worked as a rep of 3FPtr & 3BPtr over a multiple of 6.
  • You get the idea……

I find that post stitches look daintier and therefore more effective with finer weights of yarn. This is entirely subjective but it’s worth bearing in mind. Try out a few swatches and see what you think.

Take a look at post stitch ribbing in action….

We have See My Vest, my granny striped tank top. January Hues, a cosy hat. Companions, a cowl and wrist warmer set. And then there are the Bifrost mittens, gorgeous chunky rainbow stripes, and Dreckly crochet mittens, which kick-started an obsession with mittens and wrist warmers! I’ve linked these to Etsy but you can also find them on Ravelry as well.

Post Stitch Pattern

Pattern Notes

Here is an example of the pattern for working a 2×2 post crochet rib worked in the round.

  • Rnd 1 (r/s): 32ftr, join with sl st to form a circle, right side facing out. 
  • Rnd 2 (r/s): 1ch (does not count as a st here & throughout), *2FPtr, 2BPtr in next st; rep from * around, join with sl st, do not turn.
  • Rnds 3 – 6: Rep Rnd 2.

Simple Front Third Loop

And so, we move on from post stitches…

The rest of these smashing stitch patterns are, most likely, worked perpendicular to your main piece of crochet.

Simple Front Third Loop. I’ve used this easy stitch in a few projects now and it can be really effective. It’s for days when anything with a slip stitch is too much like hard work. I find it intriguing that a lot of people choose to work the stitches in the back loop rather than the loop that sits at the front of an hdc. There is definitely a difference, which you’ll notice in the video tutorial and in the pics below.

The left shows htr back loop only (blo), the right, shows the stitches when worked in the front third loop. It creates much better stitch definition and squatter, compact stitches.

Note that the photos were taken at different times of day and the swatch on the right has two extra rows.

The anatomy of the half treble (US dc) stitch is that it has 3 loops on the top rather than the usual 2. Instead of working under the usual 2 loops that form a “V” at the top of the stitch, insert the hook into the horizontal loop that sits at the front of the stitch below that “V”.  This pushes the top of the stitch forward to produce a rib-like effect, creating the neat linear wedges.

As I said, I’ve used this in a few projects because it’s simple yet effective. My stripey sweater, Riley Too not only uses it for the cuffs and waistband but it’s also used as a feature at the boat neckline, which I think looks great! It is really effective as the button band in my Perfect Cardigan and my free recipe for a crochet JW Anderson cardigan.

Front Third Loop Pattern

Note, again I’m using UK terms in the pattern here. Just swap the htr for hdc and voila!

  • Row 1: Work as many fhtr stitches as desired, turn.
  • Row 2: 1ch (does not count as a st here & throughout), htr in front third loop to end, turn.
  • Rows 3 – however many you like: Rep Row 2 ending on an even number if joining ends together.

Using Slip Stitches for Crochet Ribbing

Ok, so we’re moving into more fiddly territory here but it is well worth the effort. This is where the stitches are, relatively speaking, more recent for me so I don’t have quite so many photo examples of my own work.

Slip stitches in back loops do a great job of pushing the stitches forward and create the most springy fabric out of all the crochet ribbing stitches. The important thing here is to work the stitches quite loosely. Wriggling a hook into teeny stitches that are too tight is what put me off slip stitch ribbing for years. Another trick is not to pull on the individual stitches once you’ve worked them.

I often see slip stitches made in two clunky parts, especially when worked slowly. Practice a few times to become comfortable making deft, singular movements with the hook. This kind of swift movement definitely helps achieve the right tension.

Hdc With Slip Stitches

htr and slip stitches for ribbing

In my green jumper (sorry, no pattern!) I used a ribbing stitch that I first used in the Color Pop Sweater from My Square Hat (below). I used it for the cuffs and waistband but, funnily enough, I used a htr (US hdc) back loop only for the cowl neck to ensure a loose drape. I’d be tempted to make the cowl with a htr front 3rd loop if I revisited this crochet sweater.

Color pop sweater with htr and slip stitches for ribbing

Htr and Slip Stitch Ribbing Pattern

  • Row 1: Work a row of ftr stitches, turn.
  • Row 2: 1ch (does not count as a st here & throughout), sl st in BLO in each st along, turn.
  • Row 3: 1ch, htr in blo along, turn.
  • Rows 4 – How ever many you like: Rep Rows 2 & 3. If joining in a round, make your last row a slip stitch row.

Yarn Over Slip Stitch

The ultimate, best ever crochet ribbing! It looks so good and is lovely and springy and bouncy. I first discovered this stitch at the beginning of last year when I made Ana D’s Rockmore cardigan (note that the sleeves are all yarn over slip stitches. Every row. Looks good, hey?!). It’s used on the button band and it looks Uh.may.zinG! I went on to use it in my crochet Granny Sweaters.

For such a small change from htr to a yarn over slip stitch (also referred to as an htr sl st (US hdc sl st), I am gobsmacked. Essentially, you just yarn over before the slip stitch is made. But this one minor change really adds extra spring, squish and the magic ba-doing. I love it! And, it’s not as fiddly as if it was solely working regular slip stitches. We have a winner!!

Take a look at the two photos above. It is the same swatch in both pics showing the “wrong” side on the left and the “right” side on the right. Both sides look great to be honest, but it’s the one on the right where you could argue that it looks more traditionally rib-like.

YO slip stitch ribbing on the Rockmore cardigan

Yarn Over Slip Stitch Pattern

Let’s work into a chain for this one. Work as many chains as you like.

  • Row 1: Working in back bumps, YO sl st in second ch from hook, YO sl st to end, turn. [you’ll have one stitch fewer than your original chain].
  • Row 2: ch1 (does not count as a st here & throughout), sl st BLO along to end, turn.
  • Row 3: ch1, YO slst BLO, turn.
  • Rep Rows 2 & 3 to end. End of a slip stitch row if joining the ends together.

And there we are, all my faves in one place!! Remember that you can hop over to youTube to watch my tutorial on The Best Crochet Ribbing stitches here. Listen out for the cute cat sneeze…

Which is your favourite crochet ribbing? Let me know in the comments.

If you like any of the patterns pictured, check out my Free Patterns Page, my Ravelry store, and take a look at Etsy shop, and Lovecrafts store.

Cheers! x

4 thoughts on “The Best Crochet Ribbing Stitches

  1. Brilliant ! – terrific post. I too have the Color Pop sweater pattern in my library; and the only reason I haven’t yet made it is that I can’t find the right yarn.
    I REALLY WANT your green jumper pattern, Zeens !! It’s right up my alley. And Rockmore ? (an activity that appeals) – where’s that one in your Ravelry pages, eh ?!
    Back on topic: I eschew the fp/bp ribs because I can’t do ’em tight enough – they’re always loose, with me. My problem, not the stitch’s. Whereas sl st ribbing is difficult because I make it too tight ! Jesus, I’m a woman determined to find difficulty ..
    Anyway !
    Congrats on a thoughtful and very helpful post. As we are said to say, GOODONYERMATE ! 🙂

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