The body of my Eyelet Chemise is knit in an eyelet rib pattern, which has reminded me of a technique I find invaluable when knitting ribbing of more than 1×1 stitches. The technique is the same for any number of stitches in the rib, but for the sake of clarity I will describe it for 2×2 ribbing, as demonstrated on this cute little pink swatch:
If you knit ribbing in the ‘normal’ way, in other words [k2, p2] repeated, you might find that the last knit stitch before a purl is much looser than the other knit stitch. The top half of my swatch is knitted in this way.
I’ve read various theories as to why this might be the case but, whatever the reason, the gap between knit and purl stitches appears bigger when going from knit to purl than when changing from purl to knit.
I’ve tried various methods for minimising this gap. The one that works best for me (I knit continental, by the way) is to knit the first purl stitch eastern style, by wrapping the yarn clockwise around the needle instead of the normal anti-clockwise. When that stitch is encountered on the next row, it will be twisted, so you will need to knit into the back of it.
This method means that instead of repeating the same two stitches, you are actually repeating four different stitches. Here’s how it would look in a pattern; I’ll assume one where the right side begins and ends with k2.
Row 1: [K2, p1 clockwise (c), p1 anti-clockwise (ac)] to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2: P2, [k1, k1 to back of loop (tbl), p1 c, p1 ac] to end.
Row 3: [K1, k1 tbl, p1 c, p1 ac] to last 2 sts, k2.
Repeat rows 2 & 3.
The ‘normal’ method is on the left in the pictures below, and the clockwise method is on the right. Better, no?