How To Crochet Easy Ribbing
(For Hats, Cuffs or Cardigans)
Are you planning to crochet a hat and want to make sure it sits properly & comfortably on your head? Some easy crochet ribbing will do just that.
You can also add crochet ribbing to cuffs of cardigans or sweaters for a neat finish to the arms and waist.
Or you could even crochet an entire garment with ribbed stitches if you want it to be tight & stretchy.
There are a many ways you could create this stretchiness, but they're all called "ribbed stitches".
Crochet ribbing comes in many forms and can be created using a variety of basic stitches.
You could use slip stitches (sl st), single crochet stitches (sc), or taller stitches like half double crochet stitches (hdc) or double crochet stitches (dc). The smaller the stitch, the tighter the fabric will be.
There's also a couple of different methods you could use with any of the above stitches to create ribbing:
- The back loop only (BLO) method; or
- The ribbed post method
For this tutorial, I will show you how to crochet easy ribbing that has a good amount of stretch, ideal for crochet hats, beanies, cardigan sleeves & hems, or roll-necks of sweaters.
This is my go-to ribbing type that I feel fits nicely on most of the garments I crochet.
I generally tend to go down a hook size (or two) when crocheting ribbing for a garment to give it a more professional finish (I mean use a smaller sized hook for the ribbing than for the rest of the garment). The tighter, denser look of the ribbing will round up the garment nicely.
I should also point out here that the type & weight of yarn you use will have an effect on how stretchy your ribbing will be.
Cotton or cotton blend yarns will have more stitch definition and less stretch than acrylics, for example. Heavier or bulkier yarns will also create more stretch.
For this tutorial, I used some classic DK yarn (from Paintbox Yarns).
At the end of this tutorial, you'll find a list of frequently asked questions. If you have any questions that I haven't answered there, please drop me a comment below.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the Start Crochet links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
Crochet Easy Ribbing Tutorial
What You’ll Learn
- Types of crochet ribbing
- How to crochet ribbing the easy way (for beginners) - scBLO
- How to attach ribbing to your garments
- Some project ideas for your ribbing
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about crochet ribbing
- Any type of yarn. Perhaps using some acrylic yarn would be easier if you're a beginner. I used DK yarn (from Paintbox Yarns) for this tutorial. Just make sure the yarn you choose is not hairy or fuzzy.
- Crochet hook that fits your yarn. Generally I use between a size G/4mm to H/5mm hook.
- A tapestry needle
- A pair of scissors
- ch = chain
- sl st = slip stitch
- sc = single crochet
- scBLO = single crochet back loop only
- fo = fasten off
Stitch How-To Instructions
Instructions for Ch (Chain):
Bring the yarn over the crochet hook from back to front and hook it. Draw hooked yarn through the loop of the stitch on your hook and up onto the working area of your hook.
Instructions for sc (Single Crochet):
Insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (you now have two loops on hook), yarn over again and pull through both loops on hook (note: this is equivalent to the UK Double Crochet (dc) stitch)
Instructions for dc (Double Crochet):
Yarn over first, then insert hook into stitch, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (you now have three loops on hook), Pull your working yarn over again and pull through two loops on hook . You now have 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through the last two loops on your hook. You are left with only one loop on your hooks, which means you've completed your dc stitch. (note: this is equivalent to the UK Trebble Crochet (tc) stitch)
Instructions for Sl St (Slip Stitch): Insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through your last stitch AND through the loop on your hook (through both stitches).
Instructions for Fastening Off: After the last stitch of the last round, cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch end. Draw the cut end of your yarn completely through the stitch & pull to tighten knot.
If you need more detailed instructions on how to work the required stitches, check out Annie’s Catalogue for visual instructions.
- You can use any type of yarn as long as you have a corresponding crochet hook size (check yarn label for recommendations)
- Numbers at the end of each row (in brackets) indicate the number of final stitches in that row.
- The ch 1 at the beginning of a row does not count as a stitch.
- I use US crochet terms. Here's a US/UK Conversion Chart
US vs. UK Crochet Terms & Symbols
For this tutorial, I am crocheting ribbed cuffs for a project I'm designing for my 6-year-old daughter. These are fairly long cuffs (reaching from her wrist to her elbow) measuring:
- 15 cm length (21 stitches)
- 15 cm width (25 rows)
I used a size 7 (4.5 mm) hook and DK yarn (from Paintbox Yarns)
Gauge: 17 stitches and 16 rows in sc = 4" (10 cm) using a size 7 (4.5 mm) hook
Note: This gauge is simply to show you what my gauge was for this sample. You will need to follow the gauge written on the pattern you are following for correct sizing.
Instructions For Crochet Ribbing (Using Single Crochet BLO - Back Loop Only )
As I mentioned earlier, there are several ways to crochet ribbing, but I find this one the easiest and most versatile. Here we go:
Row 1: Start off by tying a slip knot, then Ch 21 (21)
Row 2: Skip a stitch, scBLO into the next 19 ch sts, sc in last stitch, turn (20)
Note: I generally like to do a normal sc into both loops (v's) for the last stitch of the rows (as opposed to in the back loop only) to give a neater finish on the edges of my work. Don't make this last stitch too tight though so you don't reduce your stretch too much.
When turning, make sure you always turn in the same direction.
Row 3: Ch1, [1 scBLO In each of the next 19 stitches, sc in last stitch, turn (19 scBLO, 1 sc = 20 sts)]
Rows 4-25: Repeat brackets above.
Note: Check the size you are aiming for with a tape measure and size against your gauge swatch. Ensure that you make your crochet ribbing an inch or two smaller than the actual size to allow for stretching when worn.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I'll answer some of the questions people ask most about crocheting Granny Squares like:
What are the types of crochet Ribbing?
There are several ways to crochet ribbing. In the video below, you'll see how to crochet ribbing using basic crochet stitches in the BLO (back loop only).
The video shows the difference between using BLO in slip stitches (sl st), single crochet (sc) and half double crochet (hdc).
The photo tutorial above shows ribbing using the single crochet stitch (sc), which is a medium-sized ribbing ideal to rim beanies, cuffs and fold-over sweater necks.
You could also crochet ribbing using post stitches as opposed to basic stitches.
Here is a video explaining how to use post stitches for ribbing using single crochet (sc). This creates a raised rib stitch pattern:
Another method to crochet ribbing using post stitches is front post or back post in double crochet (dc).
Here is a video explaining how to use post stitches for ribbing using double crochet (sc). This creates another style of raised rib stitch pattern:
How to crochet ribbing in the round?
You may wonder if it's possible to crochet ribbing in the round. Well, technically, you could. But you'll have to join with a slip stitch and turn keeping your working yarn nice & tight. If you're working in scBLO, then you'll continue with this stitch in the following row.
What is the stretchiest crochet stitch?
Well, while crochet ribbing in its different forms gives different ais mounts of stretchiness, it usually stretches in the direction of the rows.
Here's a crochet stitch that is a little more advanced and requires quite a bit of labor and concentration, but it will yield a VERY STRETCHY fabric. This Japanese designer called it the ZigZag stitch.
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Crochet Ribbing
Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for the easiest crochet ribbing technique.
Now that you know how to crochet this lovely stretchy fabric, use it for your next project, whether you're making a beanie, some mittens, a sweater or the waist & cuffs of a cardigan.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Cheers and happy crocheting!