Learn how to crochet ribbing with this easy tutorial. There are times when your crochet work just needs a nice rib to finish it off attractively or when you just need a bit of stretch, such as on the bottom of crochet beanie hats, or if you are making garments such as pullovers or cardigans. What follows are instructions for a number of different types and styles of crochet rib.
How to Crochet Ribbing Tutorial
When working a rib in a crochet, you need to work sideways, so that your rows of crochet resemble the rows of a knitting ribbing. Knit ribbing uses a combination of knit and purl stitches to create vertical ribs.
Some crochet ribs use only one stitch, others use a combination of stitches. You will notice that your crochet rib has a right side and a wrong side where the ribs are more pronounced. Because your ribs are worked sideways, your foundation chain will be the length that you want the depth of your rib to be. If this sounds a little confusing, keep calm, (and crochet on!) the pictures will show you what I mean!
Crocheted Rib Stitch Abbreviations
All crochet ribbing stitches and all instructions are written in US terms.
- Ch - chain stitch crochet
- Sc - single crochet
- Sl st - slip stitch crochet
- Hdc - half double crochet
- Blo - back loop only
- Fphdc - front post half double crochet
- 3rd loop - third loop
Tips for Crochet Rib Stitch
Because ribbed edgings are intended to ‘pull in’ the fabric to make it fit snugly it is a good idea to work your rib with a hook half a size or one size smaller than what you used for the main part of the project. See my full article on crochet hook sizes.
5 Types of Crochet Ribbing
Here I will show you 5 types of crochet ribbing. By using different stitches, you can vary the width between the ribs.
- Single crochet ribbing
- Half double crochet ribbing
- Single and half double crochet ribbing
- Single and slip stitch ribbing
- Front post half double crochet ribbing
Half double crochet ribbing is the one most often seen in crochet pattterns.
How to Crochet Ribbing - Step by Step Instructions
Method 1 - Single Crochet Ribbing
This method is the easiest and uses single crochet stitches into the back loops of the previous row.
- Foundation: Create a foundation chain the depth of your rib.
- Row 1: Sc in second chain from hook, and then in each chain across. Ch1, turn.
- Row 2: Sc, blo in each stitch across. Ch1, turn.
BACK LOOP ONLY (blo) - To work a back loop only, insert your hook into the back loop of the previous row of stitches, instead of inserting it through both loops, as you usually would. In this picture, the needle is inserted into the back loop. I have flipped the piece over so you could see clearly. That is where you will insert the hook.
You can see that all those front loops which you haven’t used are creating a nice ridge, which is what gives that rib-like appearance.
- Row 3+: Now repeat row 2 until the ribbing reaches across your garment, slightly stretched. Keep checking your number of stitches, so that your rib doesn’t get wider or narrower!
While you are crocheting, the rib will look like the photo below. When you are going to attach the ribbing, you must turn it around so the ribs are vertical.
Method 2 - Half Double Crochet Ribbing
This version has the appearance of a wider rib than the single crochet ribbing. Half double crochet (hdc) is one more step than single crochet (sc), and one less step than double crochet (dc).
How to Do HDC
Here is a refresher on how to do hdc:
- Step 1: Make your foundation chain. The turning chain for hdc is 2 ch. Add these extra 2 ch to your foundation chain.
- Step 2: Yarn over, insert your hook into the third chain from the hook. (Don’t count the chain which is on the hook.)
- Step 3: Yarn over (yo) again. (Note: This is the same movement as if you were making a double crochet stitch. If you were doing single crochet, there would be no yarn over. This extra wrap of yarn is what adds height to your hdc stitch.)
- Step 4: Draw up a loop. (There should be 3 loops on your hook.)
- Step 5: Yarn over again.
- Step 6: Draw this last loop through all 3 loops on your hook at once.
You will see that in making this stitch you cut out a step from the double crochet stitch. In dc, you would only draw your hook through 2 loops, then yarn over and draw through again. Here you just finish the whole stitch off quickly by drawing through all 3 loops on your hook at once.
How to do HDC Crochet Ribbing (Stretchy Crochet Ribbing)
Now to create the hdc ribbing:
- Work your foundation chain, as long as the depth of the rib.
- Hdc into each chain across the row. Ch1, turn.
- Hdc into the back of the 3rd loop all across the row, ch1, turn. This also creates a nice ridge on your work.
How to find the 3rd loop: If you look at your work from the top, the hdc st has what looks like 2 V’s at the top. The very back loop of that second V is the 3rd loop.
- Repeat until rib is the required length. Do be sure that you work into the very last hdc of the row! That 3rd loop likes to hide away at the back, and it is easy to miss the last one in the row. Keep checking your stitch count.
Method 3 - Half Double Crochet And Single Crochet Ribbing
This crochet ribbing uses a combination of hdc and sc stitches.
- Foundation: Work your foundation ch, as wide as you want the depth of your rib.
- Row1: Sc in each ch across, ch1, turn.
- Row 2: Hdc, blo in each stitch across the row. Ch1, turn.
- Row 3: Sc into 3rd loop of each st, across the row. Ch1, turn. (See above for finding the 3rd loop.)
- Rows 4+: Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your rib is the required length.
Method 4 - Single Crochet And Slip Stitch Ribs
I think that this one resembles a knit rib the most!
- Foundation: Create foundation ch, as wide as you want the depth of your rib.
- Row1: Sc in each ch across the row. Ch1, turn.
- Row 2: Sl st, blo across the row, ch1, turn. You will need to make your sl sts extra loose, or they will bunch up and not be flat and smooth.
SLIP STITCH - Insert the hook into the back loop, yarn over and pull through a loop (2 loops on hook.) Then draw the second loop through the first loop. (1 loop on the hook.)
- Row 3: Sc blo across the whole row, ch1, turn.
- Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your rib is the desired length.
Method 5 - Front Post Hdc and Single Crochet
This method uses hdc crocheted into the front post stitches and single crochet stitches.
- Foundation: Create foundation ch, as wide as you want the depth of your rib.
- Row 1: Sc into each ch st across the row, ch1, turn.
- Row 2: Fphdc around each sc from row1, ch1, turn.
HOW TO DO FPHDC (Front post half double crochet) - Here is a reminder on how to do fphdc. Instead of inserting the hook into the top of the sc stitches, you must insert it through the ‘post’ of the sc stitches. The ‘post’ is the vertical part of the stitch which gives the stitch its height. In this picture, you can see how I have inserted the hook through the post.
- Row 3: Sc across the whole row, ch1, turn. Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the rib is the length that you need.
How To Join Crochet Ribbing
Method 1: Join as You Go Crochet Ribbing Border
Once you have tried out the various types of rib, and are confident with the chosen method of making the rib, you can start making your actual rib. Then, as you complete every second row, work 2 sl sts to join the rib band onto the main body of the fabric.
It works like this:
- Make the foundation chain then insert the hook into the edge of body.
- Sl st to attach the base of the chain to your item.
- Work the next row of rib.
- Work back to where you are joining the rib onto the fabric.
- When you get back to the ‘joining edge’, work 2 sl sts into the next st of the main fabric.
- Keep going in this manner until you have reached the end of your fabric, which will also be the end of the rib.
Method 2: Create a Separate Rib, then Join.
- Crochet your whole rib as a separate piece. Make sure it will fit onto your garment with a tiny bit of stretch.
- Line up the edge of the garment and the rib, right sides together. Whip stitch the rib into place.
- OR Line up the edges of garment and rib, and sl st the two pieces together. Keep your sl sts loose so that the crochet doesn’t bunch up.
Crochet Ribbing - In Conclusion
Now you know how to crochet a fabric that actually looks and feels very similar to a knitted rib stitch. It will work well on anything which will look good with a rib added to it- such as hats, socks, sleeve cuffs, glove and mitten cuffs, and hems and collars for sweaters and cardigans. You can add a lovely finishing touch to your crocheted garment.
How to Crochet Ribbing
- Crochet Hook
- Work your foundation chain, as long as the depth of the rib. Half double crochet into each chain across the row.
- Chain 1, and turn. Find the back loop. (see where the silver hook is inserted)
- Half double crochet into the back loop all across the row,
- Chain1, turn. Repeat until the crochet ribbing is the required length.