A group of knit fabrics with vertical ridges—called ribs—alternating on the face and reverse. The rib knits are further defined by the width of the ribs.
Wales alternate on both sides of the knit (rib stitch), created by two rows of needles—one knitting wales on the face, the other on the reverse. Plain rib is 1 × 1; 2 × 2 rib (also called Swiss rib) is made with 2 wales drawn to the face and 2 wales drawn to the back. Shaker rib or shaker stitch is a plain rib of heavier yarn. 1 × 1 alternating with 2 × 2 is known as accordion rib. Poor boy rib is 2 × 3 or 3 × 1.
Made of any fiber and in a variety of weights, all rib knits are to varying degrees thicker and more insulating than plain knits. They also have the kind of elasticity that makes a good choice for cuffs and waistbands. They are more expensive to produce than plain knits.
Uses: Sweaters, details (such as sleeve cuffs) of sweaters and woven-fabric items, socks, underwear