AskDefine | Define ribbing

Dictionary Definition



1 support resembling the rib of an animal
2 any of the 12 pairs of curved arches of bone extending from the spine to or toward the sternum in humans (and similar bones in most vertebrates) [syn: costa]
3 cut of meat including one or more ribs
4 a teasing remark
5 a riblike supporting or strengthening part of an animal or plant
6 a projecting molding on the underside of a vault or ceiling; may be ornamental or structural


1 form vertical ribs by knitting; "A ribbed sweater"
2 subject to laughter or ridicule; "The satirists ridiculed the plans for a new opera house"; "The students poked fun at the inexperienced teacher"; "His former students roasted the professor at his 60th birthday" [syn: ridicule, roast, guy, blackguard, laugh at, jest at, make fun, poke fun] [also: ribbing, ribbed]ribbing


1 a framework of ribs
2 the act of harassing someone playfully or maliciously (especially by ridicule); provoking someone with persistent annoyances; "he ignored their teases"; "his ribbing was gentle but persistent" [syn: tease, teasing]ribbing See rib

User Contributed Dictionary



Verb form



  1. The action of the verb to rib.
  2. Collectively, the ribs on an object.
  3. An instance of teasing.

Extensive Definition

In knitting, ribbing is a pattern in which vertical stripes of stockinette stitch alternate with vertical stripes of reverse stockinette stitch. These two types of stripes may be separated by other stripes in which knit and purl stitches alternate vertically; such plissé stripes add width and depth to ribbing but not more elasticity.
The number of knit and purl stripes (wales) are generally equal, although they need not be. When they are equal, the fabric has no tendency to curl, unlike stockinette stitch. Such ribbing looks the same on both sides and is useful for garments such as scarves.
Ribbing is notated by (number of knit stitches)x(number of purl stitches). Thus, 1x1 ribbing has one knit stitch, followed by one purl stitch, followed by one knit stitch, and so on.
Ribbing has a strong tendency to contract laterally, forming small pleats in which the purl stitches recede and the knit stitches come forward. Thus, ribbing is often used for cuffs, sweater hems and, more generally, any edge that should be form-fitting. The elasticity depends on the number of knit/purl transitions; 1x1 ribbing is more elastic than 2x2 ribbing, etc. However, some cable patterns may "pull in" more than ribbing (i.e., have a smaller gauge); in such cases, a ribbed border may flare out instead of contracting.
Slip stitches may be added to increase the depth of the ribbing, and to accentuate the stitches of certain wales. For example, the knit stitches can be slipped every other row to double their height and make them come forward.
Ribs can be decorated with nearly any motif used for a plain knitted fabric, e.g., bobbles, cables, lace, various colors, and so on.


  • (2002) Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book, updated ed., Sixth and Spring Books. ISBN 1-931543-16-X
  • (1979) Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, Reader's Digest Association. ISBN 0-89577-059-8
  • Thomas M. (1972) Mary Thomas' Book of Knitting Patterns, Dover. ISBN 0-486-22818-5
  • June Hemmons Hiatt (1988) The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, pp. 21-22, 214. ISBN 0-671-55233-3
ribbing in Swedish: Ribbstickning
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