Fisherman’s rib is currently very hip. While the trend is focussed on the fisherman’s rib, there are other variants of the knitting pattern. I’ll show you how you can knit a nice pattern with half the effort for a true fisherman’s rib. I look closely to the half fisherman’s rib, show you tips and tricks and how to knit increases and decreases in the pattern.
Fisherman’s rib – or brioche – is one of the most popular stitch patterns at the moment. But most people only know the full fisherman’s rib. There are four main types of patent patents: true fisherman’s rib, half fisherman’s rib, mock fisherman’s rib and Netzpatent.
The true and half fisherman’s rib have the distinctive, thick ribs in common. Both are voluminous and warm. You have to knit two rows until you can see a row. As a result, much more yarn is consumed than, for example, in the case of stockinette stitch. The additional yarn creates a zigzag in the depth, which can be seen on both sides.
The pattern is not firm – which isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. It can easily spread in the width and the increased weight can also change the length.
What you’ll learn
- Selvedge stitches
- Two different ways how to knit true / half fisherman’s rib
- Half fisherman’s rib in rows
- Half fisherman’s rib in rounds
Common abbreviations in Brioche and half fisherman’s rib knitting
brk brioche knit: knit the stitch together with its yarn over
k1b knit one st in the row below
sl1yo with yarn in front, slip the next stitch purlwise and yarn over
Comparison true and half fisherman’s rib
I take a closer look at the true and half fisherman’s rib. Both stitch patterns look the same at first sight. But if you look more closely, the differences are recognizable.
True fisherman’s rib – or brioche
The true fisherman’s rib (1 + 2) looks the same on both sides. It is knitted as follows:
Set-up row (WS): (K1, sl1yo) to last stitch, k1.
Row 1 (RS): P1, brk, (sl1yo, brk) to last stitch, p1.
Row 2 (WS): (K1, sl1yo) to last stitch, k1.
Half fisherman’s rib – or half brioche
The name half fisherman’s rib (3 + 4) expresses exactly what you do: half of the true fisherman’s rib. You knit alternately a row of true fisherman’s rib and a row or round (k1, p1) **.
In contrast to the true fisherman’s rib, the half fisherman’s rib doesn’t look the same on both sides. The “restless” side (4) is the wrong side. The front of the half fisherman’s rib (3) looks similar to the true fisherman’s rib. On the basis of the stitches between the “V” s and the wrong side, however, you can see whether it is a true or half fisherman’s rib.
In the case of fisherman’s rib, I recommend the use of a stretchy cast-on such as, for example, the provisional tubular cast-on.
If you knit in rows, cast on an odd stitch number. When you knit in rounds, cast on an even stitch number.
For a simple selvedge stitch, I recommend knitting the selvedge stitches as follows:
Row 1 (RS): P1, […], p1.
Row 2 (WS): K1, […], k1.
If you want a nice edging, like for a scarf or a shawl in a fisherman’s rib, I recommend knitting the following selvedge – like an I-cord edge: don’t knit the first and last 3 stitches in the fisherman’s rib stitch pattern. Knit the knit stitches and slip the purl stitches purlwise with the yarn in front of the work like follows:
Row 1 (RS): Sl1 wyif, k1, sl1 wyif, […], sl1 wyif, k1, sl1 wyif.
Row 2 (WS): K1, sl1 wyif, k1, […], k1, sl1 wyif, k1.
If you’re knitting cardigans or sweaters in a fisherman’s rib, you will need a firm edge to sew the pieces together later. I recommend in this case the first and last stitch to purl. This gives a firm nodal margin. An odd number of stitches is applied to the individual parts. The stitches next to the edge stitches should be purl stitches on the front. With the mattress stitch, you insert the needle in the middle of the purl stitches of the two parts. After sewing, the seam is hardly recognizable as it’s recessed in the knitting fabric.
Two different ways how to knit true / half fisherman’s rib
As with the true fisherman’s rib, the stitch pattern can also be knitted in two different ways: stitched in the row below – also known as the French brioche – or with yarn overs and slipped stitches.
For the stitched in the row below stitches, you drop a stitch. Keep in mind that this causes difficulties with certain effect yarns because the stitch doesn’t drop.
When the stitches are slipped – no matter if in the row below or paired with the yarn over, the stitches appear only in every second row as V. If, for example, you have to count the rows for a gauge, count the Vs and double the number. This results in the number of rows or rounds you knitted.
Half fisherman’s rib in rows
To knit the half fisherman’s rib in rows, you cast on an odd number of stitches.
Half fisherman’s rib in rounds
To knit the half fisherman’s rib in rounds, you cast on an even number of stitches.
Round 1: (k1, p1) to the end.**
Round 2: (k1b, p1) to the end.
Repeat these two rounds.
If you work the half fisherman’s rib in rounds with stitches stitched in the row below, you can sometimes forget in which round you are. In this case, look at the knit stitches more closely.
If there are two threads around the knit stitch from the round below, then you should knit the next stitches and you’re in round 1: (k1, p1).
Set-up round: (sl1yo, p1) to the end.
Round 1: (Brk, p1) to the end.
Round 2: (Sl1yo, p1) to the end.
Repeat rounds 1-2.
**Because in fisherman’s rib with stitches stitched in the row below, in every second row / round is every other stitch dropped, it doesn’t matter how you work the stitch to be dropped.
Knitted in rows, this looks as follows: You knit the WS row (k1, p1) or knit all stitches.
Knitted in rounds, this looks as follows: In round 1 you knit either (k1, p1) or purl all stitches.
Decreases in half fisherman’s rib
The half fisherman’s rib (as well as the true fisherman’s rib) is composed of two stitches. To keep the stitch pattern, 2 stitches are decreased simultaneously. The decreases are always worked over k1, p1, k1 stitches on the right side. The last knitted stitch is a purl stitch.
left leaning decreases
right leaning decreases
Increases in half fisherman’s rib
As with the decreases, two stitches are increased at the same time to maintain the stitch pattern. However, compared to the decreases, the increases don’t lean in one specific direction.
Step 1: Insert the right needle in the knit stitch with its yarn over.
Step 2: Knit one stitch – but don’t drop the stitch from the left needle.
Step 3: Make a yarn over.
Step 4: Repeat step 2 once again through the same stitch. After the third stitch has been worked, drop the stitch on the left needle.