Thursday, 30 October 2014

Belcarra Ribbing

The final stages of the Belcarra Cardigan: crocheting ribbing around the edges and on the cuffs.

I have lots of photos to share and a pattern idea for learning how to make crochet ribbing.

The ribbing of this cardigan is created by rows of double crochet (US sc) stitches worked into back loops.

Working into the back loops gives a stretchy fabric.  To find out for yourself, try making a headband using double crochet in the back loop only (dc blo).

A Basic Ribbed Headband

Headbands are a great way to practise ribbing.
Beaded Headband, March 2007
The number of stitches in your foundation row will determine the width of the headband.

Keep adding rows until the headband is the length you need to fit around the wearer's head comfortably.

Stitch the two short ends together. You can crochet slip stitches through both end rows before fastening off; or fasten off first and use the loose end to join the end rows with regular sewing stitches.

Double crochet stitches will produce narrow ribbing.  
Try using longer stitches.

The headband pictured above was made using half treble crochet stitches, working into back loops only (htr blo).

Beads were added at random along alternate rows in the central section. The beaded section was approximately two-thirds of the total headband length. See Pattern Details below for more information.

I am loathe to block ribbing because I fear it will remove the stretch.  Have you had any experience with this? I really should make some ribbed swatches and do some experiments but haven't had a chance at the time of writing.  I just want to get the cardigan done!

Cardigan Ribbing

I began the ribbing at the centre of the back bottom edge, working my way out from the edge and then turning to come back to the cardigan edge; 
in and out, building each row by working into the back loops of the preceding row.

In this photograph, the bottom edge of the cardigan is not quite straight. My tension was a bit loose and uneven which has caused a slight ruffle effect. I hope that the ribbing will disguise this.

I also noticed that the outside edge of my ribbed rows were beginning to curl.

Again, I have faith that the curl will be brought into line when I get right around the cardigan and join up the last row with the first one.

Another view of the curl.

In case you are wondering, I have not made any colour adjustments or applied any flash photography or special effects to these pictures.

The yarn appears to be glowing in some of these photos and I think it is the way the nylon has taken up the dye which is a very rich purple, and it has created a saturated colour effect by itself.  I have not been able to create an accurate colour representation on any of the photos so far.

Working across the bottom edge from the centre back towards the right front.

The side seam between front and back sections is visible.

When I am crocheting, I look at it from this angle!

Approaching the corner: what do I do when I get there?

Usually when making a border to go around corners, a few extra stitches need to be added to prevent the border from being too tight and pulling and puckering the fabric at the corner.

I wasn't sure what to do.  I consulted my "Around the Corner Crochet Borders" book by Edie Eckman.

In border patterns that are joined at the end of rows, like this ribbing, a few extra rows were added at the corner.  Should I close up the spacing between rib rows when I join them to the cardigan?

Danger!  Overthinking!  The pattern gives no special instructions for ribbing around the corners. Nevertheless I tried to reduce the spacing between rib rows only to realise that it didn't matter. 

There was so much stretch and flexibility in each row,  I could continue joining each row around the corner just as I had been joining them across the back with no need to change the spacing between joins.

Where the ribbing is close to the fabric (its 'inside' row edge), it is at its regular 'resting' tension. 

Towards the outside edge, the stretchy ribbing fanned out to compensate for turning the corner–no puckering. 

If anything, the tension created by the stretch helps the cardigan to hug the body of the wearer–cosy!

It is beginning to look like a proper cardigan now with ribbing from the centre back, around the first outside corner and along the right front panel.

Next challenge: the inside corner around the neckline!

Post Scriptum: This must be the month to tackle ribbing! While this post was being prepared, Elisabeth Andrée (Andrée to friends and family) of About Crochet blog posted about "How to Crochet a Stretchy Ribbing Fabric". Although Andrée uses US crochet terms, she is based in the Netherlands.  Her blog has a number of clear photo examples of ribbing for you.

Andrée is featured in Kathryn Vercillo's book, Crochet Saved My Life which explores the mental and physical benefits of crochet.   Learn more about Andrée and the other contributors on Kathryn's web site Crochet Concupiscence.


blo - work into back loops only

dc - Australian/UK double crochet (US single crochet) stitch

htr - half treble crochet (US half double) stitch

sc - US single crochet (Aust/UK double crochet) stitch

tr - Australian/UK treble crochet (US double crochet) stitch

Pattern Details

Beaded Headband
Pattern: "Crochet Headbands" article, Get Creative magazine, January 2007 issue, page 16,, Spotlight Australia
Yarn: 4 ply craft cotton
Hook: 3.5 mm hook
Notions: 40 beads
16 chain foundation = 15 ch wide + 1 turning chain = 5 cm / 2 inches
No beads for 15 rows. Bead alternate rows for 34 rows then no beads for last 15 rows.
Total rows = 64 row = 40.5 cm / 16 inches.

Belcarra Cardigan
Belcarra Cardigan, designed by Robyn Chachula, Interweave Crochet, magazine, Winter 2010:


About Crochet, blog by Elisabeth Andrée:

Crochet Concupiscence blog by Kathryn Vercillo:

Eckman, Edie, Around the Corner Crochet Borders, 150 colorful, creative crocheted edgings with charts & instructions for turning the corner perfectly every time, ISBN 978-1-60342-538-4, Storey Publishing,, 210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247, USA, 2010.

Elisabeth Andrée, "About Me", web page, About Crochet blog:

Elisabeth Andrée, "How to Crochet a Stretchy Ribbing Fabric",blog entry, About Crochet, 24 October 2014:

Vercillo, Kathryn, Crochet Saved My Life, ISBN/EAN13: 1478190450 / 9781478190455, self-published, 1 July 2012:

Vercillo, Kathryn, "Meet the Amazing Women who Hook to Heal", blog post, Crochet Concupiscence, 17 July 2012:

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"Blocking Belcarra Cardigan", 16 October 2014:

"Belcarra Cardigan: Neck & Neck", 8 October 2014:

"Belcarra Beginnings", 21 August 2014:


  1. That ribbing looks amazing. I've only done a little bit of crochet rib but haven't gone as far as you have. It looks really great - well done!

    1. Welcome Gillian, it is so lovely to see you here! :-)

      Thanks for your lovely compliment.

      I was hoping the ribbing would disguise the uneven hem at the back but I fear it will just emphasise it. We will find out eventually... Do you block your ribbing? I have a vague inkling that blocking ribbing will take out all of the stretch so one shouldn't do it. Until I find out otherwise, I will not block it.

      What project does your crochet rib belong to? I would like to have a look.


  2. Wow! When i saw the first pics i had no idea what you where adding to the cardian.... the later pics awed me though! Looks amazing!

    Take care

    1. Thank you, Anne! I am sorry if my cardigan plans haven't been clear. The pattern features on Ravelry and on Interweave Crochet's Crochet Me website (
      I must admit that I am pleased with the result so far, and the ribbing feels nice too.
      The cuffs are also ribbed but not as wide.

    2. No worries, it was probably just me not reading carefully enough :P Thanks for the link!

    3. I will repeat the pattern details in the Reference list in my next post about the progress of Belcarra Cardigan

  3. Hi Jodie! Thanks for sharing your step by step explanations! It is lovely to see how your cardigan is being transformed by adding the rib! It looks really amazing! I can't wait to see it finished, so good luck with your crocheting!!! :)
    Ingrid xx

    1. Hi Ingrid, I hope the step-by-step has been helpful. I hope that it will be helpful for me if I want to make another Belcarra Cardigan, to remind me of the pitfalls.
      What rib do you prefer - knit or crochet? If knit, is there a particular rib pattern that you prefer or use the most? I am very interested to learn about these things from other people's viewpoints.
      Thank you for your positive feedback.

  4. Very interesting to see how you are working on this. xx

    1. G'day Amy, Welcome! It is always nice to see new faces and comments.
      I love the title of your blog, by the way and pop by regularly.

      With many things happening in your busy life, I appreciate the time you have taken to leave me a friendly note. Are you making or planning to make a cardigan or similar garment? If so, I hope this series of blog posts are helpful.

      Take care