This isn’t a tutorial on ribber use…. but just a few random little tidbits that I keep in mind while using the ribber.
1. If I want to keep knitting between socks instead of running the completed sock off the knitter, I knit about 20 rows of scrap yarn. Then I place my heel fork as shown, about 15 rows down from the top. The photo is taken from the side, so the fork tines are just inside the yellow heel markings. I hang a single weight, and I add a little very light pressure with my hand on the weight. This works for me to keep the downward tension even all around the cylinder. If the fork was much higher then there would be a loose tension area at the mid point between the two tines, which could result in missed stitches.
When knitting a hem top instead of a rib top I don’t use the heel fork. I just hold on to the finished toe below the scrap yarn and, with visual clues, can keep my tension even. Using the fork/weight for a rib top allows me to keep my focus on the ribber while it is in work.
2. I start each sock with all the needles in the cylinder, and on scrap yarn, regardless of starting a first sock, or carrying on after a finished sock. You can see I’ve got the retention spring pulled out from the cylinder onto the little holder bit on the outer cam shell. This allows taking each cylinder needle out without having to pry it from behind the spring. I just place ribber needles in the empty horizontal slots, and then transfer a cylinder stitch by lifting it right onto the ribber needle. You may note that I’m using the Verdun 47 in my examples. The Verdun Ribber Dial (the thing with the horizontal slots) is sized so that the ribber needles protrude over the edge of the dial by about 1/8″. In this case, I find transferring the stitches as described works best for me.
(On the Legare, the ribber needles do not protrude over the edge and that makes me prone to dropping a stitch mid transfer, so I use a different method in that case. I’ll try to remember to take a pic of that.)
3. I switch from scrap yarn to sock yarn at the right side red hash mark. Here I’ve got the terminal tail of the scrap yarn going forward under the first cylinder needle and I’ve got the sock yarn going backwards under that same needle. ie the yarns cross. I always knit with the heel spring in action, so that is why you see there is no slack in my yarns. I pull upwards gently, just enough to prevent the heel spring from pulling the yarn out before I get knitting. If you pull to strongly it is easy to pop the rib stitches at the red arrow and then, well, you have a mess!
4. Once I’ve knit a half dozen or so stitches I stop and pull my ends (the terminal end of the scrap yarn and the leading end of the good yarn) into the cylinder. Its difficult to see this but at the red arrow – reach up from underneath the cylinder with a latch hook so that it sticks out at my first good-yarn stitch. I snag the tails with that hook and pull them down inside, out of the way.
5. Tension and Selvedge. What ever tension setting I would use with a particular sock yarn, I set my tension 1/4 turn LOOSER than that. To knit my selvedge, I knit one row with the ribber engaged, two rows with it disengaged, and then re-engage. When I re-engage the ribber that is when I tighten the tension 1/4 turn so it is now at ‘normal’ for what ever yarn I’m working.
The reason I do that little tension fudging is that it makes re-engaging the ribber much easier. I knit at a pretty high tension, and with the heel spring always in work, and that can make moving the little off-on switch jam. The bit looser tension seems to solve that problem for me. With a less stretchy yarn like a silk or bamboo, I may loosen even a bit more.
So these are some little things that are part of my knitting routine and I find that keeping these things in mind makes for things going tickety boo.