This cast on (on any ribber) is capable of giving a softer, looser start and is good for fabrics that stretch. When experimenting, check the alignment of needles physically before proceeding for knitting rib on all needles. In Brother machines, the racking grip handle is used in creating “racking patterns”. By turning the grip handle the ribber bed is moved to the right or to the left. The racking position is indicated on the racking indicator. Usually casting on is begun with the indicator in the center position, #5. As indicator numbers rise the ribber moves to left, as they decrease the ribber moves to the right. The two cursors can be moved and set to use as an index of the racking range. I prefer to track racking positions in other ways ie. with punchcard markings when possible. The arrows L and R indicate the racking movement and will change position after each handle turn reversing direction is completed. The pitch is set to accommodate rib configurations. In P position needles on each bed “plain and purl” are directly opposite each other and in a collision course. If EON (every other needle) on each bed is in use, then this position is used to center needles on opposite beds between each other. In position H the ribber needles are centered between two main bed needles. For the every needle rib cast on in my sample I began with racking indicator on 6, COR, knit zigzag row to Left. Note: at the start of the process, on the left side, the first needle is in work on the top bed.The ribber is then racked to position 7. The first needle on the left is now in work on the ribberA row is knit from left to rightThe ribber is then racked back to its original position (6). The first needle on the left will once again be on the top bed, the first needle on the ribber to its right Continue in planned rib.
Often manuals give suggestions as to the “needle rule” for each type of rib. The sequence below is knit on a Passap. It, in theory, would produce a 2X1 “industrial rib that could transition to every needle or main bed knitting without any holes at the transition point. Note here there is a needle in work between each pair of needles on the opposing bed.
“zigzag” row, normal needle position: work slowly, make certain all needles have picked up yarn
hang comb: the first needle is in work on the back bed on far left rack one full turn to the right: the first needle in work on the front bed is now on far left
knit one row rack back to the original position, continue plain rib There are sources online including videos that recommend circular rows at this point, they are actually unnecessary. The other recommendation made by many after any ribber cast on is for 3 circular rows. There is no need for the third circular row. It will actually create a visible line across one side of the rib, that is noticeable, and may not be wanted if it is on the “public” side of the finished garment. To fill in potential holes produced when empty needles are brought back into work, bring all empty needles into work, tuck one row across both beds, making certain loops are formed on each needle knit 2 rows circular slowly, some needles hold 3 loops of yarn, switch to ENR rib
the result at rest
rib stretchedGoing for a rib with more of a 2X2 look: set up needles for rib pattern, there are still 2 needles in work, one not, on each bed. The empty needle space is now at the center of each pair of needles on the opposite bed
rack one full turn to the right, knit one row hang comb and weights rack back again to “needle rule” position Knit one row at final setting, proceed for ribat the top of the rib knit 2 rows circular, proceed on EN rib
tension adjustments may make a big difference, my samples have been knit at the same tension throughout, and single-ply throughout
the first rib at rest stretched both instances produce a reversible rib
Some experimenting is required to achieve cast on rows in the rib that are not too loose or too tight. In this instance there has to be enough slack in the loops so that there is room for racking one full turn, too much will leave loops. Loops created by cast-ons with deliberately large stitch sizes may, in turn, be chained off with a latch tool. The stretch factor and weight of the resulting rib also need to be in balance with the remaining knit fabric. If “improvising” it is always advisable to keep good notes. Most publications and how-tos are really guidelines, starting points for investigating what may be the best method to use in any one piece.