How to Make the Broken Rib Knit Stitch: Beginner-Friendly Tutorial

by Janice Jones     |Published 11-01-2023

The Broken Rib Knit Stitch is a lovely form of the 1x1 rib that can be worked on either an even or an odd number of stitches.  It's truly beginner-friendly as it only requires that you know how to make knit and purl stitches.  No other skills required.

It is a two-row repeat that creates a fabric that is stretchy as well as highly textured.  It's reversible, but the front and back are not exactly identical.

This pattern lies flat, and looks great on either side.  You can use it on any project where a rib is indicated.  Consider this stitch on sweaters, shawls, cowls, scarves, headbands, or hats.  You can also choose this pattern as a stand alone pattern for blankets, washcloths, pillow covers, or table runners.

Broken rib knit stitch on needles showing the right side of swatch

Broken Rib Knit Stitch:  Characteristics

  • You can knit the broken rib knit stitch with any number of even or odd stitches
  • Reversible but not identical on both sides
  • Stretchy, but not as stretchy as some rib patterns
  • Lies flat
  • Beginner-friendly

Reversible but Not Identical

I thought I should explain myself a little better.  Both sides of the Broken rib knit stitch pattern look great but they do not look the same. 

This makes for an interesting project.  For example if you want to make a scarf with this stitch, go for it!  Know that you may end up with two scarves in one depending on how you arrange the scarf on your neck.

A close up view of the broken rib knit stitch, right side, worked in greenThe right side of the broken rib knit stitch pattern. It looks similar to the 1 x 1 rib stitch.
The wrong side of the broken rib knit stitch worked in greenThis is the wrong side of the broken rib knit stitch. Does this remind you of anything?

When you examine the wrong side of the pattern, you might wonder if you have seen this before somewhere.  If so, you are so right! 

Take a look at the swatch below.

The knit sand stitch, right side knitted in a green, 100% cottonThe Knit Sand Stitch is similar to the wrong side of the broken rib pattern

While not identical the sand stitch is very close.  The pattern used to make the sand stitch is also a two row repeat.

Cast on multiples of 2 + 1.

Row 1:  Purl across

Row 2: K1, *P1, K1*

Learn more about the knit sand stitch and take advantage of a free dish or face cloth pattern.

Knitting Skills Needed

This is one of the easiest stitch pattern to master because it is a two row repeat that is completely made up of knit and purl stitches.

How to make the Knit stitch

How to make the Purl stitch

Cast On

Bind Off

Weave in Ends

Abbreviations Used

K = Knit

P = Purl

CO = Cast on

BO = Bind off

*   * = Repeat the instructions between the astricks 

RS = Right Side

WS = Wrong Side

You can work this pattern on either an odd or even number of stitches.  My preference is to work it on an odd number.  I think the edges look more professional this way.

Broken rib knit stitch showing sides of the swatch worked on an odd number of stitches

Broken Rib Knit Stitch Worked on an Odd Number of Stitches

Here's the repeat for flat projects worked on an odd number of stitches.

Row 1:  (RS) Knit across

Row 2:  (WS) *p1, k1*, p1

Repeat these two rows over and over again until you reach your desired length.

Bind off in pattern, weave in ends.

Broken Rib Knit Stitch Worked on an Even Number of Stitches

It's also possible to work the broken rib knit stitch on an even number of stitches.

Row 1: (RS) Knit across

Row 2: (WS) *K1, p1; repeat from * to end of row

Repeat these two rows over and over again until you reach your desired length.

Bind off in pattern, weave in ends.

Learn to Read Knit Charts

This stitch is very beginner-friendly, but it's never to early to learn how to read knitting charts.  This is how the chart would look if worked flat.

broken rib knit stitch pattern directions in chart form

Broken Rib Knit Stitch Pin for Future Reference

The broken rib knit stitch pin imagePin this image for future reference

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About Janice

Hi, I’m Janice, the voice behind Smart-Knit-Crocheting. I love to knit and crochet and even more, I love teaching others what I know.

Though I learned to knit and crochet as a child, I didn’t get serious about these amazing hobbies until I retired. I’m a certified knit and crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and am working on becoming a Master Hand Knitter through The Knitting Guild Association.

I’m currently living with my husband of over 50 years and our 7 Shih Tzu dogs.

I love hearing from you, so please drop me a line and let me know what you’re working on, whether you love knitting or crocheting more, and if you have any questions. Please visit my about me page for more information.

Happy Crocheting