How to Knit With Ribbon Yarn

Written by cynthia myers
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Ribbon yarn lends a satiny sheen and interesting texture to decorative items and accessories. Considered a novelty yarn, ribbon yarn is most popular for smaller projects such as vests or purses, or used as an accent for shawls or sweaters. Ribbon yarn comes in many colours and may be made of cotton, silk, polyester or a blend. Some knitters consider ribbon yarn difficult to work with, but a few tips can make this decorative yarn easier to handle.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Knitting needles
  • Sewing needle and thread

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  1. 1

    Cast on your ribbon yarn as you would yarn for any other knit garment. Keep your cast on stitches loose and leave a long tail to safeguard against your beginning stitches bunching or unravelling.

  2. 2

    Let go of any need to keep the ribbon from twisting. Ribbon yarn twists. That is its nature. Trying to keep it flat as you knit is a lost cause.

  3. 3

    Knit the stitches, not the joining threads between the bands of ribbon. Many ribbon yarns are made of separate threads running lengthwise and crosswise. If you don't pay attention, it is easy to knit between these threads, but it's important to knit the entire stitch and not part of the stitch.

  4. 4

    Cast off stitches loosely when the garment is finished. The stiff, multi-thread nature of many ribbon yarns makes it difficult to weave in the ends after you've finished a project. A more secure method is to take a needle and thread and tack the ends of the ribbon yarn to the wrong side of the knitted fabric.

Tips and warnings

  • Use very smooth-pointed needles, such as Adi brand needles, These will slip through the stitches more easily and are less likely to get caught between the threads of stitches.
  • If you find your ribbon yarn wants to unroll from the skein too quickly, you can put the ball of yarn in the cut-off bottom of a two-liter plastic soda or water bottle to keep the ball from rolling around the room.
  • Instead of winding ribbon yarn into a ball, wrap it around a rectangular piece of cardboard. This will help the ribbon to lie flatter as you knit.

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