4 Interesting Alternatives to the Classic Ribbed Trim

Simple knits are the best knits - wouldn’t you agree? They are the ones that get worn the most and fit effortlessly into our wardrobes.

I’m pleased to notice a movement towards this kind of pattern - several of my Instagram friends are knitting the No Frills Sweater right now and I can totally see why. Wouldn’t it be the easiest thing to throw on day-to-day?

But what makes a simple sweater beautiful - not boring? Look at any of the more wearable designer sweaters on Net-a-Porter and you will see that the beauty is in the details and more often than not, the trim.

Whilst a simple ribbed trim can be a thing of beauty, there is a whole world of alternatives out there that many of us don’t even think about.

In today’s blog post, I will share some of my favourite trims, curated on my “Detailing” Pinterest board, as well as my own knitted interpretations of those trims. I hope that these examples will inspire you to experiment with your own trim ideas.


4 Extra-Special Knitted Trim Ideas

Ribbing with Cables

Source: Unknown. Please let me know if you know who the maker is!

Source: Unknown. Please let me know if you know who the maker is!

There is so much to love about this image I found on Pinterest: the colour, the neatly twisted rib, the eyelets and the subtle cable twists. Adding cables to a ribbed trim is a simple way to set it apart. It can look especially effective when the cables continue into the main body of the fabric, although as you can see here, it looks amazing with simple stockinette.

I played around with a simple 3 stitch cable, which flows beautifully out of the 1 x 1 rib. Because I was only working with a tiny swatch, my ribbing is not very deep. I think it would look better with a bit of extra length, particularly below the cabling.

Sandwich (Folded) Trim with Contrasting Inner

Source: Theory

I love subtle details like this - they are like secrets that only the wearer knows about! In the commercial knitwear industry, we call this a "sandwich" trim, which is essentially a folded trim or one that has been knitted in the round. Notice how the grey and white sections are not equally split; the grey section is a couple of rows longer than the white section so that, when it is folded, the white doesn't poke through.

A sandwich trim is best worked in a finer yarn, such as fingering weight. This sample was knit up in DK weight yarn and even this feels a little bulky. I love the pop of a contrasting colour, but it can be worked in single colour, as I did in my Fragment t-shirt.

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Twisted Rib with Brioche

Source: Extremity Japan

This is such a fantastic idea - I wish I'd thought of it myself! As you might have noticed from some of my patterns, I love to use mismatched ribs in my trims, but this adds a whole new dimension. In these trims, they have combined a neat, twisted rib with plush brioche. The resulting bands of texture are very pleasing.

The original sweater is knitted on the machine, so naturally, the effect when handknitted is a little different. The two stitches flow into one another to create a wave of squishy dimension in the centre of the ribbing. It makes for messy edges, but when seamed or knitted in the round, that wouldn't be a problem.

Shaped Ribbing

Source: Tse, Fall 2016

Source: Tse, Fall 2016

What an interesting take on a classic ribbed trim! I love the depth of the trim and how it extends into the body of the sweater using clever shaping. Whilst triangular shapes would be the easiest to create, what about scallop shapes? That would look very pretty.

In my swatch, I moved sections of the 1x1 rib inwards to create a narrow point. I like it when stitches flow into one another like that. This would also look great if the panels moving inwards were stockinette or even some kind of lacework. There are lots of ways to play with this idea.

A Quick Word of Caution

If you are working with a garment that already has a lot going on, a basic ribbed trim might be all that it needs.

My former boss often used to tell us that, in order to design a stand out piece of knitwear, it should have something that sets it apart: an unusual yarn choice, a fantastic stitch, an interesting construction or a truly gorgeous trim.

To include all of these in one garment may detract from its beauty. You are better off focusing on one or two instead.



If you prefer to work from instructions rather than come up with your own, I have created a PDF with five trim ideas you can use on your next sweater.
All you need to do is sign up to my newsletter, The Sisterhood, and you can download it straight away.