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Using the Adjustable Multiple Latch Tool (animation may take a minute to load and begin playing)

    This tool can hold up to six latch needles (hooks, latches) at a time, but beginners should always start with just 2 latch needles installed, (which can nearly double your ribbing speed) until they gain skill with the tool.
(view "Setting up the Latch Tool" first, if necessary)

   You can set up your latch tool for any configuration of latches for various purl, ribbing, moss and garter stitch designs. Fewer latches are used for making columns of ribbing, more latches can be used for converting an entire row at a time for garter stitch, seed stitch and so on. (See manual that comes with the Adjustable Multiple Latch Tool for more techniques and information.)
   The hand-manipulated process of making columns of ribbing on flat bed knitting machines that do not have ribbers goes under several different names, "reforming stitches", "reforming columns", "re-latching", "latching-up" "converting to purl" and so on, but the technique is all the same...taking a stitch that was knit from the bed side of the machine, and re-knitting from the person side of the machine.

animation may take a minute to load, please wait for it to begin playing

  • Weave a knitting needle in and out below the area of stitches that you are going to reform. You will hold the knitting downward with this knitting needle, to help hold the stitches open.
  • Insert the latch prongs into the respective stitches of the bottom row that you wish to reform.
  • Drop the stitches off of the needles.
  • Holding down on the knitting needle, and keeping the latch tool parallel with the floor, push forward with the latch tool and catch the rung of the next stitch in the hook of the latch, pull straight backward toward you, pulling the rung through the stitch on the needle.
  • Continue "reforming" the stitches up this column of "stitch ladder rungs" in this manner.
  • (note: the animation skips a row in order to make the picture file faster to load, but for regular ribbing, you would latch up each rung of the column of ladders)

Tips for ribbing

  • If your are doing your ribbing first, before the main part of the garment, it will be easier to reform the stitches if you knit several rows of waste yarn, then one row ravel cord, then your chosen closed edge cast-on.
  • My favorite closed edge cast-on to use for a base for ribbing is the "knitted back e-wrap cast-on", though you can also use various crochet cast-on's also, or even loose basic ewrap cast-on. You can also open edge cast-on, and begin the ribbing on the first row, after a row of ravel cord. You can then go back, pick up the stitches on a knitting needle and hand bind off a perfect edge for your ribbing.
  • Ribbing is often done on the next size tension dial point, or keyplate, down from the body of the garment so that it is tighter. If you using the smallest keyplate that you are able to, you can tighten the stitches a little by adding a little more tension to the yarn as it feeds in, for the ribbing section.
  • Ribbing may seem contorted and pulled-in when done with a latch tool, but after it is removed from the machine, pulling it gently in both directions and soaking the garment before washing  will even out the ribbing. 
  • Probably more stuff can be said here, but I am hungry so am quitting me if you think I should add anything.

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