It’s been a funny-weathered winter so far, but more often then not I have cold hands. Especially in my studio when working at the computer. One day enough was enough so I foraged through my stash of wool and cashmere scraps and pulled out a ribbed cowl neck from a cashmere sweater. Yummy! I cut it into 2 rectangles, sewed them into tubes then made thumb holes in the seams. Ta-da! Instant (practically) wrist warmers.

After wearing them like that for about a month, I decided that they were kinda plain and needed a little something. I remembered a fun embellishment technique that I’ve played around with before. It’s super simple to do and it can make any sweater or rib knit accessory look like it has cables or even smocking. All you need is a knit garment with some ribbing, yarn, pins, ruler and a tapestry needle.

I’ll show you a quick little how-to with a scrap of ribbing. For this example, I am going to tuck two “ribs” at a time. I’ve marked them with pins, about 1 1/4″ apart vertically.

Next I threaded a tapestry needle with yarn and took two stitches, one on top of the other, around the ribs marked with the top pin.

This is what it looks like from the back. Pull the yarn tightly and tie the yarn ends together, knotting twice. Cut the yarn and do the same for each spot marked by the pins.

You’ll continue to make tucks, pairing up ribs on either side of the first pair, and off-setting the tucks so that they are vertically halfway in between the first tucks. That’s it! Just continue until you have made all the tucks you want, making sure to knot and cut the yarn between each tuck. If you leave them connected on the back, the floats between them will tug and distort the fabric.

Keep in mind that this technique will limit the stretch of the ribbing to a degree. I’d love to see this at the ribbed hem of a sweater or across the yoke of a ribbed cardigan.

Experiment with different yarns and different combinations and numbers of rib lines. For this swatch I tucked 3 ribs together, and then in the next row “borrowed” ribs from the row above. This is really fun! Now I’m kind of obsessed with finding a fully ribbed sweater to do more of this. I’ll be sure to share whatever I come up with!