Over on my Ravelry group, someone posted about using a trick to neaten up the transition from the knit stitch to the purl stitch in ribbing (this also works for cables). It reminded me that I had learned that trick a while back but hadn't yet used it myself. So I tried it with the ribbing on the dog sweater I made last weekend, and although it took a little bit of retraining my muscle memory, I'm quite happy with how it turned out and I hope I remember to use this trick on future projects. So with that in mind, I wanted to share it with you.
So, you may have noticed when you do ribbing that the place where you move from the knit stitch to the purl stitch is a bit loose and wobbly. There's a reason for that. Because of the way most people wrap the yarn for a purl stitch, the stitch uses more yarn than a knit stitch. That extra yarn leaves a bit of extra gap, just enough to make the transition not look as crisp as it could be.
What's the trick? When you knit that first purl stitch after the knit stitch, wrap your yarn the other way around the needle. Essentially, wrapping in the other direction uses less yarn. This does mount the stitch with the back leg forward (traditionally, the leading or front leg is forward), so when you come back to that stitch on the other side, you'll want to knit it through the back loop; otherwise, you'll end up with a twisted stitch.
The first picture with 4 stitches on the left needle shows a traditionally mounted stitch with the front leg forward. The second picture with 3 stitches on the left needle shows the reversed mount, which will need to be knit through the back loop.
It does take some concentration, especially at the beginning to wrap the yarn the opposite way and to remember to work the stitch through the back loop on the next row. That's actually why I hadn't used this trick in the past; I was being lazy! But it didn't take long until my hands got used to the new movement, and it was pretty easy to spot the stitch mounted differently, so once I gave it a chance, I found myself getting into the rhythm of it really nicely. So I hope you'll give this trick a chance the next time you have a project with ribbing and see what you think of it.