The basic 3x3 needle setup is in full pitch position with 3 working needles on the front bed opposite 3 out-of-work needles on the back bed. Shifting into half-pitch and simply bringing all the needles on the front bed (or back bed) into work creates the 3x3 embossed rib. It's a very simple thing to do, but it has a major effect. The embossed rib gives the expected ribbed look but without the typical rib behavior; the fabric lies flat and does not pull in.
|Knitted with 1 end baby alpaca and 1 end merino wool from Silk City Fibers|
For the next swatch I returned to the original 3x3 rib needle setup and removed from work the center needle of each group of three needles on my patterning bed. Alternating a series of tucks on the two remaining needles in each group on the patterning bed produced this variation.
|Same yarn as above, enlarged to show detail|
I used both variations of these 3x3 ribs in a recent scarf. I liked them enough to use these stitch patterns again for my current work-in-progress sweater.
The next swatch is a variation on a 2x2 embossed rib (with the requisite needles left out of work), this time in two colors. Needles are selected to knit each color separately on the patterning bed in order to produce the vertical stripes. The patterning bed knits one row each color while the other bed knits 2 rows each color. This produces a version of the long stitch or half Milano. A hint of the back side of this fabric is revealed in between the ribs.
|Knitted with UKI 10/2 perle cotton|
|Reverse of the above swatch, 2 rows each color, enlarged to show detail|
For much more on embossed ribs, check Chapter 13 "Embossing" in Susanna Lewis's A Machine Knitter's Guide to Creating Fabrics.