i am mostly self taught and am under the impression that ribbing should gather or make a more snug section of fabric. however whether i am ribbing at the edge or in the middle of the fabric i get a more flared effect. i am ribbing in the same number of stitches as the fabric with the same needles. what am i doing wrong?
Ribbing, especially k1p1 ribbing should pull the fabric in even if you're using the same size needle. Often patterns will have the ribbing at the bottom of a sweater or on a sleeve cuff worked in a size or two smaller needle but you don't necessarily have to do that. It may take several rows to see the tightening of the fabric however. Be sure to bring the yarn between the needles and not over the right needle when you switch from knit to purl.