Double knitting is one of those techniques that may seem out-of-reach to the average knitter. After all, how can you possibly knit two fabrics at once with only two needles? And adding a second color and patternwork surely must require a magic wand in addition to knitting needles. Fortunately for us Muggles, no magic is required; you just need yarn, two needles and two hands. In my new Double Knitting Workshop from Creativebug, I’ll give you all the skills you need to get started with double knitting.
What is Double Knitting?
Double knitting is a technique that creates a double-sided fabric by simply knitting back and forth across a row. Yes, that’s TWO right sides and NO wrong sides! (The trick is in the slip stitches, but you’ll have to learn the technique to figure out how it works.)
Double knitting creates nice spongy fabric that makes great scarves, coasters, hats, blankets…any kind of item that you’d like to be fully reversible. When worked in two colors, you can add patterns that show up as positive/negative images on either side of the fabric.
Why Double Knit?
It’s fascinating to watch the fabric take shape as you knit. Once you get the hang of the technique, you’ll start to understand a lot more about the structure of a knitted fabric. I always say that the more you understand about the path of the yarn and how it creates a whole fabric, the better knitter you’ll be. In other words, you don’t have to do double knitting all the time, but learning the skill helps you in your regular knitting, as well. Of course, you may decide you love it, and want to explore it in more detail!
The techniques I cover in class include everything you need to know to create the scarf pictured above, including the pattern and charts. The yarn I used is Hikoo Sueño, an 80% superwash merino wool/20% viscose blend that knits up like an absolute dream, and made such a cushy scarf that I didn’t want to stop knitting. I even shed a little tear when I had to leave the scarf at the Creativebug studios.
Learning Double Knitting
Double knitting does require a bit of concentration, at least in the beginning. (Sorry about that, but I do try to make it as painless as possible!) This is one technique in which I think video learning is particularly helpful. In Double Knitting Workshop, I’ll show you your choice of two methods of casting on; long tail and tubular. I’ll show you how to handle two colors of yarn and how to twist the yarns at the ends of rows to prevent holes in the edges. I’ll also demonstrate two ways to finish: the condensed bind off, and a grafted bind off. I’ll show you what to do to fix common mistakes (I got very good at this) and how to read a chart for double knitting.
When I started to prepare for this class, it had been quite a few years since I had done any double knitting, and I had to re-teach myself a few of the associated techniques. This means that I had the opportunity to really examine what was going on in my head as I knit. As I re-acquainted myself with the process, I made notes of where it seemed likely that a novice would get stuck, I hope that my own journey of (re)discovery helps make yours easier, as I hold your hand and point out potential pitfalls as you learn.
Behind the Scenes at Creativebug
Of all the classes I’ve shot in a studio, I think this shoot was the most fun. I’d been to Creativebug’s San Francisco studios several times before, and I already knew the crew. I was working with Eric, Devin and Christine, a team of professionals who not only know what they are doing, but make it so much fun to work together. The studio was filled with natural light, and it was a delight to spend the day with them. Just for fun, here’s a look at what we did when the cameras weren’t rolling (but the foam rollers were). That’s Charlie, one of several office dogs, who spent the day on set with us.