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Hi there, nice to have you visiting! I'm Heidi and this is the blog for Heidi Bears. Here is where I post all the happenings in my work and daily life. Here and there you'll find info on things that have caught my attention as well as the odd tutorial. I hope you enjoy your visits. I love to have feedback, so leave me a comment!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Double Knitting Tutorial

Hi friends!I have had no end of trouble uploading this tutorial...it has taken two days for the pics to upload, so I apologise for the delay in posting...:( Having said that, here it is (something to be said for perseverance :)) I wanted to do a tutorial on double knitting, because for a long time it was something I was puzzled by , not really understanding the online explanations that I found. I wanted to be able to knit a double layer of mitten/glove cuffs, for extra warmth, and eventually managed to work out how to do a cast on for the beginning of the glove, that didn't have a floppy unattractive edge to it. So, again, just to be clear, I didn't invent this technique, merely did it my way :)

You'll need to colours of yarn and a circular needle. I have used an aran weight yarn for this tutorial and size 4mm needles.

Firstly, make a slip knot in both yarns. Place the slip knots on the needle in such a way that the tails are "behind"and the working yarns to the front.

Holding your needle in your right hand, bring the working yarn of the colour closest to you right hand, towards you and then to your left, ie, you are bring the yarn around the other colour's slip knot, towards your left.

Hook your left thumb around this working yarn (you are going to be doing a good 'ol fashioned thumb cast on, alternating colours.

Insert the point of the needle, under the working yarn as shown above. Notice the placement of the working yarn, on your thumb.

Remove your thumb, and gently pull on the working yarn, to form your second blue stitch.

Now do exactly the same for the white yarn, coming off the white slip knot...holding the white working yarn in your left hand, bring it towards you and around the your left, slip your left thumb under it, and insert your needle in exactly the same way you just did for the blue yarn. You have cast on the second white stitch. Repeat again using the white yarn. Then the blue, alternating colours and each time bringing the yarns around each other to the front as explained.
Your stitches so far should look like the pic above.

Continue to do this until you have the required number of stitches. Here a small aside: lets say you are casting on to make a small square (a potholder for eg), and you need a total number of 25 stitches if you were just knitting straight back and forth...in double knitting you are creating exctly the same thing, but it has two sides, so in order to make the same item as in the regular knitting, you will need to cast on 25 stitches in the white as well as 25 stitches in the blue yarn (think of two separately made potholders, placed wrong sides together and sewn up all around...that is essentially what double knitting does). Now it's all good and well when you have two different coloured yarns...you can see the front and the back of the work developing...but if you have one colour of yarn, you may easily get confused...so if you have never done any double knitting before, I recommend that you start with two colours until you are feeling more confident with the technique. Once you have the hang of it, you will "see" which type of stitch comes next, just as you would "see" if the next stitch is a purl or a knit stitch in regular knitting.

Ok, now for the way to hold your yarns...
Through trial and error, I have found the following way to be the best for me.
Note which colour yarn you have cast on last...this will obviously be the colour you will first knit. This is important later, but for now, wrap the yarns around your little finger, as shown above. it is essentially the same way I wrap the yarn for regular knitting.

Now insert your middle finger between the yarn as above, making sure that you have brought the yarn that is the second colour you are going to knit (in this case the blue yarn is the second stitch on my needle), to the front of your finger.

Using your index finger, hook the white yarn (which forms the first stitch you are going to knit on your needles), and slip your index finger between the yarn (white now in front). This may seem over complicated and may well be uncomfortable for you, but I have found that it controls my knitting tension perfectly. You will have to experiment and see what works for you.

Initially you may find the whole "holding"thing a bit tricky...I initially hold my right needle in you left hand, just held by my thumb, in order to have it in the right vicinty for taking in my right hand (once you have your yarns placed well in your right hand, how else do you grab your right needle??) Once my yarns are wrapped around my fingers, I just "pass" over the needle from left hand to right...
You are ready to knit your first stitch...in this case the white...

Insert your needle into the first stitch. As you can see in the pic above, I tend to stabilize my right needle in my left hand so it doesn't flop about.

Bring your right hand up, and wrap the white yarn only, around the needle point exactly as for a regular knit stitch. Knit the stitch.

So now you are left with the knitted white stitch on your right hand needle and both yarns behind this needle. You need to purl the blue stitch on the left hand needle, so you bring BOTH yarns to the front exactly as if you were doing a regular purl stitch.

Once both your yarns are on this side of the work, you will insert your needle as if to purl, but use ONLY the blue yarn to purl the stitch.

After you have purled the blue stitch, you will take both yarns to the far side of the needles, and again using only the white yarn, knit the next stitch on the left hand needle.

Repeat the steps: both yarns to the front , insert needle as to do a purl stitch, use blue yarn only to purl, both yarns to the back .

One row completed.

Turn your work around. Before you start to knit twist the yarns around each other once, I find this makes a nicer edge.

Notice that you will need to knit the first stitch (blue), because on the previous row, you purled it, so in order to end up with an item that has knit sides showing only (ie the purled stitches all show inwards), you will need to purl the blue stitches and knit the white ones.

Looks so pretty, love this technique!

Just continue in the same way, bringing yarns back and forth...

If anything is unclear, please send me a mail and I shall clarify!

This has been a marathon uploading session (our internet in SA isn't always perfect), so I shall sign off...

Have a great evening :)
Lots of Love,
Heidi :)


K said...

i am repeating myself, but when a thing is done beautifully, charitably and with great skill, it deserves praise every time it's done. You will notice how many comments you are getting now - and I believe these are in response to your generous and merciful and very well executed tutorials.

I don't know if I will ever be serious enough about my knitting to do double knitting, but I know where I can go to learn if I need the knowledge. I wish I had something in my life I could share the way you are doing this. And I wish I had your grace.

K said...

Oh, and by the way - it's not just your internet. I've been having a hard time on the user side with Blogger - I have several friends and family who use it, and sometimes I wait five or ten minutes for just their pages to load. Waiting for the comment page to come up is almost impossible at times. Blogger is very inconsistent and unreliable for me, then - and the truth is that many of these people are stateside. So it's not just your local service, giving you fits.

xPert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Val said...

This is a lovely tutorial..and I'm going to study it as I really want to try the double layer for mittens and was rather daunted by what I'd found sofar. You give lovely clear instructions..THANKYOU for taking the time and trouble.

Knitter Who said...

I found your tutorial on Pinterest.
what is the best way to cast off when double knitting?

OzzyRose said...

So helpful, I have been looking for easy to understand DK instructions for a while. Thankyou for the pictures as well, it is so much more clear to me with a simple visual.
I have two questions, one, do you have any tips about DK continental style? And two, if you are using a charted pattern using a simple two color graph, do you still cast on alternating colors as in one white, one blue or do you cast on in pattern?
This is the free ravelry DK pattern I am attempting, just for reference.
Thanks for your help

Unknown said...

I wish you would show the result, what this will achieve and look like as you get further along. I don't see why someone would do this technique, so seeing the result would help me understand.

Unknown said...

I would like to see the result of this process -- so I'd understand why people go to this trouble. I think I get what you're doing, but I'd like to see a finished product, or at least a swatch that's further along.