Thursday, July 3, 2014

More on Double Knitting

I think, perhaps, that confusion arises over the term double knitting, because those two words strung together describe a yarn weight, the technique that I began writing about yesterday, and a loose general usage pertaining to anything worked out of DK weight yarn. When I began researching the topic I often found double knit patterns included in the category with "color knitting" because there are almost always at least 2 colors involved with double knitting. I also often found collections of patterns for baby knits labeled as double knits - because DK weight yarn was used.

To further the confusion there are two main techniques used for double knitting. One works both sides of the fabric simultaneously, and the other works or slips each color, one color at a time. So let's arrive at a definition:

Definition: At its most basic, double knitting is a two-color knitting technique that produces a stockinette fabric on both sides of the work, one a negative image of the other. (see photo above left) It can be worked out of any weight yarn, so long as the needle size chosen is appropriate for the yarn weight.

There are two main methods for producing a double knit fabric:

1. Knit across a row with Yarn A while slipping (as if to purl) every other stitch. Then return to the beginning of that row and purl the slipped stitches with Yarn B.

2. Work both sides of the fabric at the same time. Holding a color in each hand, knit with color A, and purl with color B, moving both yarns forward for purls and backward for knits.

I prefer method #2, probably because I am comfortable working Continental and English stitches at the same time.

I mentioned chart reading in yesterday's post as being problematic for me at first. That is because the chart only shows one side of the work, what we will call, for lack of a better term, the right side. Looking at the picture above you see on the right and left of the picture, the right side. The little V of fabric in the middle is the reverse image of the right and left, and therefore the "wrong side" of the fabric. A chart for that might like like this:

When working on the "right" side, the white squares are worked in the lighter color and the black squares in the darker color. When working on the "wrong side" the white squares are worked in the darker color, and the black squares are worked in the lighter color. (This all assumes that you are not working in the round, but working flat from side to side and back. 

Next post will deal with increases and decreases. Oh, and surprise - there are several ways to work those as well. Happy knitting all.

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