How to: work double knitting
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This interesting technique allows you to create a fabric made up of two separate layers, yet knitted at the same time. This creates all sorts of exciting opportunities for working with colour and texture and here we will look at creating a double-sided stocking stitch fabric with a different colour on each side.
In double knitting, the stitches for both sides are cast on together holding both colours in one hand at the same time, with stitches for each side alternating on the same needle.
In our example, Yarn A is nearest the needle tip end in each pair after casting on. After casting on the correct number of stitches, cut the solitary strand of Yarn B that was held over the thumb.
To produce a double-sided stocking stitch, on each row you will knit all the stitches in one colour and purl all the stitches in the other, using the matching colour and moving both yarns between the needles as you alternate between knit and purl each time.
To work your first row, take your needles and holding the two strands in your right hand with the yarns at the back. As Yarn A is the first stitch, knit this stitch as normal with the Yarn A only. Next, bring both yarns to the front between the needles and purl the first Yarn B stitch, using Yarn B only. This produces stocking stitch on right side of Yarn A and the wrong side of Yarn B.
Continue to take both yarns back between the needles to knit the Yarn A stitches, and bring the yarns forward to purl the Yarn B stitches, to the end of the row, in a similar way to working a (knit 1, purl 1) rib. If you accidentally take only one strand between the needles, go back and redo the stitch correctly. At the end of the first row, do not knit the slip knot, simply undo it and trim the yarn ends if necessary.
Both outward facing sides will have knit stitches facing outwards and purl stitches on the inner unseen sides.
TIP You may find easier to insert your index finger under the next yarn to be used just before moving the yarns, as this also helps with moving the yarns between the needles.
On the next row, you will carry on in a similar way, but instead knit Yarn B stitches and purl Yarn A stitches. This is to work the right side of Yarn B and the wrong side of Yarn A in stocking stitch at the same time, with all of the purl stitches on the inside for both colours.
Repeat these two rows to continue in the same colour and in stocking stitch on both sides, being only joined at the cast-on edge.
Take care not to accidentally use the wrong yarn on a stitch as this will show up as a mistake and join the two fabrics.
For a neater finish, cast off all the stitches on the needle in one colour, bearing in mind it will be the contrast colour for one side.
TIP If you are working a pattern, indicate the main ‘right side’ with a stitch marker. Now you know how to work double knitting in stocking stitch, here are some simple things to try:
- Create a contrast stripe by swapping the yarns to to work the stitches, then revert back in a subsequent row
- Create reverse stocking stitch by purling into knit stitches and vice versa
- Use different yarns for each side, as long as the tension matches
- Change colours for more variety