Double Knitting: Give It a Try!

Double knitting is the process of creating two layers of fabric at the same time, on one set of needles. These layers make cozy glasses cases, hot pads, gadget covers, and slippers, to name just a few uses.

The Double-Knitted Flap Bag by Annie Modesitt
What’s under the flap? A bunch of useful pockets!

This knitting technique also has the benefit of being reversible. Imagine a pocket with the right side showing on the outside of the garment and the wrong side hidden—that’s what double knitting looks like.

Double knitting is wonderful for two-color designs because you can use one or the other color to place large motifs without stranding, and you can place motifs as far apart or as close together as you want to without using the intarsia method.

This sounds sort of complicated, doesn’t it? But double knitting is an easy-to-learn technique. If you can knit and purl, you can learn double knitting; it’s just like working a knit one, purl one rib!

Because double knitting has two layers, you need to cast on twice as many stitches-half of them will be pushed to the “back” when you start double knitting, creating the pocket construction unique to double knitting.

Casting On for Double Knitting

One Color: If you’re using one color, simply case on half of the stitches needed for the double-knit portion of your project, turn, and kf&b into all of the stitches, doubling the number of stitches. The result looks like paired knit and purl stitches, which is just what you need to begin double knitting.

Two Colors: If you’re double knitting with two colors, the cast on below is a lovely, decorative version of the long-tail cast-on most of us are familiar with.

Two-Color Long-Tail Cast-On

First, determine which color yarn is used first in the pattern (usually labeled something like “C1”) and proceed as follows:

Step 1: Make a slipknot using both color yarns held together, ensuring the slipknot lands with C1 on the needle first and the other color (C2) on the needle second.
Step 2: Pull 2 strands of C1 yarn from right to left between 2 strands of C2, using long-tail method, cast on 1 st with C1.
Step 3: Pull 2 strands of C2 yarn from right to left between 2 strands of C1; using long-tail method, cast on 1 st with C2.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have the correct number of sts on the needle.

If you want to learn more about double knitting, (and who wouldn’t?), get yourself a copy of Annie Modesitt’s Knitting Daily Workshop, Double Knitting: Essential Techniques for Knitting Two Layers at a Time. Annie is a fabulous and fun teacher, who’ll inspire you to delve deep into double knitting.


P.S. Do you have experience in double-knitting? Share your tips with us in the comments!

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