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Monday, 4 May 2015

Double Knitting - Have You Tried It?


On Sunday I attended my first ever knitting class, I've been knitting for almost 50 years, I'm completely self-taught, and yes that's from the days before the internet, Craftsy and YouTube!!!  If a pattern asked for something I'd never heard of well I just sat and tried and unpicked and tried again until I made it work and I never cease to be amazed these days when I do check out videos and discover that that little girl did good, lol.

Recently I saw a Double Knitting class with Melissa Leapman listed on the Lion Brand Yarn Studio website and I thought it'd be fun to learn a 'new to me' technique, Double Knitting, so I signed up.  For those who don't know, especially us Brits for who think of Double Knitting as a weight of wool rather than a technique, this is a technique where you knit two sides of fabric on one set of needles at the same time.  You can leave the row ends 'unattached' to each other so you have two pieces of fabric joined only at the cast on edge or you can attach the row ends as you knit thus creating a double thickness piece that has no 'wrong' side - both sides appear to be stocking stitch.

You know I just love the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, I've blogged about it a couple of times before, here Where To Shop For Yarn In Manhattan and here Going To England For A Warm.

There's always a great display at the Studio entrance and here's this week's pics.


The class absolutely didn't disappoint, it was excellent.

Melissa Leapman was friendly, funny, clear, supportive and encouraging.  We worked each stage together as a class and Melissa explained all the steps brilliantly taking time with each student to ensure everyone understood the process before we moved on to the next bit.


We started out learning how to double knit by slipping the alternate stitches - a slower double knitting method where your work grows one row only once you've actually worked two rows - the front and back.  Then we learnt how to make sure our front and back sides were joined together at the edges rather than staying as two separate pieces of knitted fabric.  Next, we learnt a quicker double knitting method increasing the front and back rows at the same time so working one row makes both sides of your piece grow a row at the same time.


Having got the hang of that we moved on to reading a double knitting chart and adding a symmetrical image to the front and back sides of your piece in alternate colour ways and finally a piece with different images on both sides of your work creating this blue and white cat.


During class break, I treated myself to Melissa's book Mastering Color Knitting


and also to a new Yarnit - I've been wanting a second one for a while now and when my second ball of yarn rolled off the classroom table that was all the encouragement I needed to nip down to the
store and buy one!


By the end of class my head was ready to explode - reading the double knitting colour chart was the hardest bit!!! and I'm having to work out the best way for me to separate the two yarns I'm working with as I'm neither a continental knitter or an English thrower but use a throwing method where I don't ever leave go of my needles - a variation of a method sometimes called 'flicking' that I've perfected over the years and it allows me to knit pretty much as fast as continental.  Never mind that though the long and short of it is that I love, love, loved double knitting and want to try out more.

I grabbed the opportunity and snapped some pics of Melissa's double knitting work to share with you:

Winter Warmer Scarf - pattern in Mastering Color Knitting book 
Lysefjord pattern available here on Craftsy
Slalom & Stripes Hat pattern available here on Craftsy 
Snuggle-Up Baby Blankie pattern in Mastering Color Knitting book.

You can follow Melissa here on Facebook and she has a couple of new classes coming out on Craftsy over the next week too.
Here we are together posing for a selfie. 

While I was watching The Good Wife last night (don't you just love that show???!!!) I worked on this piece, I'm thinking I'll continue it till it's long enough to be a scarf.  My tension still needs some work, I think it's because I'm still working out how to knit the two threads using my 'flick' technique and I'm also thinking in future I might want to drop another needle size as double knitting is often looser than normal knitting so a smaller needle might make my work smoother.


I hope I get to do another class with Melissa soon, I'll be watching out for her name popping up again on Lion Brand's website and that's the best recommendation I can possibly give :D


Have you tried Double Knitting?  Which method do you use?  Have you ever done a class with Melissa or at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio?  Share your stories with us in the comments - Chris :D



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28 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great class Chris - those hats look nice and cosy too. I had never heard of this technique - like you I am self taught and did a lot of intarsia when Kaffe Fasset's books came out. This could be something to try when I have finished my latest pair of socks! xx

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  2. I have enough trouble with single knitting never mind double! Those projects look wonderful though, it sounds like a great class.

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  3. I thought you were talking about double knitting wool to start with - ie a thickness of knitting wool! So I've used a lot of double knitting wool but I've never heard of double knitting as a method! I taught myself to knit too and I know I hold the needles "wrong" and wrap the yarn in an odd fashion but it works for me. I'm not sure I could change now! Lynne.

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  4. I can barely cope with single knitting so I think double knitting would be beyond me! I thought it was just a weight of wool but it looks genius - love how the inside of the hat is just as perfect as the outside. Also love those plastic balls to keep your wool in! I must get one of those for my (much better than me at knitting) Mum!

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    1. I'm totally in love with my Yarnits Gertie, I've got a blog post about them in the pipeline, I really think they deserve shouting about!!! - Chris :D

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  5. thanks for reminding us about the double knitting technique. Love Melissa's knitting patterns, so fun! stonehouseworkshop.com

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  6. I would love to knit more, partly because it makes so much less mess than sewing and can be done in front if the telly! I need to look into finding 'modern' patterns as my hubby and children aren't very keen on wearing homemade jumpers xx

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  7. Wow - I'm jealous! Thanks for taking such great pics to share with us!

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  8. Holy Moly. I did not know this could be done. Something new for my brain to go crazy with! Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  9. That was a terrific workshop! I love doing Fair-isle, but I think this must result in even thicker pieces. I must look into this technique. Anyway I definitely need a couple of yamits (thanks for teaching me the word!) now I know what to ask for. Is the book you used only available in the class, or can it be ordered on-line?

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    1. Love, love, love my Yarnits Marly. They're available online in America but they do ship to other countries, I buy mine at Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in Manhattan but I'm don't know if there's any other stores selling them. I've got another blog post about mine coming up very soon. The book is available in stores and on Amazon here in the States but I don't know how available it is elsewhere in the world - I had a peep on my UK Amazon account and it was available there but only from an American site that was happy to ship to the UK - Chris :D

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  10. Looks like such a fun class! I've tried double knitting and it's VERY tricky! It's nice to have both sides looking pretty though and no ugly stitches carrying along at the back to change colour :)

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  11. Great pics! - I've been wanting to learn how to double knit myself... Right after I learn how to do Cables! WHEN I can find the TIME!
    :-D

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  12. Gosh, having been knitting a similar amount of time to yourself, I've never heard of double knitting before! It looks super complicated but what gorgeous results.

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  13. I have not tried double knitting (or indeed done a knitting class). Looks like a really interesting technique.

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  14. Wow do I need that class or what! I'm a crocheter but have been teaching myself to knit. I couldn't simply teach myself to knit a straight one or two colour scarves- my first project was an Intarsia style scarf where I simply used lots of charts and incorporated all sorts of patterns and animals and even cupcakes! I've since made another one (I'm still having trouble with my tension) but the main problem is you have one side with the pattern, and the backing is a mess! So I've either sewn it up as a round tube (like wearing a python!) or made a backing which is also a bit too thick. This method you've shown, I suspected should exist. I must try and find that book online to buy! Thank you for this super informative post!

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    1. Louise this is def the technique for you!!! The book is available online in the States and in stores but not sure about in Australia. There might be someone on Amazon.com.au who'll ship it to you but who knows what the shipping will be :( If not you could resort to youtube, I guess, let me know how you go on - Chris :D

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  15. Wooh, that looks cool, I've never seen this sort of thing handknitted - I feel like I've been missing out. Definitely something to put on the "try one day" list.

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  16. Lots of lovely pics love the book, may try double knitting looks o neat too!

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  17. Never to late to learn something new. The class looks like it was fun and I love the idea of reversible items. Do you know if Yarnits are available in the UK? They must be fantastic for keeping yarn clean.

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    1. Yarnits are available online from the States Catherine and they'll ship to the UK - at May 2015 they're priced at $34.95 with UK shipping at $8.95 so total $43.90. I think they're well worth the money but I know some think they're a bit steep. I've got a blog post in the pipeline for this coming week showing them in much more detail if you want to hang on and take a look at that too - Chris :D

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  18. What a brilliant class and must admit when I read your title thought of DK wool and 4mm needles. A great book may have to have a browse

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  19. It sounds like an amazing technique and such a good teacher too. I love your yarnit - never heard or seen it before but it looks perfect for those of us who are forever chasing the balls of yarn around the floor and away from the cat!

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  20. sounds like fun- happy knitting :)

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  21. That sounds like a great class. I read about the technique in an EZ book but I've never tried it. Now I see all these great pictures, though, I'm thinking I should look it up again :)
    Thank you for linking up with Wool on Sundays :)

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  22. What a wonderful class. I've experimented with double knitting but never actually finished a project. Now that I live in Hawaii I hardly ever knit but maybe I try again soon.

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  23. Sounds like you had a great experience at the class! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty :)

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Chris Dodsley