Like all to many knitting terms, the term Double Knitting is used for several different techniques. (and for a weight of yarn!)
Do you know any of them? Or some of them?
Most of them require only intermediary skills and learning them will increase you options for customizing or designing a knitted garment. Learning about double knitting is a fascinating experience, and will open your mind to new ways of thinking about knitting.
I happen to love double knitting. I know of 4 basic forms of knitting that are referred to as double knitting:
Single Yarn double knitting. (Tubular)
Single Yarn double knitting (Shaker knitting)
(There is also a two color Shaker knitting variant.)
Jacquard or Interlocking double knitting
Scandinavian 2 yarn, single color double knitting.
Similar in execution to Fair Isle knitting. - But not in appearance.
Each form of double knitting has its uses, and each is worked in a different way.
Starting with the easiest--Single yarn, simple double knitting.
This is the simplest. But like all double knitting, it can be hard to understand what is going on by just reading the directions.
Single yarn double knitting is always worked over an even number of stitches.
Row 1 and all rows: K1, bring yarn forward (as if to purl) then slip 1
Be sure as you work, that you bring the Yarn forward (NOT A YARN OVER) but just to front of the work (as if you were going to purl) before slipping each stitch.
Single yarn double knitting is actually a way to knit in the round on straight needle. The double knitting creates a tube, (the top of the tube is ‘closed’ by the stitches on the needle, but you can reposition them onto 2 needles and see the tube.
Here, the stitches have been repositioned onto 2 needles and my fingers are inside the tube of double knitting.
If you use a tubular cast on, and grafted cast off, the knitting looks magical, with no clear starting, stopping or edge! It creates a fabric of stocking knit, on both sides, and it is tubular. It is very straight, and curl free--making it an excellent choice for the classic stocking knit scarf.
Single yarn double knitting has many uses:
Straps -on sundresses or halters
Straps on children’s rompers
Belts--as an add on, or for belted ties on wrapped sweaters
shoulder straps for bags.
Double layered headbands (narrow, decorative ones, or thick hat like ones)
Simple (plain or striped) stocking knit scarves (that don’t curl!)
Simple Double knitting can be used to create a knit 'ribbon' for a tie on a sailor's shirt, or even a man's tie.
As a neckband on a button-less cardigan, it can be used for tie closure.
You can use a standard cast on and bind off if the edges of the knitting will be hidden, such as by a fringed edge on a scarf .
Or a provisional cast on to make a headband (and graft cast on edge to bound of edge to make seamless piece of knitting.
Or you can use a tubular cast on and matching cast off to give every edge of the Single Yarn Double knitting a very neat appearance.
If you start and end with an invisible/tubular cast on, and a matching cast off, the knitting looks magical.—with no clear beginning or ended, and no seams!
The invisible cast off, is really just a form of Kitchner stitch so you might already know be half way there! If you have problems doing the cast off from a single needle, (a bit tricky!) reposition the stitches onto 2 needles (as shown here)
and use a standard kitchener stitch to graft the stitches.
(there are links below to on-line and hard copy sources for these cast on’s and casts off below)
After you master the Single Yarn Double Knit, you'll realize that the knit stitch doesn't have to be knit, but can be purled.
The important things to remember are:
- Slip each alternate stitch,
- Move the yarn into the Purl position before slipping!
To create a single yarn double knit seed stitch, work with a multiple of 4, and a pattern of :
Row 1 and 2 : *K1, Sl1, P1, Sl1,
Row 3 and 4: *P1, Sl1, K1, Sl1,
Repeat these 4 rows
With practice, you can do many of the numerous stitches that are created with combinations of knit and purl stitches exclusively, such as a waffle stitch or a basket weave.
Single yarn double knitting does not lend itself to use with patterns that have yarn over's, but you can make simple eyelet button holes, with some effort. You will need to a cable needle to first rearrange the stitches, 2 knit stitches must be placed together (the slip stitch temporarily held on the cable needle) and then:
YOarn over, K2tog, then rearrange the stitches so as to have,
YO, slipped stitch, the K2tog stitch, before continuing with the rest of the row.
On the next row, you need to repeat the operation, and have another YO in in the same position on the other side of the knitting.
There are many other uses and techniques for simple double knitting.
I have (as an experiment) knit gloves, by starting with a eyelet cast on, and working from finger tips to finger base (making all 4 finger FIRST) plus the thumb (held aside on a seperate needle till needed)
After finishing the 4 fingers, join them to gether to knit palm, add the thumb, made a gusset with decreases, and ended at the cuff… all done in simple double knitting --seamless gloves knit on 2 needles!
Seamless mittens are easier--and a good way to experiment with the simple double knitting technique.
Links to the rest of tutorial
Part 2: Double Knitting Other types of knitting sometimes called double knitting
Part 3—Casting On for Jacquard Double knitting
Part 4— Getting Started with Jacquard Double knitting
Part 5— Knits and Purls on each side
Part 6-- More Pattern Ideas for Jacquard Double Knitting
Part 7—Scandinavian 2 yarn, Single Color Double Knitting.
Part 8--The Momentary end to an Obsession--tally: 18 Double Knit Potholders
Here are some links to tubular cast ons tutorials and Kitchener bind off tutorials:
Tubular cast on--Provisional method or this one
Tubular Italian or kitcheners
Tubular cast on, YO method
Figure 8/Turkish cast ons 1 2 3
These reference books are good sources for information on tubular cast ons and grafted bind offs.
The Big Book of Knitting, Kateria Buss
Long tail, Doubled long tail, Provisional, Tubular (Italian/Kitchener)
The Knitter Book of Finishing Techniques, Nancy Wiseman
Martingdale & Company
Long Tail, Knitted, Cable, Picot, Provisional, Crochet, Tubular
The Knitting Answer Book , Margaret Radcliffe, Storey Publishing, 2005