This is Ur of double knitting. It is worked using two strand of yarn, in at least 2 different colors. It is the hardest of the double-knits--But it is easier than Fair Isle, which it resembles, since you never have floats, and because each yarn is worked evenly, --that is each yarn moves back to front together, it is much easier to have an even tension.
In fact, you might find you are knitting looser (rather than tighter) and find it best to go down a needle size to have the desire tension/fabric.
Charting and patterns reading can be harder, because patterns are worked on both sides (and sometimes 2 different directions).
Simple, geometric and regular patterns are best in the beginning. As you become comfortable, you can move out and on to more complex patterns.
Jacquard double knitting interlocks the two layers of knitting together, while, at the same time, forming a two tone jacquard/or fair isle type design.
It results in a single ‘fabric’ --not a two sided tube. That is, the 2 sides of the knitting are, if not completely, at least frequently, interlocked and can’t be pulled apart.
The two interlocked layer of fabric, make it durable and warm. The interlocking design resist 'run's when fabric is worn through--an asset for mittens or other gear that might be get worn out in active outdoor sports or work.
Because of its warm and durability, its is excellent for socks and mittens and other outwear. With hats and scarves, the two-sided design makes them 100% reversible. For the same reason, it is excellent for afghans--and potholders!
When double knitting, you will use 2 times the amount of yarn used in single knitting --and you need to cast on 2 times the number of stitches.
If a pattern for a scarf calls for 30 stitches, and you want to turn the scarf into a double knit design, you’ll need 60 stitches.
Potholders, (my favorite double knitting project) are often about the same size as wash clothes--so instead of 30 to 40 stitches, each potholder needs 60 to 80 stitches.
When working Jacquard double knitting, both yarn move together (as one) but only one yarn is used to work a stitch. For this reason, I think it is easier to hold both yarns in one hand. (but then, I feel the same when ever using 2 strand of yarn!)
If you are comfortable using 1 strand in each hand, I suspect you’ll be able do to double knitting the same way. (I can’t!)
There are several ways to start (Cast On) here are 3-
Cast on ½ the total number of stitches needed (one side/one color(A))
Use your favorite provisional cast on,
(I like to use a small diameter circular needle instead of waste yarn for this, since you’ll be working them almost immediately.)
Work 3 to 7 rows of stocking knit, then, fold the knitting, Knit side out, and hold the two needles with stitches parallel (3 needle bind off style)
Pick up second color,
Knit 1 from front needle (color A) then Purl 1 in color B from back needle (provisional stitches)
* Bring both yarn to Back of work (as if to knit) and Knit 1 from front needle-using only color A yarn.
Then bring both yarns to front of work (as if to purl) and Purl 1 from back needle using only color B
Repeat from * across row, until all the stitches have been worked.
(If desired, you can start a pattern on this first row of double knitting.)
The folded edge make a neat border (and it can be duplicated for the bind off edge if desired)
2-- Long tail, Braided.
Instead of 1 ball and the standard long tail method, use 2 balls, (for ease, slip knot them together) but don’t leave a long tail(4 to 6 inches is plenty).
(The instructions refer to the colors as dark and white, and I do recommend you use high contrast color for your first projects, but the colors are your choice. )
Make a slipknot with both colors…do not count this stitch in you count, and when you complete the first row, drop this stitch. The ends will be woven in later. Hold the yarn as if the dark yarn was the tail, and white was the ball.
Cast on one stitch (white)-normal long tail cast on.
Before casting on the next stitch, *loosen your hold on the yarns, and rotate the white yarn over the dark, and hold the yarns as if the white yarn was the tail and the dark yarn was the ball, (i.e., reverse the yarns positions) and cast on a stitch
(Two stitches cast on, 1 white, 1 dark on needle)
Loosen your hold the yarns, and rotate the dark yarn over the white, and hold the yarns as if the dark yarn was the tail and the white yarn was the ball, and cast on a stitch. *
It doesn't matter if you roll the yarn clockwise or counterclockwise-- but you must be consistent, and always rotate in the same direction.
Repeat these steps till you have until you have desired number of stitches
(twice as many stitches as you want on the front (white).
By rotating the yarns in the same directions, the cast on will create a braid, which will nicely mirror the cast off.
It creates a braid that closely matches the cast off
It creates a "purl" bar on one side of the work (white)
3--Long tail, Regular and Reverse
(this is my preferred method)
Instead of a ball and long tail, use 2 balls, (for ease, slip knot them together) but don’t leave a long tail. The instructions refer to the colors as dark and white, and I do recommend you use high contrast color for your first projects.
Make a slipknot with both colors…do not count this stitch in you count, and when you complete the first row, drop this stitch. The ends will be woven in later.
Hold the yarn as if the dark yarn was the tail, and white was the ball.
Cast on one stitch (white) (standard Long tail cast on)
Then, bring the needle to the back of your hand, and pivot point of needle into loop made by your index finger. (It helps if hold your hand in a C shape.)
Make the second loop with the dark yarn (that is, the yarn on your thumb)
Pivot needle back out into starting position, loosen yarn on index finger, snug up stitch, and position yarn to be ready for next stitch.
1 stitch dark stitch cast on.
Stitch 3, standard cast on, (and all odd numbered stitches)
Stitch 4, the "reversed" cast on. (and all even numbered stitches)
It creates a smooth cast on that look the same on both sides of the work
It looks different than the cast off
It is slightly harder to do.
To help you understand, I have experimented, and made my first video..
(unfortunately, I haven’t yet learned to edit video!--but it gets the point across.)
The first half of the video has no commentary, the second is a bit closer and clearer and has a small amount of commentary.
(a special thanks to Lisa Grossman, photographer)
The reversed cast on stitch is a bit awkward (even I ‘miss’ a stitch or two and have to re-do, in the video) but not very hard to learn if you already know the standard long tail.
There are other ways to cast on for double knitting, (lots of them) and you can research and experiment and find the style you like best.
To part 4— Getting Started with Jacquard Double knitting
To Part 5— Knits and Purls on each side
To Part 6— More Pattern Ideas for Jacquard Double Knitting
To Part 7—Scandinavian 2 yarn, Single Color Double Knitting.
To Part 8--The Momentary end to an Obsession--tally: 18 Double Knit Potholders