Adventures in Double-Knitting – Vernetzt

Another Shawl-in-a-Ball project – this time, I’m moving away from the brioche style knitting and taking another run at double-knitting.  I’ve only knit a few double-knit projects, so am not very experienced (and that’s why it’s classified as “new techniques”).  This scarf looks like a fun way to use the Restful Rainbow color.  The long color repeats will set off the pattern nicely.

The project is Vernetzt, or “Networked,” available as a free download on Musterbunker (Pattern Bunker), a German knitting blog.  The author has several very nicely-rendered double-knitting projects.  Patterns in both German and English.

It took me a bit to refresh my memory on double-knitting.  If you have never tried this technique, I recommend you use simpler and more clearly-stated patterns to get started.  This pattern is not at all difficult, once you get the hang of it – just requires some experience with double-knitting, and the written directions assume a certain level of experience (casting on, knit-purl rhythm of double-knitting, etc.)

Modifications – rather than 4 repeats of the base pattern, I used 3 – the scarf as modeled is wider than I prefer.  I used my go-to black yarn Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn for the black contrast.

As usual for new styles of projects, I knit-and-ripped and knit-and-ripped until I was satisfied with the direction the project was going.  The machine-wound yarn ball and band did not survive that treatment, so I re-rolled the yarn into a ball.   You can’t see the colors except for the color you are knitting.  Fun for those who like surprises.

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Coffee Break – Coffee Cup

Apparently, my attention span isn’t working well with more substantial projects.  Maybe I need to take a break after the Aran Afghan.  Here’s another “stash-buster” project that I whipped out over the weekend, just because I was in the mood to do something different and something quick.  This is a double-knit Coffee Cup, one side of the Coffee and Tea DK Pot Holders from Elizabeth Evans, and available for free on Ravelry.

Don’t look too closely – I can use more practice on my double-knitting skills, and I didn’t think my attention and patience was up for a two-sided project, so I did the coffee cup on both sides (reverse side is the inset photo)  Yarn is mystery yarn from my stash, probably basic acrylic yarn inherited from my grandmother’s stash.

Still, the project was fun, and I refreshed my memory on casting on, double-knitting, and invisible bind-off (which, as far as I can tell, is simply the Kitchener stitch, available at this and many other YouTube links).  After I finished the project, I realized that I should have twisted the yarn at the wrong-side end; the other three sides are bound invisibly, but there are two “edges” to that side.

Maybe I’ll do another quick project.  This looks interesting:  Star Trek Pot Holders.  So does this:  Leaf Pattern.  Both free on Ravelry.

Coffee Break Coffee Cup 01-19-2015 (Large)

Norse Neck Warmer – Complete

Daughter only barely managed to control the eye-rolling when I pounced on her and asked her to model the moment she came downstairs.

My first adventure in double-knitting, the Nordic Neck Warmer, found in the Creative Knitting, Winter 2013 edition.

Nordic Cowl (Large)This will go to my sister, who spends a lot of time outdoors in brutally cold weather.

This was a good beginner project for double-knitting.  I learned a lot (like, for instance, patience).

I wasn’t sure how to bind off, so I checked out a couple of videos.   Turns out, there are more elegant ways of edging (Kitchner bind-off, “hidden” cast on and bind-off), but the “braided” look of the simple knit-slip bind off worked well.

I found a good video about managing the yarn in double-knitting, from a Continental knitter’s perspective.  I was trying to figure out how to speed up the double-knitting process.  You can take a look at it here:  How to Double-Knit Really Fast.  I tried it, but as an American-Irish style knitter, I had trouble managing the tension with the Continental style.  Turns out, I was just as quick using my own method of holding the yarns together and using the right needle to select the proper color for the stitch.

Liat Gat of Knit Freedom has a great You Tube Channel (to which I am now subscribed), where she demonstrates all kinds of knitting techniques.  I recommend that you check her out.

Project Updates

Hermione’s Every Day Socks – I’m loving this pattern and yarn combination.  Note that I’ve modified the pattern slightly for a more “pebble” texture.  The Patton Kroy Sock Yarn in Grey Brown complements that pattern very well.  Definitely going to be a “guy” gift – I think I have made it plenty large enough for a man’s foot.

You can see the texture very well in the morning light.  Note that I’ve managed to match the stripes – not something I can always accomplish.

Hermione Socks WIP 11-20-13 (Large)Next is Norse Neck Warmer – my first adventure in double-knitting.  This project really taxes my attention span.  I find that I make the best progress when I am completely alone, with no music or video to distract me.  I’m slowly getting better.  Fortunately, the pattern is very easy.  Definitely a good first project for someone who wants to explore double-knitting

Norse Neck Warmer WIP 11-20-13 (Large)Photo bomb courtesy of Chess.  She’s a sweet female we adopted this summer when her family moved away and left her behind (they took her kittens, though – she was doubly-bereft).  She’s a terrific hunter – over three consecutive mornings this summer I watched her catch two mice and an unidentified small rodent that might have been a baby bunny.

Chess PhotoBomb 11-20-13 (Large)She’s also a nice lap kitty when I’m reading on the patio.  She’ll sit quietly on my lap and let me read in peace.  I took this picture this morning after I fed her, so she’s being all grateful and wanting pets.

Adventures in Double-Knitting – Norse Neck Warmer

The Norse Neck Warmer appears in the Winter, 2013, issue of Creative Knitting.  I’ve been wanting to try double-knitting, and this project looks very achieveable for a first effort.

I’m getting the hang of it, but this is definitely a pattern that takes a bit of focus (something of a problem for me).  The pattern calls for a long-tail cast on, which worked fine, but was extremely tedious because the two yarn colors kept twisting, and I had to keep track of which yarn was the tail.  I got into something of a rhythm, but I will be checking to see if there are any better ways to cast on nearly 200 stitches.

If you are not familiar with double-knitting, it is exactly what it seems: you are simultaneously (or, perhaps more accurately, “by alternating stitches”) knitting positive and negative images on the front and back of a piece.  It’s time consuming in the sense that you are actually knitting the project twice.  It also requires concentration to follow the pattern and remember that the second stitch of the pair is always the opposite color.

The directions are clear and there are some photos in the accompanying article for the cast on (which, frankly, I did not find helpful and I figured out my own way to cast on)

While I understood the concept, and knew what I was getting into, it still seems like “magic” that the alternating stitches on the needle come off as front and back double-knitting.

Neck Warmer 11-11-13 (Large)By the way, the yarn of unknown origin, handed down from my mother or grandmother.  Just basic worsted-weight yarn that works for the Size 4 circular needles that I am using.