Friday, January 24, 2014

Adventures In Knitting - Part 2

Last week, I described my adventures in learning how to knit in the round with two circular needles.  This week, it's time to describe my adventures in learning how to double knit  and knitting an intarsia piece. 

First let me say, that these particular experiments were at the request of a customer who bought a bracelet from me on Wyvern Designs on Art Fire  and said, "Oh by the way, I see that you knit.  Could you knit a scarf with a hood that lays flat under my coat?  And has skulls on it?"  I said, sure I'm game and went off to  try and teach myself how to do this!

I have never knitted using either of these methods but I figured how hard could it be?  So off to the internet to see what kind of instructions were out there.  I found many different videos and written tutorials.  After watching lots and lots of them I sat down and graphed out a skull pattern. I started with double knitting.   I searched for some scrap yarn with which to create my masterpiece, grabbed some needles and started to cast on. 

Now, there are several different ways to do this.  One tutorial instructed to cast on with both yarns at once, making sure that the two colors lay in the correct alignment.  I cast on using some hideous turquoise blue and bright yellow yarn I had.  I figured I was never going to use either for anything else so why not use it in this piece.  Half my double stitches came out Turquoise-yellow and the other half, yellow-turquoise.  So I ripped that out and tried the other method which entails casting on with one color and then knitting the second color as you go  along in the first row.  This proved to be so difficult that I threw the piece at the wall, which if you read my last adventure, you'll realize is my method of relieving stress.  After I picked the piece up and untangled the yarn, I ripped all those stitches out.

After several more tries using both methods, I decided to invent my own method.  I cast on the stitches using both yarns at once and went back and positioned the stitches by hand so that they were in the right order.

I started to knit.  With double knitting, you follow a chart, knitting with the appropriate color yarn to make your "picture".   The piece is extra thick and double sided, hence the term double knitting.  In my case, one side had a turquoise background with a yellow skull and the other a yellow background with a turquoise skull.  But I soon realized that I can't even read my own chart and I had messed up several times.  So I ripped out that piece and started again.

I decided that since I, apparently, couldn't read a chart, I would have to have written instruction for my pattern.  I spent some time counting out how many turquoise and yellow stitches in each row and finally sat down to knit.

This time there was no more flinging things against the wall and things progressed nicely.  I kind of like double knitting.  You have to be mindful to knit the main color stitch of the side you're working on and purl the stitch for the other side.   And as long as you follow the pattern, it turns out really well.  I only did a swatch but I think it would make a nice warm scarf which is double sided and whose edges are sealed.

Here is my first attempt at double knitting.  Don't mind the bilious colors.  My daughter said it looks like something out of the seventies, which is probably when I bought the yarn.


I had intended to tell of my adventures
in Intarsia in this post, as well.  but it ran a little long and I think I'll leave it for My
Adventures in Knitting-Part 3.


  1. Adventures indeed! Am always in awe of people who knit, especially 2 sided items. Your customer is going to be thrilled with the sharf. What an interesting idea, a scarf with a hood! Hope you do a blog showing the scarf when you are finished.

  2. I will. I plan to show it in progress, as well.

  3. I admire your perseverance! I've not tried double knitting, but it looks like it would produce an extra warm and reversible item. I've had several custom requests for items that I'd not made before. So far I've enjoyed figuring out how to do it, and the customers have been pleased with the results. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Good for you for not giving up and kudos for making your own pattern. Love custom order and its challenges, don't we?

  5. That is cute!

    Stopping by from the Blogger's Guild on ArtFire

  6. Way to stick to it! Sometimes you just have to find out what works best for you and the end results show your success. =)

  7. Great job sticking with learning to knit. I never could figure it out. You need to keep us updated on how things are going.

  8. I've known how to knit for years. It was just these techniques that I never tried before.

  9. That is impressive that you could modify your instructions into the form you needed to be successful. Like the skulls too.

    1. Thanks Roxanne. I'm a big self learner and as my Mom always said where there's a will, there's a way!