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Double Your Fun with Double Knitting

Nov 9, 2012

Double knitting is the process of creating two layers of fabric at the same time, on one set of needles. These layers make cozy glasses cases, hot pads, gadget covers, and slippers, to name just a few uses.

The Double-Knitted Flap Bag by Annie Modesitt
What's under the flap? A bunch of useful pockets!
This knitting technique also has the benefit of being reversible. Imagine a pocket with the right side showing on the outside of the garment and the wrong side hidden—that's what double knitting looks like.

Double knitting is wonderful for two-color designs because you can use one or the other color to place large motifs without stranding, and you can place motifs as far apart or as close together as you want to without using the intarsia method.

This sounds sort of complicated, doesn't it? But double knitting is an easy-to-learn technique. If you can knit and purl, you can learn double knitting; it's just like working a knit one, purl one rib!

Because double knitting has two layers, you need to cast on twice as many stitches-half of them will be pushed to the "back" when you start double knitting, creating the pocket construction unique to double knitting.

Casting On for Double Knitting

One Color: If you're using one color, simply case on half of the stitches needed for the double-knit portion of your project, turn, and kf&b into all of the stitches, doubling the number of stitches. The result looks like paired knit and purl stitches, which is just what you need to begin double knitting.

Two Colors: If you're double knitting with two colors, the cast on below is a lovely, decorative version of the long-tail cast-on most of us are familiar with.
Two-Color Long-Tail Cast-On
First, determine which color yarn is used first in the pattern (usually labeled something like "C1") and proceed as follows:

Step 1: Make a slipknot using both color yarns held together, ensuring the slipknot lands with C1 on the needle first and the other color (C2) on the needle second.
Step 2: Pull 2 strands of C1 yarn from right to left between 2 strands of C2, using long-tail method, cast on 1 st with C1.
Step 3: Pull 2 strands of C2 yarn from right to left between 2 strands of C1; using long-tail method, cast on 1 st with C2.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have the correct number of sts on the needle.

If you want to learn more about double knitting, (and who wouldn't?), get yourself a copy of Annie Modesitt's Knitting Daily Workshop, Double Knitting: Essential Techniques for Knitting Two Layers at a Time. Annie is a fabulous and fun teacher, who'll inspire you to delve deep into double knitting.


P.S. Do you have experience in double-knitting? Share your tips with us in the comments!

Featured Product

Interweave Knits Workshop: Double Knitting: Essential Techniques to Knit Two Layers at a Time with Annie Modesitt

Availability: In Stock
Was: $24.95
Sale: $22.46


Learn to knit double with this knitting video on double-knitting techniques, and practice your knitting with a free knitted bag pattern.


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Kittcatt wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 7:46 PM

I have trouble with the purl side being looser, any tips for me???

I am a thrower, English knitter...I suppose that's part of my problem but any tips would be appreciated. tks.

Linda Hershey

Michaela99 wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 6:08 PM

My good friend actually wrote a book on the Double-Knitting technique! It is called "Wrapped in Love" and is a beautiful book of knitted shawl patterns in beautiful double-knitting. They're really fun to knit, and are gorgeous. Google the book, and check it out sometime!

jageo wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 3:22 PM

I've been experimenting with double knitting on sock soles.  I knit magic loop toe-up, and cast on the extra yarn color just after i'm finished my toe-shaping increases.  The double-knitting makes a cushy, warm sole and for the top of the sock I'm stranding the second coloured yarn in to make a fun pattern.

I haven't figured out a nice way to 'bind-off' the double-knitting yet once I reach the turning point in the heel. I've tried plenty of ways but none are just right. Acceptable, but not great.

Still, the double-knit soles are great - I don't want to knit any other kind of sock :)

on Nov 9, 2012 1:42 PM

Hi folks--Sorry about the confusion! The "knitting techniques" link goes to a free eBook on general knitting techniques, not specifically double knitting. It's a great eBook, though, so I hope you'll download it and enjoy it. ~Kathleen

on Nov 9, 2012 9:38 AM

I like the idea of double knit...certainly a way to keep warm when it really gets cold! Btw, I was trying to share this page on Facebook and I kept getting an access denied message, not sure if that it was FB or Knitting Daily. Never had that problem before. :(

JudyW wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 9:18 AM

I absolutely agree with Knitasha.  The purchase of an ebook (from Interweave) has been extremely disappointing - it quite simply cannot be followed on the screen, even my very large desktop one.  It is now a useless waste of money.  

LGayle wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 7:30 AM

I am the designer of the striped helmet hat, and it is NOT worked in double-knitting. I think it was included in the pattern suggestions by accident because the term is used to describe the hat which inspired this project. The hat pattern available for purchase is not double-knit. I hope thus comment prevents anyone from being disappointed.

Knitasha wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 7:17 AM

This looks intriguing -- I know the basics of double-knitting but there are techniques here that I would love to learn. However, I won't be ordering either the download or the DVD. After considerable and expensive experience, I now know that my eyes, mind and hands are simply not programmed to to coordinate with on-screen instruction. I learn much more effectively from print, where I can go back and forth easily and study any tricky steps carefully (no, clicking "pause" is not the same). I'd snap up a print version of this workshop in a heartbeat, but, with regret,  I'll have to pass on this offering.