• Something Amazing — A Tale of Double-Knitting

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    One Christmas not too long ago I received a surprising and wonderful present.  It was about 2 months after I started knitting and 1 month since my first (forever unpublished) knitting design – talked about in a previous blog post.  Let me first start by saying I was young, I was naive, and since I’d only been knitting a short while, I didn’t know much about yarn.  More importantly, I didn’t have an appreciation for just how awesome color and yarn could be.

    No, I loved or thought I loved nothing but undyed yarns, and that’s exactly what I got for Christmas: undyed yarn, lots of undyed yarn, beautiful undyed yarn, expensive undyed yarn, in all sorts of weights and colors and fibers.  I was giddy.  I immediately designed and knit some fingerless gloves  and some over-mitts out of one of the larger, less expensive wools.  I then set my sights on the Cascade Eco Alpaca.

    I should first say that my wife was kind of upset about my choosing to knit those gloves out of that yarn, not that it’s any of her business… Still, she did make a good point with the alpaca: it was expensive yarn, and I needed to make something amazing out of it.  My wife suggested a sweater, but I had other plans in mind.

    My first knitting design, a scarf, didn’t really work for me you see.  It was too short for my liking, it didn’t stay in place, it curled, and it looked ugly on one side (which is why it remains unpublished).  I knew, then, that I wanted to knit a scarf, and since I made a promise to my wife, I knew it had to be an amazing scarf design.  So I set to work figuring out how to make something amazing.

    After reading through some knitting and stitch pattern books, I quickly set my sights on double-knitting.  I knit a swatch of a double-knit stitch pattern, toyed with it until I figured out how it worked, and then set myself to playing with the technique.  I tried various things, from different stitch patterns on different sides to beginning double-knit lace, when I finally decided I’d try to figure out if I could cable using the technique.

    The stranding issues were the hardest to overcome.  It’s very easy to cross strands or opposite-side stitches over the stitches you want to show, you see, especially when cabling.  This, of course, completely obscures the beautiful cables you’re trying to achieve and ruins the effect.

    Eventually it hit me to use 2 cable needles – as seen in my double-knit cables tutorial.  That solved my forward cable issues, which were where I struggled the most.  The back cables I’d solved prior by realizing I could keep maneuvering the stitches between the layers if I kept moving the cable needle back and forth.  I realized, though, that to create forward cables I would need to literally separate the 2 layers of knitting and pull the stitches between them.  Dual cable needles were a natural jumping point from there.

    Cable issues solved, I was ready to design.  I knew just what I wanted to do, too.  I grabbed the chart from my first knitting design and modified it for a new one.  Thus, the first incarnation of Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf  was born – something very amazing, indeed!

    Of course, the design had to go through several revisions before I was finally able to finish it (I knit half of it using the slip-stitch method of double-knitting!), but I’m happy with the final product (Mostly.  I still want to tweak parts of it).  The scarf is still one of my favorite garments, and I’m sure it will always hold a very dear place in my heart no matter what the world might bring.

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