How to Double Knit for Beginners
Double knitting is an exciting technique perfect for colourwork. The knitting technique creates a reversible fabric that uses two yarns and is twice as warm as a regular knitted pattern. You create two layers of fabric at the same time with the same pair of knitting needles. One colour, say for example A faces one side (right side of the project) and the other colour, take for example B faces the other side. Both layers face out while the wrong sides face each other. The finished knitted fabric is entirely reversible and twice as warm.
For pattern designers, the double knitting technique is a great opportunity as it is easy to create a fabric with two colours of different fibers with visible sides and no wrong sides. For knitters who love knitting with two-colour at the same time without changing yarns, the double knitting method is free from the constraints of strands and floats, big motifs, and large areas of one single colour. The technique works for all kinds of projects such as a warm sweaters, scarf, pillow covers, and pretty much everything. Stainless steel knitting needles are a good choice when working with two different colours of yarn as well as smooth knitting.
How to get started with double knitting
Getting started with double knitting is not that difficult. You are using the same pair of knitting needles and yarn while following the pattern of k1 (knit) and p1 (purl) till the end of the row or round. Here while you make k1 with one colour, you make p1 with the other. The working of the stitches k1 and p1 usually makes ribbing but with the use of two yarns, it creates a stocking stitch pattern on each side. If you are a new knitter, refer to our guide on knitting with stocking stitch on circular needles.
For every knit stitch, remember to bring both yarns to the back of the work and for every purl stitch, always bring both yarn threads to the front. Keep the yarns of both colours together at all times. Take them as one, even though only one yarn is used when working one stitch at a time. Follow the pattern to move both yarns back and forth for every stitch. The knit stitches create the front of the knitting project (the one facing you) while the purls are forming the layer of fabric on the other side (the backside of the knitting project).
Reading Charts & Patterns
Double knitting becomes simpler when you have the knowledge of reading charts and patterns. Charts are visual aids and of you can think visually then the knitting technique is easier to understand and work with.
Instructions on How to Double Knit
Cast On - Take the knitting needles in the size and type mentioned in the pattern. For practice, you can use any pair of single-pointed knitting needles. Double-pointed needles also work but knit with only two at a time and use a stopper by winding a rubber band. Circular needles work for both knitting styles and any size project with the right cable length. You have to make double the usual number of stitches - one in each colour, alternating across the row. Choose the cast-on method as mentioned in the pattern or whatever suits the project. The long tail cast on works for most projects including the double knitting technique but calculate carefully the yarn needed to ensure that you do not run off yarn. Make sure to make a slip knot with both yarns. Another trick to cast stitches is to make half the number required and then knit through the back and front of the stitches to get the exact number of cast-on stitches. A trick for smooth knitting in the double-knit technique is to cast two extra stitches in both yarn colours.
A quick tutorial is to cast one stitch with A and then B and continue till the end of the row. If you are working on a pattern that requires back-and-forth knitting then stop at 2 extra stitches. Turn the needle arrangement to start knitting. If you are knitting in the round, join the stitches with an invisible swap join or any other way you prefer. Make sure to slip two stitches, one of each colour of yarn.
Knitting the first row - Start knitting on the k1, p1 pattern. Bring both yarns to the back for knit and to the front to purl. Work only one stitch at a time, but make sure to have both yarns on the same side of the knitting needle (front or back). For neat edges, slip two stitches one of each colour. Continue this pattern until you’ve had a practice square like a gauge swatch or like the pattern mentions.
Knitting the first round - Double knitting in the round is simple. You basically work the same steps of round knitting but with two colours with reversible fabric. The trick is to join the stitches as neatly as possible. If you are working with circular knitting needles you simply have to focus on working on the RS while the WS will work its way.
After a few rows and rounds, you will notice both sides of the knitted fabric are a stocking stitch (stockinette) pattern of two layers. The stitches might curl as is the nature of the stitch pattern. There are a few tricks for neat edges, you can choose any.
Finishing - For a proper finish of the knitting project, you need to properly cast off the stitches. Like the cast on, hold both strands of yarn as one. Cast the stitches off the knitting needles knitwise or purlwise according to the pattern. Make sure to repeat the stitches with both colours of yarn. Repeat until there are two stitches left. Using both strands of yarn, knit two together and cast off.
Weave in the yarn ends with a darning needle. Thread both yarns through the same two stitches. You can also opt for weaving the two yarn ends separately with the same shade of yarn on the knitted fabric of the same colour. Follow the stitch pattern to bury the yarn ends neatly.
Block your pattern. Choose blocking tools and methods according to your yarn. Steam blocking is the best to work with.
With the two different colour sides to the knitted fabric, you have two different colours and designs, bringing much more versatility to your craft. Ready for double knitting?
Explore the Mindful Collection for your trusted stainless steel knitting needles. Available in a standard range of sizes and lengths, each needle carries an inspirational word imprinted on its body that helps the knitter focus on the mindful aspects of the knitting craft. Along with needles, explore knitting accessories such as stitch markers, tape measures, blocking tools and more.
Stainless Steel Knitting Needles