Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ribbing in double knitting, part 2

This is the continuation of Ribbing in double knitting, part 1, which is itself sort of a sequel to About double knitting.

In this blog entry, I'm going to cover the four ways to do ribbing in double knitting that I discussed last time, with pictures showing you what each type looks like.

Before we begin, though, I need to define my terms. Obviously, because double knitting is reversible, there really is no such thing as a "right side" and a "wrong side" of the work. However, in order to distinguish the two sides of the work, throughout this tutorial, I'll be using "right side" to describe the side which has knit stitches showing in yellow, and "wrong side" to describe the side which has knit stitches showing in red. (Of course, if you happen to be working your ribbed double knitting in the round, you can ignore the instructions for how to do things on the wrong side.)

The instructions for how to do knits and purls are presented in table form. I haven't been super-precise about them, because only you will know what kind of ribbing you want to do - K1-P1? K2-P2? K4-P2? There are no constraints, you can do any kind of ribbing you want. So what I've done here is tell you how to do each kind of stitch (i.e. knit, purl, and their counterparts on the wrong side), and then you can put them wherever you want them.

So if, for example, you wanted to do K2-P2 ribbing, first, you would choose which of the four types of double knitted ribbing you want to do, and then on the right side, follow the instructions for a knit stitch of that type twice, then follow the instructions for a purl stitch of that type twice. (And then, of course, repeat as many times as necessary.) Then for the stitches on the wrong side, you would follow the corresponding wrong side instructions.

One colour on each side, with the two layers ribbing in opposite directions from each other

right side:
Type 1, right side

wrong side:
Type 1, wrong side

cross section: (note how it "bubbles out" at the knits and "slucks in" at the purls)
Type 1, cross section

NOTE: If you're working flat, you will need to cross the strands at the beginning of every row so that the two layers don't come apart.

What it looks like on the right side What it looks like on the wrong side Step # Working on the right side Working the same 2 stitches on the wrong side
How to position the strands What to do How to position the strands What to do
yellow knit red knit 1 both at back knit with yellow both at back knit with red
2 both at front purl with red both at front purl with yellow
yellow purl red purl 1 yellow at front, red at back purl with yellow yellow at back, red at front purl with red
2 knit with red knit with yellow

One colour on each side, with the two layers ribbing in the same direction together

right side:
Type 2, right side

wrong side:
Type 2, wrong side

cross section: (note how the whole fabric ripples together in the rib pattern)
Type 2, cross section

NOTE: If you're working flat, you will need to cross the strands at the beginning of every row so that the two layers don't come apart.

What it looks like on the right side What it looks like on the wrong side Step # Working on the right side Working the same 2 stitches on the wrong side
How to position the strands What to do How to position the strands What to do
yellow knit red purl 1 both at back knit with yellow yellow at back, red at front purl with red
2 yellow at front, red at back knit with red both at front purl with yellow
yellow purl red knit 1 yellow at front, red at back purl with yellow both at back knit with red
2 both at front purl with red yellow at back, red at front knit with yellow

Corrugated ribbing, with the two layers ribbing in opposite directions from each other

right side:
Type 3, right side

wrong side:
Type 3, wrong side

cross section: (flatter than the previous kinds of ribbing, but still a bit "bubbly" at the knits and "slucky" at the purls)
Type 3, cross section

NOTE: If you're working flat, you will need to cross the strands at the beginning of every row so that the two layers don't flap apart at the sides.

What it looks like on the right side What it looks like on the wrong side Step # Working on the right side Working the same 2 stitches on the wrong side
How to position the strands What to do How to position the strands What to do
yellow knit red knit 1 both at back knit with yellow both at back knit with red
2 both at front purl with red both at front purl with yellow
red purl yellow purl 1 yellow at back, red at front purl with red yellow at front, red at back purl with yellow
2 knit with yellow knit with red

Corrugated ribbing, with the two layers ribbing in the same direction together

This one is unique in that both layers look exactly the same: yellow knits and red purls on both sides. Therefore, there is no "wrong side" - you follow the knit directions below for all knits and the purl directions below for all purls, no matter which side is facing you.

both sides look like this:
Type 4, second side

cross section: (also fairly flat)
Type 4, cross section

NOTE: If you're working flat, you will need to cross the strands at the beginning of every row so that the two layers don't flap apart at the sides.

What it looks like on this side What it looks like on the other side Step # How to position the strands What to do
yellow knit red purl 1 both at back knit with yellow
2 yellow at front, red at back knit with red
red purl yellow knit 1 yellow at back, red at front purl with red
2 both at front purl with yellow

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

this was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so you much for your time and effort to explain it so well. Awesome job.

Lizzie said...

This tutorial is brilliant, and is exactly what I was looking for, but I do have a question.
Having cast on 34 stitches in double knit, I am starting with alternatively coloured stitches when i come to this ribbing. Does this mean then that I am supposed to knit each stitch twice to match the colour way that you describe (I am looking specifically at k1p1 in option 4)?
And then when I have two stitches of each colour next to each other, do I go on to knit each one once in the following rows?
Then what do I do when I move on to the rest of my pattern and have double the stitches i need, just knit each matching colour pair as one stitch?
I am pretty new at this so maybe I've just cast on wrong in the first place, or maybe I'm overcomplicating things. I'd really appreciate any advice you could give me :)

Willknitforbeer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Willknitforbeer said...

I had figured out some of this but did not know enough to take how the ribs lay into consideration. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this down n a clear concise manner and for the photos too! Much appreciated.

Thanks,

willknitforbeer09 on ravelry
Kelly in the real world

Anonymous said...

wow, what a lot of work you put into this tutorial. However, I am confused as to what is meant by "Working the same 2 stitches on the wrong side" in the last box of your tables. Do you mean that you slip the two stiches you just finished back onto the left needle and re-work them?
I'm sorry I am very new to double knitting, but really want to rib in it.

Anonymous said...

oh about that last post I just posted - perhaps the problem is that I'm knitting in the round?

Kathleen said...

Hi Anonymous - yes, anything I say about the wrong side is completely irrelevant and ignorable if you're knitting in the round. :)

Anonymous said...

wow - and so efficient at responding too! so awesome. Thank you for the clarification. I'm trying it at this very moment.

Anonymous said...

I have just read several other knitting instruction sources which informed me ribbing is not possible in double knit. Never say "impossible" to a fiber artist! Thank you for taking the time to figure out not one, but four optins for a double knit ribbing and sharing it in such clear terms. I was knitting when man first walked on the moon, but am always looking for new challenges. My next project will include this technique.

Anonymous said...

I am confused, in the final example, how do you purl with red first before you purl with yellow? Isn't yellow the next loop to be worked with? (after you knit yellow knit red?) are you supposed to slip the red over the yellow so red is "next in line" to be purled?

Kathleen said...

No, you've gotten mixed up a bit. :)

In the final example, let's say that you are trying to do K1, P1 ribbing over 8 stitches (i.e. 4 stitches per side). Therefore, moving right-to-left, your worked fabric will look like this:

a yellow knit; a red purl; a yellow knit; a red purl

I'll break it down a little more:
1) a yellow knit, which looks like a red purl from the other side, so it's made up of first a yellow loop and then a red loop
2) a red purl, which looks like a yellow knit from the other side, so it's made up of first a red loop and then a yellow loop
3) a yellow knit, which looks like a red purl from the other side, so it's made up of first a yellow loop and then a red loop
4) a red purl, which looks like a yellow knit from the other side, so it's made up of first a red loop and then a yellow loop

Therefore, if you take a look at the *loops* on your left needle, again moving right to left, they will look like this:

Loop 1) yellow
Loop 2) red
Loop 3) red
Loop 4) yellow
Loop 5) yellow
Loop 6) red
Loop 7) red
Loop 8) yellow

Therefore, in order to work a row, you would do the following:

Loop 1) This stitch is yellow. With both strands at back, you knit it with your yellow yarn.
Loop 2) This stitch is red. With the yellow strand at front and the red strand at back, knit it with your red yarn.
Loop 3) This stitch is red. With the yellow strand at back and the red strand at front, purl it with your red yarn.
Loop 4) This stitch is yellow. With both strands at front, you purl it with your yellow yarn.
Loop 5) This stitch is yellow. With both strands at back, you knit it with your yellow yarn.
Loop 6) This stitch is red. With the yellow strand at front and the red strand at back, knit it with your red yarn.
Loop 7) This stitch is red. With the yellow strand at back and the red strand at front, purl it with your red yarn.
Loop 8) This stitch is yellow. With both strands at front, you purl it with your yellow yarn.

As you can see, after you knit-yellow-knit-red, yellow is NOT the next loop to be worked with; red is.

Hope this helps!

Zella said...

Took me a few times to read this and pulling out stitchs since I am working in the round but I got it thanks so much!

Maria said...

This is awesome! Just like that I am double knitting a camo hat for my son! Snow camo on one side, and normal camo on the other :)

I have a question though, and forgive me if this is explained somewhere else and I haven't stumbled upon it yet:
If I do a ribbed border of k1k1p1p1, I am correct that when switching to stockinette, instead of doing kpkp, I keep going kkppkkpp? That or I have to somehow move the stitches so they alternate but I think it works to do kkppkkpp?

Thanks!

Kathleen said...

Hi Maria, so glad the tutorial could inspire you to start something! :)

Whenever you do stockinette in double knitting, it is always kpkpkp, with the knits being what shows up as stocking stitch on one side, and the purls being what shows up as stocking stitch on the other side. It makes no difference whether you are switching to stockinette from doing ribbing, or whether you're doing stockinette on your piece from the very beginning - if you want it to look like stockinette on both sides, it's always kpkpkp. Hope that makes sense for you.

Maria said...

The thing is, after coming out of the ribbing, the stitches present themselves this way: kkAppBppAkkB. I can continue in stockinette kpkp but that makes the second k stitch into a p stitch and the first p stitch into a k stitch in the wrong color.
So I am doing stockinette stitch kkpp LOL and it is working.
But I still wonder how to solve this for other projects. Maybe I did a totally new ribbing? LOL
Here is how I did the ribbing:
Yrn in back kkA, yrn in front ppB, B yrn in back ppA, kkB.

Kathleen said...

Sorry, I'm not understanding your notation. What's 'kkA'? Is that supposed to be 'a knit in colour A, a knit in colour A'? Because if so, then something has gone wrong with the ribbing. Each set of two stitches on your needle should be two stitches in two *different* colours, whether it's a colour A first and a colour B second, or a colour B first and a colour A second. (The actual *type* of stitch in each group of two might be the same as or different from each other, depending on the type of double knitted ribbing you were doing, but the *colours* in each group of two should be different.)

Which type of ribbing were you doing?

Maria said...

Yes, knit knit in color A.
I did it wrong but it is looking exactly like it should LOL I have the ribbing #2 that I wanted, I am just in kkpp "stockinette" stitch in the main part of the hat. So for this project it works out fine. I will just make sure I do it properly for future projects.
I can send you a photo if you want to see :)

Maria said...

Oh and PS:
I would love a post about the various cast ons for double knitting! If you have time that is :)
I used an adapted long tail cast on (but without the tail since there are two strands of yarn) and it works well but I would love to know other types of cast ons!

Skirty said...

Thank you very much for this post, it's extremely informative and useful. I have just knit my first double knit item and it was a hat, so I wanted rib at the start. Your post saved me many hours of experimentation.

Kathleen said...

So glad I could help, Skirty! Yay!

Anonymous said...

This is so"great" thank you!

From Teresa

Anonymous said...

1st Thanks very much for figuring this out. You really should trademark this, as I have looked for a long time on how to do this,& you are definitely the only person who even says this can be done!I do have a question though, how do I create a purl bump on the right side when double knitting? Do I have to tbl? If so how do I do it on the wrong side (next stitch)? Thanks for any assistance you can provide. Again Fantastic job!!!

Mouse96 said...

Hi! From Teresa

I do love double ribbing... But I wondering could you please tell me " what method you used to cast on"

Valerie said...

Thank you so much for sharing these instructions! I'm sure that the middle of holiday gift knitting is exactly the wrong time to be trying out not one but two new techniques! Yet I got the bright idea to try out double knitting to make a hat for my niece. These notes on ribbing I'm sure will keep this project from turning into the hottest of hot messes! At least at the beginning, lol! I know you can't be held responsible for anything once I get into the body of the hat. ;) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! This saved me another few false starts and hours of figuring it out by myself. It's the only ribbing tutorial for double knitting I could find anywhere, and so detailed. Great work! The cast-on is great, too, I tried several others that just ended up looking messy.
Great work, thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Oook, this is strange. I am working in the round on 4 needles following (or trying to) version #2, doing a 2k 2p rib (or 4k 4p in double knit). My first loop is "yellow", the second "red".
What I get on the outward facing side looks like this: the knitted stitches of both colours face me, so it looks like vertical stripes. The purl looks normal, just two yellow facing me. The reverse side looks red, though the purl ribs look wider and some yellow is coming through.

Could the issue be that I knit continental style, so the way the threads are placed is different?

Anonymous said...

I am massively confused. Say I want 1x1 ribbing with purple on the right side, white on the wrong side. Your instructions don't make sense to me. Where should my yarn be when I work the first purple stitch? And then when I work the next stitch, which is white? And then when I work the second purple and second white stitch? And when I do the next row, the wrong side, I am totally messed up on how to do that too. It makes sense to you because you already know how to do it. To me, it's a jumble of absolute confusion.

Anonymous said...

Darn it, now I feel bad about leaving that previous comment. I know it came out curt because I was frustrated. Anyway, I went back over your instructions and figured them out, so thank you and sorry for my previous rudeness.

Kathleen said...

No worries, Anonymous! The technique does take a bit of a think, and I'm sorry that the instructions weren't clear on your first read-through. But I'm really glad it eventually made sense! And it was lovely of you to come back and apologize. :)

Jen said...

THANK YOU!!! I needed to do some double-knitted ribbing and your instructions were very useful!

Corey Borders said...

Hi! I know this is an extremely old post, but I just found it and it is wonderfully helpful! I do have one question, though. Have you found that when using this technique with double knitted ribbing the ribbing isn't as stretchy and is looser and floppier than normal? Any thoughts as to how to correct that?

Kathleen said...

Hi Corey! Glad the tutorial was helpful.

Unfortunately yes, you're quite right, double-knitted rib doesn't have the same stretchy quality as regular rib. (Although I haven't noticed that it's looser and floppier than regular ribbing; rather the opposite, actually.)

This is kind of the nature of the beast, as far as I can tell, because the fabric is twice as thick with double knitting. However, if you're trying to approximate the quality of regular ribbing as much as possible, I definitely recommend the "One colour on each side, with the two layers ribbing in the same direction together" type of double knitted ribbing.

Hope this helps!
-Kathleen.

LeAnna said...

Thank you for this tutorial!! I just started double knitting and this helped tremendously! I'm trying to knit a pair of mittens for my nephew in double knit as my first double knit project. I'm beginning to think I should have picked an easier project.

Anonymous said...

I too am very confused. A video would help tremendously, since there is very little help on accomplishing this ribbing. There is one video but I can't see. The colors you demonstrate with would be great.

Anne Glover said...

hi there, not sure if you can reply, but im trying ot do Corrugated ribbing, with the two layers ribbing in opposite directions from each other k2 by p2 rib but front same as the wrong side, do you have the instructions for this type, i couldnt get it in the box and im making socksso want the same rib as inside of the socks as the outside if that makes sense with 2 colours
could you help cheers.

Theresa Ainsworth said...

What a life saver this post was for me. I searched and searched how to make ribbing in double knit. Your instructions are clear and I was able to help my knitting student. Thank you!

Samantha Schultz said...

Thank you so much for this I plan to make some gingerbread gloves with a ribbed cuff for a friend and at first I was dreading it because my floats with intarsia and fair isle are always horrible people's fingers getting caught etc. Now I can double knit them and not have to worry about it

Samantha Schultz said...

Thank you so much for this I plan to make some gingerbread gloves with a ribbed cuff for a friend and at first I was dreading it because my floats with intarsia and fair isle are always horrible people's fingers getting caught etc. Now I can double knit them and not have to worry about it

Anonymous said...

how would you bind off using this technique?