Monday, October 22, 2012

Double knitting in the round

As I've mentioned before, I wrote up a tutorial for how to rib in double knitting because I was getting lots of visitors via searches for that kind of information. Well, another kind of search that I get a lot of in my visitor stats is how to double knit in the round. So I thought I'd write about that, too. This isn't going to be a big tutorial because happily, it's not a complicated concept. :)

To begin with, I recommend first reading my about double knitting tutorial, which covers how double knitting actually works.

Also, please keep in mind that when I talk about the "right side" and "wrong side" of double knitting, I'm really just labelling the sides to distinguish them from each other - I know that because double knitting is totally reversible, there is no true "right" or "wrong" side.

At any rate, once you've got all that under your belt, let's look at double knitting in the round. It's exactly like doing any kind of knitting in the round:

  1. Cast on your stitches.
  2. Join in the round, being careful not to twist.
  3. Work the pattern, keeping in mind that the right side is always facing you.

That's it. There's nothing mysterious you need to know about double knitting in the round that you don't already know about double knitting flat. In fact, I would argue that double knitting is way easier than double knitting flat, because you never have to think to yourself, "Okay, which side is facing me now?" Following charts is much easier because what you need to do when faced with a chart square never changes.

What I mean by that is, let's say you have a square on your chart of colour A. What this square means is that when the right side is facing you, you need to knit one stitch with colour A and purl one stitch with colour B; but when the wrong side is facing you, you knit one stitch with colour B and purl one stitch with colour A. You can see, then, that if you ever mix up which side you're looking at, you're going to follow the chart wrong. However, when you're double knitting in the round, the same side is always facing you. Therefore, that colour A square on the chart I mentioned is always going to mean knit-one-stitch-with-colour-A-then-purl-one-stitch-with-colour-B. Far less complicated.

And that's it! Everything else is the same - knit one stitch in one colour with both strands at the back, then purl the next stitch in the other colour with both strands at the front.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions!


Anonymous said...

Hi... What method would I use to cast on...
From Teresa

Renee' said...

Question: so, when double knitting in the round,how do you read the dk flat chart since when dk-ing in the round the RS is always facing you?

Kathleen said...

Renée, you just treat every chart row as a RS row and read them all right-to-left.

Robin said...

I am making a cowl in the round and doing the double knitting. I have a light color facing me and the darker in the back. I follow each k stitch with a p stitch. The pattern on the front is beautiful but the back (or inside) is a solid color and the pattern is not showing in the reverse. What did I do wrong? I am SO perplexed. Thanks :0)

Kathleen said...

Hi Robin! It sounds to me like you've been purling with the same colour every time, instead of purling with the colour that's the opposite of what you've just knitted with. For example, if the instructions tell you to K with the light colour, you should then immediately P with the dark colour. BUT, if the instructions tell you to K with the DARK colour, you should then immediately P with the LIGHT colour. Make sense?

Kathleen said...

Hm. Looks like I should probably have given my answer as a reply comment rather than as a separate comment on its own. Whoops! Robin, please see my original answering comment further down on the page for what I think is going wrong with your double knitting.

Vicky said...

I'm new to knitting. Finishing up my third hat. Next hat I want double thick and warm. So I'm going to try double knitting (cable needles).
Pretty sure I'll have no problems with ribbing thanks to your great tutorial.
What about joining the two layers? With dp needles you say to twist the yarn at being if each row. Should I twist the yarns every time I get back to the beginning? Leave the two layers separate? Alternate a stitch every now and then?
I could do both sides same color, but it would be nice to have a reversible choice. No color patterns! I've been instructed to keep it conservative :)

Unknown said...

My pattern called for a total cast on using the MC of 320 stitches. It's a cowl, I know I'm not to double the stitches so how do I introduce the second color? Do I knit the first stitch with both colors, as recommended in flat? So many questions. What I'm about to do is knit and purl using my mc and cc in the mc cast on by knitting the first stitch with both colors. Is the wrong?

Unknown said...

Sorry this is knitted in the round.

Kathleen said...

Hi Stephanie,

If you're supposed to have 320 stitches visible per side, then you need to somehow increase to 640 stitches in the first round. However, you said that you know you're not to double the stitches, so this can't be the answer.

Since you seem to know for sure that you're supposed to have 160 stitches visible per side, then the way this particular pattern is starting you out is by casting on 320 stitches with just one colour. Once you've done the cast-on and are ready to start your first round, that's the time to start bringing in the CC and work the double knitting.

Exactly how to do that depends on what the pattern asks you to do in the first round. For example, if the first round is supposed to be all MC on the outside (and all CC on the inside), then you should work your first round as "(K1 with MC, P1 with CC) 160 times."

But as I say, it completely depends on the pattern. What is the pattern asking you to do?

Unknown said...

Hi! I'm working on a double knit hat in the round with a fair isles style pattern . Thanks to you I have been super successful.

However, I'm rapidly approaching the part of the hat where I need to decrease stitched as finish the hat.

How do I k2tog or p2tog with double knitting?

How do I finish the hat with no exposed tails?


Unknown said...

Hi. Your instructions say "Join in the round, being careful not to twist". I have done quite a bit of double knitting, but never knitted in the round, so how exactly do I "join in the round".

Thanks. Linda

Kathleen said...

Hi Linda, the following resources may be helpful for you to get started knitting in the round:

Googling "knitting in the round" will also give you access to additional resources if the above choices aren't clear.


Mary said...

Can you help me figure out what I’m doing wrong that there’s lines of the opposite color going across my knitted side. Some times the purls are not moving to the back but show up as a purl on the front. I would post photos if this site would allow me to. Thanks in advance for your help.

Kathleen said...

Hi Mary - yeah, without photos it's hard to analyze what might be going on.

However, if you've got purls showing up on the front of your work, it means that you're purling your front stitches instead of knitting them. If you're knitting regular double knitting in the round (and when I say "regular", I mean we don't expect to see purl stitches on either of the two sides), then you should be working [k1, p1] constantly throughout your work, regardless of colour. All the odd-numbered stitches should be knitted, and all the even-numbered stitches should be purled. That's how you get it to look like knitted stitches on both sides.

Additionally, you want to make sure that when you're working a knit stitch, both yarns are being held at the back of the work; and when you're working a purl stitch, both yarns are being held at the front of the work. This means moving both yarns to the other side after every single stitch.

The fact that the front of the work has both purl stitches AND lines of the opposite colour, suggests that you got mixed up about which stitches are the front stitches and which stitches are the back stitches. I suspect you've somehow ended up purling the front stitches with the back colour instead of knitting them with the front colour. I also suspect that if you flip the work to look at what the inside looks like, you'll find the same problems there too.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Do you know if you can double knit in the round on a knitting loom? If so, do you need two looms with one fitted inside the other?

Kathleen said...

I don't know anything about knitting with a knitting loom, so I can't say. However, what double knitting involves is essentially 1x1 rib, so if you could do that on a loom, then I'm guessing you can do double knitting on a loom too.