Here is a snippet of Double-Knitting for you; this swatch won’t take more than 10 mins (unless you become hooked). Try knitting a little tube of St. st using a single yarn and only 2 needles. This technique is ideal for glove fingers or other small tubes larger than I-cord and too small to be comfortably worked on a set of needles.
Yf – Bring the yarn forward towards the knitter.
Yb – Take yarn between the needles to the back of the work.
With straight needles, cast on, fairly firmly, 20sts or any even number, using any method.
Row 1 (yf, s1, yb, k1) repeat to end of row.
Every second st is worked, the remainder are slipped with the yarn in front of them.
Now repeat Row 1.
The stitches that were previously slipped are now worked and, for every two rows, one round of knitting is completed. Look carefully at your fabric whenever you are knitting, ESPECIALLY in DK. It may be helpful to think of the stitches comprising the front fabric as ‘near’ stitches and the others as ‘far’ stitches, as you work each row.
This will produce a tube of knitting with a closed end. The end is closed as it began from one continuous edge with alternate stitches forming one layer of fabric and the remaining stitches the opposite fabric.
For an open-ended tube, cast on onto two dpns (use a temporary cast in a contrasting colour if you would like raw stitches later), fold the cast-on stitches in half lengthwise, with the two needles lying side by side. Slip the stitches, one from each needle in turn (begin with a ‘far’ st from the back needle to follow the directions given here), until all the stitches are on the single needle.
Note: Although yb is included as a direction, it is unnecessary to state this as you have to take the yb in order to knit, ie (yf, s1, k1). The slipped stitches are slipped with the yarn in front of them (wyif) to prevent the two layers from becoming joined. The actions of working this row feel just like ribbing: be careful not to purl inadvertently.
General D-K Notes
- Cast on double the number of stitches for the width you require.
- Unlike conventional knitting, strand firmly behind the intervening stitches.
- Double knitting may have a different gauge from regular knitting with the same yarn and needles.
- Always slip stitches purlwise unless otherwise specified.
- To work out what is going on – try sketching the way the yarn runs.
- If you are aiming for a tubular fabric – check periodically that the two sides haven’t become accidentally joined.
- Look carefully at your stitches to help you to differentiate been the ‘near’ and ‘far’ fabric stitches.
On the same sample try changing to (s1, p1) to end of row. This produces a Reverse Stocking Stitch fabric.
Try to develop the action into one movement (the slipurl): insert the needle purlwise into both sts at once, allow the outer stitch to drop off unworked onto the RH needle and purl the second stitch. Notice the difference in speed?
Tubes may be bound off with three-needle-bind-off for a closed top or separated onto spare needles for a conventional bind off. Don’t be intimidated, it’s just stocking stich!