On Sunday I escaped the waning humidity by heading to Circles, where Alasdair was teaching the Double Knitting class.

I took this class before--in early May--but I didn't blog about it. Why? The technique didn't click with me. I left that class unsure if I could apply any new skills to my knitting.

For those of you who don't know, double knitting is a technique of knitting two separate layers of fabric at the same time. By doing some fancy (but not difficult) switching of yarns and stitches it's easy to create mirror-image color patterns in your knitting.

The trick is mastering the technique with both your needles and your brain. I had a very difficult time during the first class envisioning how everything works together to create two distinct layers.

Once you get your brain wrapped around that idea, then it's rather easy to envision how double knitting works. That was my problem in the first class. Well, that, and everything else. I could not blame Alasdair. He had a whole bunch of confused knitters struggling through the reverse long-tail cast on, the edge stitching, and the color switching, and he responded brilliantly Maybe there were a few too many knitters for that first class to be anything but a wee chaotic. Still, Alasdair kept his cool.

It must be frustrating to explain (for the Nth time) how the two-row concept works and to have that explaination returned with a blank stare. During the first class, in May, he lead almost a dozen of us through the mysteries of the reverse long-tail cast on, and the idea that one full row of double knitting actually requires two. Looking back there may have been a few too many participants in that first class.

This second class was much smoother. In general it was smoother because there were only four of us. For me it was smoother because I already had the basic idea; I just needed to fill in some blanks.

Alasdair is a genius at double knitting--believe me. Among the projects he showed us was a hat which he triple knit (two layers, three colors). Don't ask me how he did it.

After a false start with my cast-on row, I was ready. This time, Alasdair had a three-page handout he used to help us increase our confidence and reinforce what he was saying. Using the handout as a guide we worked portions of two-color Fair Isle charts. This was a great way to learn the technique and see your results quickly.

Not too bad, eh:


You can see the beginnings of the flower chart growing in my swatch. The eagle-eyed among you might notice my one mistake on the left-hand side. Besides that stitch, the swatch was time consuming but a nice knitting challenge for a humid summer Sunday.

The goal is to be able to knit something like this by the holidays.


Thanks for blogging about this class. While I live too far to be able to take it, it's got me intrigued. I will be keeping my eyes open for a simliar class around this area.
Your swatch looks great.

I agree - once you can wrap your mind around what's supposed to be happening, double knitting really isn't too difficult. In fact, I think it's a lot of fun!

I think you'll be able to knit that hat easy peasy - the stripes should be a relief after tackling that flower pattern! :)

I have had that hat in my Dulaan file for a while, since I imagine it is warm as hell, but I have not quite figured out the double knit thing either.

Don' you love that there is always a way to challenge yourself as a knitter?

I always love taking classes and learning new techniques...

I can see how a smaller sized class would make learning much easier. I don't think that's something I could pick up in a crowd. That's on my list to learn, but I need a better understanding of how it works before looking for a class, I think.

Nice swatch, btw.

That is SO cool! Once I get past my first sock (hopefully the third attempt is the charm) I can start dreaming of double knitting in the future. Bravo! Looks great.

Someday I too will learn.
Your swatch looks great.

I have been dying to get over to Circles! The double knitting sounds like such a great skill to know. I love love your blog. It's nice to know I am not the only 'subway knitter' in Boston. Keep up the great work!

Thanks for the kind words on my class. It's always heartening to see someone else truly grasp this technique and not only _that_ it works but _why_ it works. Folks, check out my website ( for more double-knit stuff.

I, too, would like to knit Alison's hat someday. No hurry, though - plenty of other skills I need to learn, too! Congrats on "getting it" the second time around!


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