Double knitting is something I had never tried before, last weekend one of the very talented knitters in my Knitters Guild group ran a workshop on it so I had the chance to learn how to do it.
In double knitting you are knitting a double thickness of fabric. The way that you switch your yarns and stitches results in only the purl stitches (smooth looking stitches) showing on the outside of your work. It sounds complicated to get your head around and you cast on with 2 strands of yarn but treat them as one stitch which adds to the confusion. After the first few rows it starts to make sense. You can use this technique to make each side of the fabric a different colour the entire piece or you can twist your yarn colours around to form patterns within the piece. The result in a negative image of the pattern on the reverse side of the piece. In our workshop we worked off a chart to create a picture of a house. I only got the first half dozen or so rows done but I can see the picture starting to develop.
Prior to the workshop I had seen items done with the negative image in reverse and I really liked it but I had no idea what it was called or how to do it. I really like double knitting now that I have learnt how to do it. To be honest I am not going to finish the house, I used scrap yarn and will take it off my needles and return it to my scrap yarn bag. I do want to try this technique on a dishcloth or maybe get some 8 or 12 ply wool and make a hot pad trivet with it for the kitchen. It is very slow technique to work up in that you have to keep changing the yarn colours between your fingers and switching between knit and purl stitches. You have to really concrete on what you are doing so you don’t make a mistake in your pattern which means no auto knitting. I guess depending on the thickness of the yarn you use and how long you want to spend doing it you could make clothing other than scarves with the technique. I don’t think I would even have the attention span to do a scarf in it, a trivet I can handle.
I have recently discovered Noro Tokonatsu yarn, it is a mixture of silk, cotton and viscose. It was love at first touch as it is so soft. I had no idea what I would make so I brought 3 balls of light blue colour which is Shade 7 from Morris and Sons.
I went on Ravelry to have a look for patterns. If you haven’t heard of Ravelry and you like to knit or crochet I urge you to go check it out. Ravelry is like a combination of Pinterest and Pattern Review but for yarn based projects. You can find lots of patterns and links for any yarn project you can think of. I did a search of Tokonatsu and found this wonderful little pattern by Doris & Wilfred designs that just happened to be made in the shade colour I had.
This is a really great pattern to make. I have never followed a 8 row repeat of a pattern before which is how this cowl is made but it was really easy to do. This pattern only uses stocking stitch (one row knit, one row purl) To make the elongated pattern you wrap the yarn around the needle one row then drop all the stitches the next row. I have never done anything like this before but it was very simple.
To make it easier for myself I actually wrote out the instructions for each row so at a quick glance I could see what I needed to do. I was using a clicker to keep track of my rows but I also kept a written tally. I added an extra 2½ pattern repeats to what the pattern says to do. When I finished the in total 9 pattern repeats the pattern said to knit it just wasn’t long enough for me so I added the extra on. Confession I did have a minor brain snap on my about 5th or 6th last row and dropped the loops doing the wrong stitch but you don’t even notice it. I’d put the cowl down and forgot to click and tally down my row so when I picked it up again my row count didn’t match what I needed to do. To join the ends to make it circular I did a single crochet stitch seam.
This pattern only uses a single 50g ball of yarn. Even with the extra rows I added I still only just used the one. When I brought the yarn the staff from Morris and Sons said I could return any yarn I didn’t use so I’m going to take the remain 2 balls back and swap it for other colours.
Last year I brought myself a Boye electronic yarn winder. Until recently it had been sitting under my bed unopened. I had to frog back a crochet project so I decided to break it out of the box to re-wind the ball.
So as the name suggests this plugs into the wall and does all the manual winding of the yarn to create the yarn cake for you. I found this great YouTube clip on how to use it. I first tried it out on the ball of Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton I was frogging back. Bendigo Woollen Mills balls / skeins are 200g so they are quite large. It did handle it but towards the end it struggled as the yarn cake got larger and larger. The machine slowed down and I had to help it a bit. I put a photo up online and a friend commented that cotton can be hard to work into a ball.
In the end I decided to cut the yarn and make a second cake. I haven’t weighed the yarns to see how much is in each cake. A yarn cake is the description given to balls of yarn when they are wound like this. They allow you to use the centre pull method when your working with your yarn so the ball / cake doesn’t go jumping around the table. I did use the large cake for a project after this and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t a fan of the centre pull method on such a large ball. The yarn is taken from the inside of the ball out. The cake is starting to collapse and I kept getting yarn spurts where entire chunks were coming out. I’m not sure if it was due to the size of the cake. I guess next time I use one I will see.
The second lot of yarn I tried out was smaller 50g ball. It was a cotton mixture. The machine easily made it into a cake without effort. It took a matter of minutes to wind it into the cake shape. I used this cake on my yarn spindle using the regular method of using the yarn from the outside and I had no trouble with it all.
Now that I know the machine isn’t as scary as it looks I’m going to be using it more. The machine is easy to use. I had it placed on my cutting table and it suctioned on well to it and didn’t move (there is a giant suction cap on the underside of it) I want to make all my skeins into cakes now. I’m going to try it again on the cotton. I might make a project with the smaller black cotton cake to see how it goes with the centre pull method. I like the flatter shape that the yarn cake has. It would be great for stacking your yarn if that is how you store your stuff.
This year my department at work is collecting for the Share The Dignity “Its In The Bag” campaign. The idea is to get an old handbag (or purchase one from a charity shop) and fill the bag with items that a woman in crisis accommodation or who is homeless might need. I crocheted these facecloths to go inside the different bags. Someone else donated cakes of soap so together they will put in a few of the bags. These took me no time at all to whip up, crochet in front of the tv. I like that I can use my crochet skills (even if they are just basic) to give a little happiness to someone in need. I think this is a wonderful campaign and I’m honoured to be able to contribute to it in a small way.
The good news is that my Pamuke Blanket is finished and all wrapped up to give to my trainer next month.
The finished blanket measures approximately 62″ x 67″ The main part of the blanket is made is a granny stripe. I just keep doing row after row until I used 5 balls of each colour. For the border I did 3 rows of regular trebles and a final row of crab stitch to finish it off. I really liked the crab stitch edge. It gave a little bit of texture and difference to the blanket but still kept it very simple looking.
This is the largest blanket I’ve made I think. As I was making it didn’t seem that big it was only when it was placed flat on the queen size bed you get a true a sense of the size of it. I am so happy with the way it has turned out. Even though it is a wedding gift I wanted to keep it simple. This blanket is just one you can grab and use and when it gets dirty stick it in the washing machine. A gift you can easily use, to me that is the perfect gift.
I was feeling like some mindless crochet this week so I whipped up another dishcloth. This is the same pattern that I did last weekend which really wasn’t a pattern just some playing around I did. I think I chained about 15 stitches then just did rows of trebles until it looked squareish. I then changed colours and did 3 rounds of trebles as a border before the final edge in crab stitch. This is my new favourite pattern due to how simple it is but how effective it looks. I’ll be using this as a dishcloth but something like this would make a great facecloth (think easy Christmas gifts) or an easy thing to make in batches for events like mother’s day stalls at schools or fetes. Don’t just think ladies, make it in more masculine colours and it’s an easy father’s day gift. As it is 100% cotton yarn it won’t scratch metal surfaces so can be used on cars and appliances.
Recently I’ve had a few trips away and have spent time sitting around hotel rooms. At home if I wake up early I head to my craft area but in hotel it meant I had to take to take stuff with me to keep my hands occupied. I decided to take some basic crochet with me.
This scarf is made using 5 balls of Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky. I didn’t follow a pattern I just made a chain until it looked long enough then did trebles using a 6mm hook. The final row is slip stitch. The final measurements are around 80″ x 9.5″ I’ve never worked with a thick yarn before and or used such a big hook but it was very easy. I love the final result, you can really see the colour change in areas. The crochet police may come after me as I haven’t bothered to block it.