Shaping the Knit
Yay, you completed your double knit scarf last month! That’s really so cool, because you did the basic cast on with anchor yarn, changed stitch patterns with the Stockinette stitch and the Rib stitch. Hopefully, you finished off both ends and have it ready to wear, when needed. Well, some folks still need their warm wearables handy with the snow still flying in parts of the country.
Your current abbreviations learned are:
Stockinette stitch=St stitch, or K stitch= knit stitch. (same stitch),
Rib stitch=Rib stitch
Decrease=dec, or DD=double dec
Regular row=a row with no increase or decrease
So today, I want to share with you the basics of increasing and decreasing, so you can make lots more fun items in double knit. What can we make, and when will you use the inc and dec? Let’s look at some different situations, and what will the pattern say? The best way to explain the shaping is to just make something with these techniques, for example, a hat to match your scarf. With a double knit hat, we usually make it on a long loom so that we can get the entire length going around the head, all in one piece. This way the cast on, with the anchor yarn edge, will be at the top of hat, and then, just gather the top with the anchor yarn. But sometimes that method creates a hat that is very bunched up at the top, or sits on your head like a paper sack pulled down.
I am using the 18-All-n-One-Loom as the 10″ Knitting Board would be limited, for this example. The All-n-One Loom has 48 pegs, and my hat will need 56 stitches. So, we can just make this in 2 pieces, each will have 28 sts. OH no, you say, sewing? Maybe I did it on purpose, because I wanted to show you how the invisible stitch can be just that…invisible. So with our hat, we are going to make it in 2 shaped pieces and sew them together with invisible stitch. Each piece will look something like this.
Here is the hat front or back, they will be the same. We will start the piece at brim and work with rib stitch and stockinette. We will do dec across the center and, on up to hat top. We will use the dec at beginning and end of each row as well as randomly across the entire row.
#5 yarn and the All-n-One Loom, set at smallest spacing is used in sample. This will produce a size small hat to fit head circumference of approximately 21-22″. You can make a larger hat by using the mid spacing of the All-n-One Loom. If you are using the 28″Loom, maintain the smaller setting. For a deeper hat, work 12 rows of rib st and 12 rows of stockinette st. Our sample measures aprox 9″ deep.
Cast On 28 stitches in stockinette stitch. Work in Rib stitch for 10 rows.
Change to Stockinette stitch and work for 10 rows. For a deeper hat, change to 12 rows of each stitch. This will add 1″ in depth. We will go thru the series of a dec row before completing our hat panel.
Decrease at ends of loom and across the loom: A basic dec is same as term (k2tog) or knit 2 sts together as one. This is what we are doing. When you combine 2 sts, you are creating an empty peg and the peg next to it has 2 loops. If you leave the pegs empty and continue weaving over them, you will create an open hole as with an eyelet design. On the other hand, if you move the sts together and eliminate the empty peg, you are reducing the amount of stitches, and making the knit width narrower. This is what we want to do to shape the hat around the head.
Sometimes, you want to just bring in the ends with a dec at each end, or some shapes, like a neckline will ask you to dec at just the front end, or back end of loom. When you want a more sharp curve like our hat, we will use some dec rows that will have multiple decreases all across the knitting. It all does the same thing-make the knit smaller in width.Remember, the dec stitches must be done to both boards for a basic process.
We have created empty pegs on both boards by moving loop on peg 2 to peg 3. It is always best to do a dec or inc from inside the knit rather than at the first stitch. There will be times when you will work from peg one, but that is usually for ruffles and intricate little items.
Once you have all the open pegs you need to reduce the size of the knit, start at center of loom and move the pegs over towards center. If you are working with an empty peg that has the 2 loops, be sure to move both of them to next peg. Sometime there will be more than one peg to jump over, and it will be a tight stretch. Just go slow and careful, so that the loops are on the intended pegs.
In the photo above, you can see 6 empty pegs on each board. They are ready to be moved over. They all need to be adjacent to each other in order to weave the next (shorter) row. After this row is complete, you will have just 22 sts instead of the 28 sts that you cast on. Be sure to weave over all pegs to complete the row.
It can be a bit of a stretch as you move the loops over to close in the empty pegs. Once they are all moved, weave over the pegs and hook over, being careful to lift both loops when working the double loops.
Remember, if you leave the loops spaced out, and weave over them, without moving them together, you will create eyelets.
Continue the shaping of the hat: We are working from L side of loom.
Decrease row #1-Lift loop #3 and place it on peg #4, both boards. Place loop #8 onto peg #9, both boards. Place loop #13 onto peg #14, both boards. Notice they are all laying towards center. Now, place loop #16 onto peg #15, both boards, and loop #21 onto peg #20, and then loop #26 onto peg #25, both boards. Your dec is done. Now, carefully move the loops over until they are all adjacent to each other and you now have 22 sts. Check carefully to be sure you do not have empty pegs. Sometimes, when moving the double loops on one peg, it helps to move one at a time, so you don’t accidentally lose one of them. Weave over the 22 sts and hook over.
Work 2 regular rows in stockinette.
Dec #2-Lift loop #3 onto peg #4 on both boards. Do this to both ends of loom. You are dec by 2 sts.
Work 4 regular rows in stockinette.
Dec #3- Lift loop #4 onto peg #5 and loop # 9 onto peg #10. Do this to both boards. Lift loop #17 onto peg #16, and loop #12 onto #11. Do this to both boards. We are decreasing by 4 stitches. Now there are 16 sts on loom.
Work 2 regular rows in stockinette.
Repeat dec row #2. Work 1 regular row.
Repeat dec row #2 again. Work 1 reg row.
Dec #4-decrease by 3 sts. Lift loop #3 onto peg #4, both boards, both ends, and one dec in center of knitting. There are 9 sts remaining. Work 1 reg row.
Repeat dec row #4-so that you now have 6 sts remaining. Work 1 reg row.
Dec 1 st at each end of loom on both boards. Work 1 reg row.
Dec 1 st at each end of loom on both boards, and bind off the last sts. THIS PIECE IS DONE.
Now, make a 2nd piece exactly the same-it will go so much faster than the first.
You now need to sew them together using the invisible stitch. If you look at the outer edges of the hat pieces, you will see where you want to do the sewing-right on the outer edge, so that you can just pull the pieces together. I like to pin the pieces in place before beginning. You can do this with some nice smooth double pointed knitting needles, or, find some very smooth toothpicks.
Do the sewing with matching yarn, aprox 3′ long. Use a darning needle to make the stitches. The yarn used in the sample is a contrast color yarn. This was done on purpose, so you can see the stitches, and then see how it disappears once pulled snug into the knitting.
The bind off of each piece can be done before the sewing, and remove the anchor yarn, or you can leave them in until after the sewing. I will use this method, so we can have one continuous bind off all around the hat.
Start sewing at one corner of hat at anchor yarn by simply tying the yarn about 1″ from bottom edge. Bring yarn up thru the knit to the starting point for sewing.
This is ready to sew together. With darning needle, start on one edge and grab the cross stitch inside the edge. Without pulling it tight, grab the cross stitch inside other edge. Keep following the seam by alternating from one edge to the other. After working for about 2″, you can gently pull the working yarn to bring the 2 edges together. See the pale yellow yarn sewn loosely, and then see how it totally disappears in the next photo.You can gently shape the top of the hat to be rounded or flat across the top, just with the sewing.
Once you have sewn the hats pieces together, you are ready to do a nice finish on the hat brim. This will be a simple crochet bind off as shown in Part I of Double Knit 101. The bind off will connect the 2 pieces with a seamless finished edge. Remove the 2 anchor yarns. Weave in any yarn tails, trim excess and your hat is ready to wear. Add adornments if desired, like a little round flower.
Basic Increase preview-Making a circle.
Cast On 3 sts stockinette. Place anchor yarn.
Work 1 reg row.
Inc from st #1 to peg #2, both ends and both boards. Work row.
Work 1 reg row.
Continue with inc row, now moving stitch #2 to peg #3, and 1 regular row until you have 13 stitches.
Work 2 reg rows.
Inc row, continue till you have 15 sts.
Work 3 regular rows.
Complete in reverse using the dec instead of inc.
Keep working until you are back to 3 sts.
Bind off at both anchor, and loom.
So how is the basic Inc done in double knit? Pretty much like the Dec except move the 1st stitch out to new empty peg. You have an empty peg between st 1 and st 2. Instead, pick up the loop behind the adjacent peg (this is the last row dropped off) of peg #3. Place that loop onto the empty peg. You now have a new stitch on that empty peg. If you do this to both sides and both ends, your next row will have 2 more stitches. With 5 stitches, now do the inc rows from stitch #2 to peg #3.
Cast on 3 sts. Move stitch #1 to new peg creating empty peg. Same on both boards and at both ends.
Now you see row with 7 stitches. We are lifting the loop from the previous row to place on the empty peg for the new stitch. Next photo shows the new stitches. Weave this row and hook over.
We can go into more detail for the inc process next month, when we will be talking about some color additions, and intarsia designs. We will want to cover buttonholes, for sure. After that some new exciting stitches. Join us here!