Check out DOUBLE KNIT Part I for beginning of the series.
Double Knit made simple, part II. Last month, we began with an overview of what double knit is and, why it works so well. Today…how to get started with the double knit basic cast on, and then cover some basic stitches. We will get into colorwork and cables in a few months.
For illustration, we are workng on the 10” Knitting Board and have it set for 2cm spacing between the pegs from rail to rail. This is the mid spacing on the wood blocks. This loom has 24 double pegs, but we are going to use 14 stitches for illustration. Place cast on in the center of loom. I have chosen a pretty yarn in #5 weight, Big Twists Yarn in 100% acrylic. This is a 2 ply yarn and works well in loom knitting.
Remember that in double knit, we want to use both sides of the loom, so that our resulting knit is interlocked.
Let’s begin…Place slip knot on the first peg on the back board. When we refer to first stitch, it is the first stitch used for the cast on, not always the first on the board.
We are doing the basic wrap for cast on. From the first peg on back board, wrap the 2nd peg on front board. Wrap across the loom and skip every other peg. Continue until you have the amount of stitches desired. Wrap around the end pegs, and work back to first peg, covering all skipped pegs. You will end at peg on front board directly across from first peg.
You now have a ‘full circular’ on the loom. You are ready to place an anchor yarn.
The anchor yarn is not a requirement, but you will see how easily it makes the first row, and controls all the stitches. Most times the anchor yarn will be removed when you get done with the knitting, and you will finish off the cast on stitches with a nice crochet edge. Other times, the anchor yarn stays in and becomes a drawstring to gather the stitches together like in the crown of a hat. It is also useful to help pull down the first few rows of knitting and keep the tension even. A pattern will tell you when to use a contrast color of yarn for the anchor since it will be removed, or, to use a matching yarn that will remain in the knitting for another use.
You will notice that the anchor yarn only covers the stitch area and the ends drop down between the boards. It works best if you make it long enough to tie under the board. This way, it is not accidentally pulled out.
At this point, you are ready to add another row of weaving. Work it just like you did the first row. Wrap the first peg and down the the 2nd peg on front board and continue across the stitches wrapping every other peg. Turn around at end, and wrap the pegs going back towards first peg. There will now be 2 loops on each peg, and the anchor yarn is between. Let the anchor yarn assist you when you ‘hook over’ this cast on row. Hooking over is just the term used to describe the action of lifting the bottom loop over the top. See below.
With knit hook, lift bottom loops over top loops and off pegs. Take loop up and over, and drop it off of peg. You will do the ‘hook over’ on all stitches on both boards. Hint: In order to keep the sides of the knit even, do the hook over as in the photos from Left side of knit to about center of the stitches. Then go to the Right side of knit and work to the center, so that all pegs are completed. Just vary the center point, so that you do not create a line in the knit. This will keep edges even. Work pegs on other side of loom also.
After you do the ‘hook over’ on all stitches, you can just push them down in center between the boards, and pull down gently on the anchor yarn. Your stitches are now Cast On. You are ready to work in Stockinette or Rib stitch, or any other that you will learn.
Stockinette stitch: This is the basic stitch and forms a smooth knit on both sides. It is done exactly like the weave of the cast on row.
The Rib stitch: To create a rib pattern, the weave is just slightly different. Let’s look at the cream yarn to see the difference. Wrap the back board on first peg and then down to the 3rd peg on front board. You can see the angle is more extreme than with stockinette. You are working from peg 1 to peg 3 by skipping the first 2 pegs on front board. Continue with this angle and wrap every other peg to end of knit. Wrap the yarn around the end pegs and return. The first stitch is consecutive with the end pegs. Then you will be working all empty pegs.
As you return to first peg, you will see that you are still working from peg 1 to peg 3, and then, every other. The first 2 pegs will be wrapped consecutively. Just be sure to cover all pegs. You will also notice that you are working at opposite angle with the weaving. This is what creates the ribs. You will find as you work the stitch pattern, your stitches will create pairs of stitches for each rib.
Once you get back to the first stitch, all pegs should have 2 loops. The ‘hook over’ process is the same as the Stockinette stitch. Continue with the Rib weave as long as desired or according to your pattern.
Back to Back Stitch: Sometimes, you want to just add a few stitches for accent or make the entire knitted piece in a simple stitch referred to as the Back to Back stitch. It takes only one pass of the loom for each row. Just weave front to back on the pegs of each stitch.
The finished knit will look similar to the Stockinette, but may be a bit looser. We will use it later, in color work.
BIND OFF: So enough for our basic stitches, let’s learn how to take the knit off the loom, Bind Off. We need to bind off at the loom, and then, at the anchor yarn of the Cast On stitches.
Start on the end of the loom opposite the yarn, or the back end. You can go ahead and cut the yarn leaving a few inches of ‘yarn tail’. The yarn tail is usually about 3-4″ long and will be used to knot the last stitch.
Insert the crochet hook into the first stitch on back board. Lift it off the loom. Then, pick up the first stitch on the front board. You have 2 loops on the crochet hook. Pull the loop closest to the hook thru the other loop. Now pick up the next loop on the back board. Pull the loop closest to hook thru the other loop. Pick up the next loop from the front board. Pull one thru one. Continue this process, alternating front board and back board until you have the last loop on the hook. Now, you are at that yarn tail, so you can pull it thru the last loop and gently tighten.
Now, we are looking at Cast On stitches with the anchor yarn. We want to put a nice even finish on this end also.
Start at end opposite the yarn tail. Pick up just the first 2 loops. Pull the loop closest to the hook thru the other loop, just as you did on the loom Bind Off. Continue across the knit until you reach the last loop and use the yarn tail to knot the edge.
You can just use your fingers to assist with moving one loop on the crochet hook thru the other loop.
Once the ends of your scarf are finished with the Crochet Bind Off, just weave the yarn tails into the knit. Take the crochet hook up thru the 2 layers of knit so that the hook comes out close to yarn tail. Draw the yarn into the knit, carefully, so that even the knot is tucked away, out of sight. Then just remove the crochet hook by taking it out the end with the hook. This way, you will not snag the knit.
With what you have learned about double knit, you can create your first completed item. YAY!! How about using the stitches to do a new scarf.
Get loom and yarn, knit hook, and crochet hook in hand. Cast on 14 stitches in Stockinette stitch, add anchor yarn, and continue for about 12 rows. Then with no change of pace, just start the next row in Rib stitch. Work in Rib stitch for 12 rows. Then start next row in Stockinette stitch. On and on you will go, until you look down and have a great scarf. You may decide to work the scarf using 20 or 22 stitches. That’s your choice. Then bind off stitches at both ends.
Now, let’s look at how our two stitches look as a stitch pattern. Remember, our stitch pattern was 12 rows of Stockinette stitch, 12 rows of Rib stitch, and repeating all the way down. A scarf can be made as long as desired and this one could be really long if you used a full skein (ball) of yarn and knit it with just 14 stitches. Or maybe you decided to make it wider and shorter. That’s the fun of being creative with our double knit.
The photo (below) shows the double knit edge of the scarf. It is always easy to count your completed rows by counting the stitches along the outer edge. The next photo (below) shows how to pick up the horizontal cross stitch on the edge of double knit when you want to sew 2 edges together with an invisible stitch. We will cover both of these topics next month along with some increase and decrease techniques to add shape to the knit. HAPPY KNITTING!