Some long time ago now, perhaps even back in January, I finished the double-knitting blanket from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. This seems to be a largely overlooked project, which is a shame because it is so simple and satisfying to make.
For those of you unfamiliar with double knitting, it is a way to knit a double-sided fabric so that there is no wrong side, AND you never have to purl. The front looks like the back, the back looks like the front, and before I started the garter stitch border at the top, the blanket was a giant pocket. Once I did a series of decreases and knit the garter border, then the pocket was closed. The fabric that is double-knit is squishy and plush, because it is two layers of knitting!
This particular method of double knitting requires you to slip the stitches for the other side of the blanket while working the ones on the current side, a rhythm that isn’t difficult to establish once you get going. This is done while working on one circular knitting. One row knit across the front, and another knit across the back equals one full row on the blanket. Intrigued? I was!
I first became interested in double knitting in 2007 when I worked at Newbury Yarns in Boston. Alasdair of FallingBlox designs was teaching classes there, but due to my class schedule it never worked out. His hats are beautiful – I fell in love with a compass rose pattern, which may be the Four Winds Hat from Twist Collective 2009. (Or it may be a related hat, but I do remember him coming to the shop explaining how difficult it was to get the right letters in the correct places, with correct orientation.)
This seed of interest led to me taking a double knitting class with Melissa Leapman in late 2010 where I learned the basics, and then more complex techniques. She taught colorwork with double knitting which melted my brain just a wee bit. I wanted my first project to be a solid color, so I could get the rhythm down, and not add another level of complexity. Besides, lovely indigo colored hand dyed yarn just perfect for the gauge of the project? It was an obvious sign from The Universe.
Pattern: Double-Knitting Blanket or Pad by Elizabeth Zimmermann, from Knitter’s Almanac, February.
Yarn: Kona Bulky Superwash, hand dyed by Nancy McRay at Woven Art . 2 skeins with almost no leftovers.
Needles: Addi turbos US 10.5 (6.5 mm)
Mods: I made just one modification (or choice, since EZ gives you the option) – when nearing the end of the “stockinette” section of the blanket I chose to do ssk decreases rather than k2tog because they mirrored the increases done at the other end of the blanket.
This project was knit for the shear joy of knitting. Knit for knit’s sake. It will live at Woven Art for a while, and then will come home and go in my gift box for some lucky cold weather baby.
If you have never tried double knitting, this is an excellent project to get you familiar with the wonderful simplicity of the technique. But perhaps not as a gift for a Texas baby!
And now that I have a simple double-knitting project done I am ready to tackle something more complicated. And LO! The self-same Alasdair is soon to have a book published from Cooperative Press. I can’t wait to drain my Paypal account to get a digital and hardcopy version of his book!