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Double Knitting

The new obsession around these parts is double knitting. I learned this technique several years ago and played around with a few projects, such as the Hönkä scarf I started back in September of 2011. It’s almost done and I don’t know why I let it languish for so long with just 20-odd rows left to go.

Honka scarf

But my interest in double knitting was rekindled by the chance discovery of a lovely book, M’Lou Baber’s Double Knitting: Reversible Two-Color Designs.

Double Knitting: Reversible 2-Color Designs desk copy

Her technique differs slightly from the way I originally learned to double knit, in that she uses only one yarn for the beginning border, then switches to double knitting, then back to regular (usually ribbed) knitting to finish. Essentially, it’s a standard knit border around a double knit fabric.

I did the heart coaster (or hotpad, since it’s worsted yarn and rather big) and also the headband to practice. Both came out reasonably well.

Heart cloth

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Double Knit Headband

Double Knit Headband Reverse

I like the look of the single-yarn border with the double knit fabric, except I noticed that you get a funny row (or column) of the contrast color on the row where you change to single-knit. It’s most obvious in the second heart coaster photo.

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It’s not quite as obvious on the headband, but still noticeable.

Double Knit Headband Reverse

The heart coaster is not a very good sample because I used two different weight yarns and didn’t have a good tension. It is a good example of bad knitting. The headband came out much better as I had more of a rhythm and improved tension. I also used two different weights of yarn for the headband, but they were fingering and sport, where the heart cloth is fingering with worsted.

On the headband, I actually like the way the black pops out on the green side. It is the heavier weight yarn, so on the black side it kind of swallows up the green. But on the green side, it just pops right out. It looks really cool and I would probably do that again on purpose if I made another.

However, my next project will not be a headband. I want to make the Central Park Coat instead. I just have to settle on two colors.

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Dilemma

My Gail is coming along beautifully. The Creatively Dyed yarn is absolutely gorgeous. While there are multiple colors going on all at once, I think it looks neat knitted in Gail’s lacy fabric. A solid pattern probably wouldn’t show off the variegations as nicely.

However.

I’m really worried about running out of yarn.

The skein wrapper claims there are “500+ yds and 184 gms”. The original pattern calls for 416 – 437 yards / 100 gms of Handmaiden Sea Silk, a fingering weight yarn, on size 7 needles. I ought to be fine, but I’m using size 8 needles. And my ball of yarn is getting nerve-wrackingly small, considering we’re now working 266 stitches each time across.

A lot of knitters only did six of the seven repeats. I originally thought to do the same just to be safe. But then I weighed my ball, and it seems like there might very well be enough. I have about 55gms of yarn left.
But it will be close.

After a lot of worrying and letting it rest for a day, I decided to string a lifeline after repeat #6, proceed with repeat 7, and hope for the best. If there isn’t enough yarn to work the edging and bind off, I’ll rip back to the lifeline and just end up with 6 repeats. If there is, well, then, hooray. Or I’ll get some solid yarn to bind off with. A few others have done that and it looks pretty neat.

I’m also toying with adding some beads to give the edging a little more weight. I have some coppery acrylic size 8/0s that might look really glitzy (in a nice way) with this yarn. Decisions, decisions…

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Weez’s Lucy Blanket

We have become close friends with a guy who works with my husband. The guy and his wife, Weez, just became grandparents for the first time about a month ago when the guy’s son and daughter-in-law had a baby girl. The parents named her Lucy, and I made this blanket for Grandma Weez to keep for when Lucy visits them.

I did this in crochet with some stashed Bernat Softee Baby yarn that I bought for just this purpose- an emergency baby gift. Well, it wasn’t really an emergency, but it sure was nice to be able to go into the stash and pull out some yarn and get started in the middle of the night.

Weez's Lucy Blanket

I found the pattern on Bernat’s website after looking there for a baby blanket pattern that was suited for this yarn. Overall, I’m pleased with the pattern and the yarn, but there are a few minor things that I found annoying.

First off, the yarn is a variegated pink, purple and white. When I first started the body of the blanket, the colors worked themselves into vertical stripes. About a third of the way through the blanket, however, the stripes switched to a pattern of roughly diagonal splotches. Both patterns look nice, but together, they look like I made a mistake (or changed my mind) partway through.

Weez's Lucy Blanket 2

The other thing I didn’t like about this yarn was that the skeins were horribly tangly for commercial center-pull balls. All three that I pulled ended up in giant knots. Also, the third skein (of which I only used about 3 yards) felt like it was coated in the same stuff they put on dryer sheets. It was slightly coarse, not soft and fluffy like the first two. It also felt like it was a heavier weight- more like a worsted than a sport/baby weight. Fortunately, it’s not noticeable in the final project.

I loved the pattern, however. The blanket body is simple and made up of V stitches (DC, ch2, DC in same st) across. It then has a simple five-row lace border. The border makes a slight ruffle, but it lies fairly flat so as not to be obnoxious.

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I think the variegated yarn looks swell in the border, too.  And I love the little picots.

Lace Border detail

Here’s hoping Lucy (and Weez) will agree.

Corner Detail

Pattern available on Bernat’s website, here. Please note that you must be a registered member (it’s free to register) of Bernat.com in order to download the pattern.

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Better Late Than Never: Box Stitch Dishcloth

For Mother’s Day, I made another dishcloth for my dear mum, who has discovered the joy of washing dishes with a hand-knitted cloth. We happened to be together in a craft store about a month ago, and I had her pick out the yarn for her cloth. I got to pick the pattern, and opted for Box Stitch: a simple four-row pattern that results in a reversible cloth with lots of scrubby bumps.

Mom picked Lily Sugar N’ Cream in “Landscape”. The hues are a light green, light brown/dark tan, and off white.

Box Stitch Dishcloth

I did a simple garter stitch border, with four rows of garter at top and bottom and four stitches of garter on each edge.

Edge and pattern detail

The pattern is fully reversible- a nice touch for a working dishcloth.

Reversible box stitch fabric

I am not fond of variegated yarns which have a very dark value along with lighter ones. I don’t care for the zig-zag that inevitably works up in the fabric.

Colorway detail

However, it does add interest to an otherwise simple piece.

Pattern detail

Yarn used: Lily Sugar n’ Cream Cotton in Landscape
Needles: US Size 4 (3.5 mm)
Worked over 46 stitches.

Finished size? eeep. I knew I forgot to do something before mailing this to Mom.

Box Stitch Cloth Pattern
Cast on a multiple of 4 + 2 stitches (i.e. 38, 42, etc).
Work 4 rows in garter stitch.
Begin pattern:
Slip the first stitch of each row, then knit the next 3 stitches, to make the 4-stich garter border. Also knit the last 4 stitches of each row.
Excluding the border stitches, work k2, *p2, k2, across row 1, then p2, *k2, p2 across row 2.
Excluding the border stitches, work p2, *k2, p2 across row 3, then k2, *p2, k2 across row 4.
Repeat the four pattern rows until desired length.
Work 4 rows in garter stitch.
Bind off, weave in ends.