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Tutorial: Twice-Knit Knitting

by Megan Mills
megan@kiwi.gen.nz

Hello fellow crafty people.   :)

Twice-knit knitting is an unusual technique. It is remarkable because in addition to having almost no stretch it doesn't ravel. That's right, you can knit a fabric from Twice-knit and cut it, it won't ladder. It is a thick, dense fabric because the stitches are turned 90 degrees to the fabric surface. It feels plush and springy.

I know this is not the prettiest looking stitch so you may be wondering what you would use it for. Any time you want a thick, dense and warm fabric (that doesn't need to stretch) then Twice-knit could be for you.

It makes very good mittens and vests and can also be used as you would a woven fabric. Consider it for home furnishings. If you like to shag the inside of your mittens for extra insulation then the horizontal lines on the reverse side provide good anchorage.

Experiment with colour too. Stripes look really good on this fabric and it becomes hard to believe it was knitted at all. If you are working flat and want to change colour on every row (or at odd-numbered intervals) then work on a circular needle. That way you can slide the stitches to whichever end you need to get access to the colour you want to work with next.

For example, if changing on every row: Knit 1 row with A, slide, Knit 1 row with B, Purl 1 row with A, slide, Purl 1 row with B.

The sample I have done here is worked flat with alternating rows of Twice-knit and Twice-purl. This causes the horizontal ridges on the back to be 'paired'. The stitch is even more dense and attractive when worked only in rounds of Twice-knit. Then the horizontal bands on the reverse side are more closely, and very evenly, spaced.

You will find the gauge of Twice-knit to be substantially narrower than normal knitting so it is a good idea to use a larger needle than usual and work loosely.

Twice-knit - it really isn't twice the work and I hope you have twice the fun!

Megan

Front view
Front view


Back view
Back view

The Special Cast On
This is a modified version of the Knitted Cast On. Make a slip knot and put it on your left needle. Then 'knit on' one stitch. Now 'knit 2 together' to get the new stitch to put on your left needle. Keep repeating that 'knit 2 together' action to make each new stitch that is put on the left needle. Do this for as many stitches as you want for your sample.

The Knit Row
Knit 2 together (the first stitch and its neighbour) but drop only the first stitch. Knit 2 together (the 2nd of the stitches you just did and what started out as the 3rd stitch), drop what was your 2nd stitch... And so on. Each stitch is getting knitted twice - once with each of its neighbours. At the end of the row knit the last stitch on its own again (as it won't have a neighbour to be knit with the second time).

The Purl Row
Purl 1 but do not let it drop off the left needle. Purl 2 together (the first stitch and its neighbour) but drop only the first stitch. Purl 2 together (the 2nd of the stitches you just did and what started out as the 3rd stitch), drop what was your 2nd stitch... And so on. Each stitch is getting purled twice - once with each of its neighbours. At the end of the row just end with the Purl 2 together.

To work in rows alternate the Knit Row and Purl Row. To work circularly just repeat the Knit Row.

The Special Cast Off
Knit 3, pull the first over the other two. Make one more stitch and pull one stitch over two on the right needle. Continue on like this always pulling 1 stitch over 2. At the end you will have 2 stitches. Pull the first over the 2nd, cut your tail and pull the last stitch so it pulls through the tail. As you are pulling over 2 stitches instead of the usual 1 be careful to keep your cast-off loose enough.


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Created: 18 February 2006