Category Archives: Double Knitting

De vuurtorensjaal

Ken je Sidi Ifni?

Sidi Ifni is een klein kuststadje in het zuiden van Marokko. Er zijn tussen twintig- en dertigduizend inwoners. Er is een vissershaven en in de bergen rondom worden cactusvijgen gekweekt. Het is geen toeristische hotspot. Je kan er maar langs twee kanten naartoe: de ene weg komt langs de kust uit het noorden, de andere weg gaat oostwaarts het binnenland in. Als je langs de kust verder naar het zuiden rijdt, dan houdt het asfalt plots op en kan je enkel met een stevige 4×4 verder. Er is een handvol hotels, een camping en je kan er leren surfen.

Lange tijd was de plek een Spaanse kolonie en vanaf de jaren ’30 van de vorige eeuw liet de Spaanse overheid er een hele garnizoensstad bouwen. Er was een landingsbaan die je nog goed op de sattelietfoto’s kan zien en een vreemdsoortige kabelbaan over de zee om grote schepen ver genoeg van de kust te laten aanmeren.

Sidi-Ifni-Cable-Car

De stad heeft een kathedraal, een hospitaal met een kapel, een cinema, een vuurtoren, een moskee, een vismarkt en nog een hele reeks andere gebouwen die deels geïnspireerd zijn op de lokale bouwstijl, deels op Spaanse architectuur en die duidelijke jaren ’30 invloeden hebben.

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De geometrische decoraties op de offciële gebouwen zijn motieven die je ook elders in Noord-Afrika en de Sahara vindt.

Waarom vertel ik dit allemaal? Ik wou al lang iets doen met die geometrische motieven, en daar heb ik deze zomer aan gewerkt. Het motief voor de vuurtorensjaal die ondertussen al eens in de krant en op lokale televisie gefigureerd heeft, is geïspireerd op de vuurtoren van Sidi Ifni.

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Phare Cut

Het was een werk van lange adem, maar ik ben er erg blij mee en ik ga hem zeker de hele winter dragen.

Mijn sjaal is 25 cm breed en iets meer dan 2 m lang. Hij is helemaal dubbelgebreid, dus het motief aan de achterkant is het omgekeerde van het motief aan de voorkant. Ik ben het patroon helemaal aan het uitschrijven. Zo gauw het klaar is lees je dat in de newsletter!

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Slow Fashion Market

Last Saturday was Oxfam Day here in Brussels in one of those splendid buildings at Tour & Taxis. The theme of the day was fair fashion and on the program there were a Fashion Show, a Slow Fashion Market and a series of Do It Yourself Workshops.

We decided that we had to be there with Greener Wool. Tour & Taxis is just around the corner and there is no slower fashion than garments you’ve knit with your own hands using organic certified yarn, unless you spin the yarn yourself!

It was a bit of a rush to get everything together – including three shopping trips to get all the furniture and a timed tryout in our living room to check if I could build the stand all by myself within the given timeslot!

In the end it all went smoothly thanks to the many friends that spontaneously proposed to help!

Getting some of the new yarns in the shop by Saturday was quite a challenge … We succeeded in having the super soft Bio-Logic cotton from Plassard. The slightly felted Bio Merinos from Schoppel – which didn’t arrive sooner than Friday evening! – had a lot of success. The new Mergelland got stuck in transport and arrived only yesterday – we’ll tell more about it next week.

The Meet up and knit or crochet! Brussels group exceptionally moved their knitting meet up from the city centre to Tour & Taxis, there were the friends from La Filière Laine and La laine des coccinelles and at a different organic fair in the next part of the building we met the people from Heid de Frenay with their fantastic yoga mats from locally produced felt. Quite a few people dropped by at the stand. There’s so much to tell about organic wool, GOTS certificates and local yarn that I didn’t even have the time to visit the other stands at the Slow Fashion Market! Then there were the people that wanted to know more about the double-knit scarf I’m making. It seems that I’ll have to organize double knit classes soon!

Double Knitting

This week I’ve taken up double knitting again. I almost forgot how much fun that is.

Quite a while ago I wanted to knit multi-coloured mittens. I looked for a pattern and I decided on working with this one from Drops:

Fideli Mittens from Drops

Never having done stranded colourwork I was in trouble right away: there was no way I could get the tension right. So I tried to learn more about all the different possibilities for colourwork, and I discovered double knitting. That did not only solve my tension issue, it also made the inside of the mittens as beautiful as the outside!

At first double knitting is really confusing: I kept forgetting what was back and what was front, which should be a purl stitch and which should be a knit stitch. It takes a while to figure out how to handle the yarn. Some people knit with both colours in one hand, other people have a colour in each hand. That’s what I’m doing. In The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge Debbie Bliss states that this is the fastest and most even way of holding yarns, but it requires some practice, especially for the hand that you usually don’t use to hold the yarn. I’m still struggling to get even purl stitches with my right hand.

The basic principle of double knitting is that you create a two-coloured reversible fabric. Where you change colour both sides of the fabric hold together, but when you work rows entirely in the same colour the front and the back only come together on the sides.

 

In double knitting you create the reversible fabric by alternatively working a stitch on the front side and a stitch on the back side of your project. In my blue and white sample with both sides in stockinette stitch, I will first knit a blue stitch, bring both yarns forward, purl a white stitch, bring both yarns to the back and repeat the whole sequence. If I want a white stitch to appear on the blue side however (and a blue stitch on the white side), I knit a white stitch and purl a blue stitch. While I’m working on the blue side of my sample, that is. When turning around the work, it’s the other way around, and that’s where I went wrong at first in this sample: as I hadn’t been double knitting in a while, I couldn’t get my head around switching the colours, so I had to make my drawing twice …

Double knitting motif

The most easy way not to get lost in double knitting is to consider every pair of stitches as one (a blue one + a white one, a knit stitch on the front + a purl stitch on the back). When counting one counts only pairs, not single stitches.

For double knitting I learned a lot from watching instruction videos. Most credit for helping me figure out how to work double knitting goes to Nathan Taylor aka Sockmatician, an actor with a passion for complex knitting projects. On his YouTube channel where he vlogs about knitting, he also has a series of excellent instruction videos for some more advanced knitting techniques. His expert patterns for socks and other things are on Ravelry.

For the blue and white sample I’m working on now, I’ve used the two-colour long tail cast on Nathan shows in this video:

 

The selvedge with slipped stitches is shown in this video. Mind you, I had to watch it at least 20 times before I got it right! I’ve decided to keep the selvedge the same colour throughout the sample, because when I try to make it follow the pattern I get confused again!

 

If you’ve never worked double knitting before and you’d like to give it a try, it might be a good start to watch this video over and over for an hour or so …

 

Or have a look at this video from Drops if you’d rather keep the both yarns in one hand: