Sneak Peek on a new pattern

It’s been a while since I’ve spent time actually working on a new technique to incorporate into a pattern, and it’s both as exhilarating and time-consuming as I remember it. This one is doing double-duty as a set of samples for one of my upcoming workshops at Interweave Knitting Lab, but I’m pretty happy with the results so I wanted to show it off. Also, I’d love some feedback if you feel so inclined.

As you may (or may not, I won’t judge) remember, I released a pattern a while ago using double-knit openwork. It was part of a book by Artyarns, and as such I think it didn’t really get the wide exposure it probably deserved. In retrospect, releasing a brand new technique in a method that requires that I sign away all rights to the pattern was probably not my wisest move. Fortunately, the pattern, while fun to knit and a great excuse to play with yarn I would probably never otherwise have been worthy to lay my hands on, was not the best use of openwork in the world and I was sure I could do better.

Unfortunately, I didn’t. I let the technique lay dormant for a while — and in the meantime, I got one-upped by someone else who independently developed their own technique for double-knit openwork. I’m happy that pattern came out — because it opened more eyes to the untapped possibilities of double-knitting, and that’s my bottom line — but part of me feels I should have been more proactive, and gotten double-knit lace out there faster (and bigger, and better) than I did.

But it’s all water under the bridge now. The best I can do is to show what I can do with this technique. So without further ado, here are a couple of samples, done in Anzula Dreamy. The colors aren’t perfect here — it’s more of a spring green and dark tan — but you get the idea.


These are mockups for an eventual cowl. Obviously, there will be more repeats in both directions, and I need to play more with needle sizes to get the best lacy-ness while keeping the stitch definition clear. So why are there two? Well, actually there are three but the third is still on the needles. These two showcase two separate ways of processing yarnovers, both with their pros and cons. The third way is single-sided — the holes show up only on one side but the colorwork shows on both.

The one on the right uses “standard” double-knit yarnovers, which are easier to process and result in a very nice and solid fabric since the two sides lock together at each yarnover. The resulting fabric shows the opposite color as background for both sides, but working it causes the ends to twist once around with each yarnover. Here, the color changes offer a chance to untwist the yarns as you go, but there are more YOs than color changes so you’re stuck untwisting manually every now and then.

The one on the left uses “reverse” double-knit yarnovers — and when you encounter them on the next round, you need to work into the back loop for both stitches to keep the hole nicely open. This method does not lock the fabric together at the yarnovers, which results in more visible holes all the way through the fabric since the two sides are free to move. Here, the color changes offer places where the fabric locks together to keep the entire fabric from separating.

The third way has a similar structure to the one on the left — in that the two sides end up disconnected — and solves the issue of having no background to the holes by making no holes on the opposite side. However, it’s not quite as reversible so you need to make your color choices carefully.

This is why, when I teach Double-Knitting Lace and Openwork, I let people practice all three methods — any of them can be easily done off a standard lace chart, assuming you know how to translate from single-sided lace to your chosen method of double-knit lace.

There is a fourth method that’s similar to the third and even cleaner, but it will require recharting (and some new chart elements as well).

I’m inclined to use the second method (the one on the left) because it reacts better to yarnovers directly after colorwork, and the rhythm of the TBL stitches is easy enough once you get used to it. But here’s where I ask for feedback — what do you think of the pattern? Too complex? Would you (want to) knit it if it were cowl-sized? Or should I go back to the drawing board?

If you’re interested in learning double-knit lace and openwork, I’ll be teaching in Manchester at the Interweave Knitting Lab — and probably not again until next season.

In other news:

My Craftsy Class has hit 6000 students as of this morning! Thanks everyone — now let’s see if I can hit 7000 by the end of the year!

There’s a list of independently-published knitting books on Goodreads that Shannon from Cooperative Press has been asking people to vote on. I have no idea what the votes are good for, but go check it out and vote for my book, if you don’t mind. It can’t hurt :>

4 thoughts on “Sneak Peek on a new pattern”

  1. Hi Alasdair,

    First, I want to say thank you. Your Craftsy class really inspired me to try double knitting and I have dove in head first. I am very interested in this technique but the pattern really doesn’t seem like one I would knit. That being said, I would be more willing to try it if it was a low cost (under $3.00) or free pattern just to play with the technique. Again, thank you for all the inspiration and your continuing dedication to expand the double knitting knowledge of all knitters out there.

  2. Thanks for the input, Shannon. I’m probably not going to release this pattern as a low-cost or free pattern — but I might release a simpler lace pattern for people to try out the technique for a lower price. It’s not a bad idea. I feel like I need to price most of my patterns on a similar scale. If I release a complex or large pattern for $2.95, it makes my other patterns look overpriced. I don’t feel that $4.95 or $5.95 (as most of my standalone patterns are priced) is an unreasonable amount of money for most folks to spend on a pattern that also teaches them a new technique.

  3. Hi Alasdair,

    I think it is amazing what you came up with. I’ve been pretty obsessed with double-knitting for the last couple of years. I have knitted quite a few complex pieces from various designers (including yours) over the last few months, but after taking your class on craftsy I got really interested in double-knitting lace. Unfortunately you didn’t go into detail on how the technique works, so I had to find out for myself. I bought a second hand copy of the ONE + ONE Hats just to get my hands on your pattern. I started knitting it a couple of times with no success. I am having problems with the DYOs. Instead of YO holes, I get horizontal bars made out of the colour A on the private side. Anyway, my point it that there are MANY of people like me who are dying to try out these double-knitting lace techniques you have been developing. It would be great if you could put a video tutorial together with the sampler patter for all the 4 techniques you described on your post. I would certainly be very interested to try them all out.

  4. That’s a really good idea. Once I’m done with Interweave Knitting Lab later this month I’ll have some breathing room to do some more video work. It’ll also be good in support of this new pattern once it’s ready for prime time.

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