Fun with double-knit shaping

Box Prototype, Open
Well, at least it stays put.

Cat Bordhi recommended I write a pattern for some small item that will allow people to try a bunch of different double-knit techniques in a single small pattern. She suggested that a double-knit box might take advantage of the potential structural stability of the fabric, and I agreed I’d give it a shot. I looked up some other knitted boxes — most were felted — and found that what I had visualized when she mentioned that was not really what people were doing. So I decided to have some fun with it. My first prototype was no good — the increases from the top were too frequent and what was supposed to become a 4-sided flat-topped box became a 3-sided thing with 1/4 of the top folded inside as the decreases fought for supremacy with the proposed form. Here’s the second prototype, knit in my favorite old-world yarn, Bartlett. You can see it closed here.

There are still a number of issues with it. The combination of double and single increases at the top (it’s cast on with 4 stitches, then increased to 8, then increased again to 16, then 24 before the single increases start) makes intuitive charting difficult, and even I made a color change where there shouldn’t have been one in the beginning. When switching from the top to the bottom, it’s very confusing to figure where you need to start so you continue to knit on the outside rather than the inside — but now that there’s a finished form I will have an easier time charting it as I do the final piece. I tried a new bind-off, but I liked the original one better (not pictured). I did have some fun with the shaping — you can see those odd little purl rows on the outside edges of the top and bottom — I had to design a new chart element to describe how those are formed. They make a really clean, non-reversible fold in the fabric. There are similar ones hidden in the corners of the box body and lid as well. The fabric is a little too flexible — I will probably go down another needle size before trying it again. The bottom is a little poofy — I may need to do more radical decreasing to make sure it stays flat.

But the important part is: it’s a learning experience. I understand the form better now, and it’ll be easier to do the next one, and I can deviate from the stripes and do some other pattern as well.

5 thoughts on “Fun with double-knit shaping”

  1. If you are having difficult with this small project, I can only imagine that it will translate to frustration for anyone trying to duplicate your design. It would seem to me that perhaps you should produce a design more nearly akin to the kinds of projects you started with so that we, who are rank beginners, can perhaps experience success rather than frustration. Does that make sense to you?

    By the way, I am in no way trying to be critical. I am fascinated by your work, and I do aspire to be able to experiment with double knitting as soon as I complete some of my more pressing projects I have on my agenda.

  2. You know, I put up my thoughts on designing because I think people might be interested in what goes through my head while I design a piece. I don’t know many designers who don’t have to rip something out and try it a different way a couple of times before they have a finished piece. Also, you seem to be equating “small” with “simple”. This piece is not simple — it is a practice piece for some advanced double-knitting techniques. It’s not going to be one of the first pieces in the book. We’re going to start with simpler, more straightforward pieces and then add new techniques and do more complex pieces with them, culminating in a four-color double-knit shoulder-bag with the pattern only on one side. It is my great hope that people who want to learn double-knitting will go as far as they are comfortable with my patterns and techniques, and not just jump into the harder ones without learning the easier ones first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.