08 June 2020

Two-Color Double-Knitting with Only One Color at a Time

A question was recently posted to the Ravelry double-knitting group. The knitter wanted to work a typical two-color double-knit fabric but did not want to manipulate two colors at once. She wanted to know would it be possible to work the fabric using the slipped-stitch method?

While I think it is probably more efficient to work with both colors in one pass, it is possible to work each color individually.


Some caveats:
You want points at both ends — use double-pointed needles or circular needles.
If you like reading your knitting, it is tricky to read that second pass. You might want to set-up each row by inserting stitch markers at each color change.
This method is probably slower.

On the other hand, if you really can't stand carrying two colors at once or you are getting very different tension with each color, then working one color at a time may be worth it. You might find you better match the tension in both colors.

You will still need to move the yarn back and forth between the needles as you would for 1×1 ribbing or double-knitting with both colors manipulated at the same time.

The formula:
To work the next pair with the knit stitch in the color you are using, work knit 1, slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front.
To work the next pair with the purl stitch in the color you are using, work slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, purl 1.

Another way to think about this is:
  • Move the yarn into position (to the back to knit or to the front to purl).
  • If the yarn is the correct color, work the stitch.
  • If the yarn is the incorrect color, slip the stitch purlwise (i.e. slide it over without changing its stitch facing).

I hope that helps!

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