Double knitting - how to start a piece

I have watched the video for double knitting here and it seems very doable, however it didn’t cover how you start a piece of work if you want it to be double knitting from start to finish or even how you’d transition from single to double knitting. If someone could explain:

  1. How to cast on and begin double knitting from the beginning of a piece of work?

  2. If you are starting a piece in single knitting and going to double, how do you go about doing the transition?

Thanks in advance. Its something I just can’t wrap my head around.


I haven’t done any double knitting, but we do have a pattern for a double knit potholder. Maybe it can answer some of your questions.

I found double knitting infuriatingly frustrating… but I managed to cast on and do a couple rows before deciding it was not for me.

You will cast on holding both colours of yarn. When you have finished casting on, you go back and make sure they are lined up properly. You can do this by pulling one over the other to line it up… Ill use red and black as my 2 colours.

It should always be [B] [COLOR=Red]RED[/COLOR] BLACK [COLOR=Red]RED[/COLOR] BLACK[/B]this can reversed to [B]BLACK [COLOR=Red]RED[/COLOR] BLACK [COLOR=Red]RED[/COLOR][/B] Basically you just want to make sure that the colours next to each other are opposite… so there should be no [B][COLOR=Red]RED [/COLOR]BLACK BLACK[COLOR=Red] RED[/COLOR][/B]…

Once you have the cast on, you can watch amy’s video and follow what she does for the general knitting. It is a shame she doesn’t have the cast on method shown here…

Make sure to keep your yarn balls seperate. Things can get tangled quickly.

Good Luck!

I take both threads/yarn colors
and with BOTh strands in hand, i do whatever cast on I want (long tail for me)
then I have equal numbers of stitches side by side
yeah I have to switch some [B][COLOR=red]Red[/COLOR] black black [COLOR=red]Red[/COLOR][/B] to [B][COLOR=red]Red[/COLOR] Black [COLOR=red]Red[/COLOR] Black[/B]
the first row is the ONLY one that is hard
once they are in line, I find it is easiest to think in terms of following the pattern as ONe sided, BUT, to do the stitch you do color one knit, then color two Purl
so if the color pattern is [COLOR=red]red red red[/COLOR] black [COLOR=red]red red red[/COLOR] black [COLOR=red]red red red[/COLOR] black
you [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]Kr[/COLOR]ed Pblack, Kblack [COLOR=red]P[/COLOR]red, [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=#ff0000]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]Kr[/COLOR]ed Pblack, Kblack [COLOR=red]P[/COLOR]red, [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack [COLOR=red]K[/COLOR]red Pblack
it sounds hard, and at first it is
then it gets easy and it can be done
I did the “they call them pirates” hat in Double knitting
turned out GREAT (the second time I did it)
I also did the fake Isles hat, that one came out GREAT
I still wear it, its SO warm


I do double knitting all the time. I do the same cast on as the other two have mentioned.
I also think of a pattern as one sided, but do the stitches as “stitch sets” as described by ecb.
If you are going to knit part of a pattern in single knit and then switch, I would say the easiest way is to just hold both yarns together for the row before you begin the double knit. If you have to have all one color on that row (not the mix you get if you hold two colors together), then use an extra strand of your main color yarn and join the contrasting color after that row, then as you go back the other way pick up the stitches as mentioned above (k1 “red”, p1 “black”, repeat until end of row). Remember that on your reverse side rows you have to do this in reverse (p1 black, k1 red). I almost always do this for hats knit in the round so I don’t have to worry about reverse side rows.

It seems so clearly explained yet I am having a bit of trouble visualizing it. I am going to have to just give this ago, and I’ll use your information and way of keeping the order of colours and which stitch to do when written down in chart form. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you have trouble, I should have pictures ready in a while, I’m casting on for a headband at the moment.

here is a link to my You Tube tutorialfor ONE way to cast on in two colors for double knitting…

there are may ways…

1–cast on provisionally, in color A (main color) Use a cirulcar needle as waste yarn!

knit X rows of stocking knit. (if desired, work 1 row of purls on front for ‘turning row’ at the half way point. (1/2 of X) )

fold work in half, (with stocking knit side out.)

hold work similar to 3 needle bind off.
[I](if you didn’t use circ as waste yarn, undo provisional cast on, and place stitches on a needle)[/I]

pick up second yarn…
[B]Knit stitch 1 from front needle with Yarn A.
Purl stitch 1 from back needle with Yarn B

[/B]repeat this across rows now you have 2 sets of stitches, plus a stocking knit hem.

–other ways have you cast on with yarn B between each knit stitch.

it really depends on the effect you want…

i use my 2 color cast on because with potholders, its a fast easy edge.

(PS–if you use the same cast on with a single ball of yarn, you can cast on in knit and purl… --sample shown is 1 X1 ribbing… but you could do 2 of normal long tail, then 2 backwards long tail and have 2 X 2 ribbing in your cast on row!)

I cast on like you would with long-tail 1x1 rib cast-on from single knitting. I tie the ends of the two colors together with a slip knot, put that on the needle, and hold the two yarns together, one over the thumb, the other over the index finger. I cast knits with one yarn and purls with the other, alternating. (The actual action is awkward to explain and do at first, but extremely useful and easy once you know how. Just like knitting and crochet in general! Lookup a long-tail rib cast on tutorial video).

This gives an extremely neat-looking edge, equally as stretchy as the rest of the fabric. The only downside is that the contrast line at the bottom of the piece is unavoidable. But hey, it makes a very cool-looking border.

I do not recommend switching from single knit to double knit. I tried that once on a scarf when I went from stripes to “Hey, how about a dragon!” I ended up pulling the single knit out after I was done and using the dragon panel as a wall hanging. The single knit pulled much tighter than the double knit, as I doubled the number of stitches on the needle (two stitches for double knit in each of the stitches for single knit, knitting through one side and purling through the other, or something like that). I have not tried it since and do not recommend, but if you absolutely had to transition, I would probably suggest using the same number of total stitches in the two parts. So half the number of pattern stitches as the number of single-knit stitches.