Yesterday I took a class at our LYS. It was on double-knitting, and I just have to say, I love taking classes. I've been knitting since I was, oh, about 13 (though, since I'm only 20, that's just 7 years - heh heh). I've knit a lot of stuff. I've done fair isle and intarsia, set-in seams and raglan, button bands and rolled hems. In fact, I've knit about everything but a car cozy. Oh, and a double-knit headband. I missed that one, too. I love classes, with other knitters that have been doing neat things I've never seen. Firstly, I learned how to do a provisional cast-on. I've read about them, understood them, even tried them once or twice. But I really learned how to do them yesterday, and even though my hand was bent funny afterwards, and I might have had to tug at some split yarn a couple of times, I learned it. Never again do I have to think my way around that part of a pattern.
The double knitting, however, that was the trick. You do two separate skeins of yarn, two separate needles, after the provisional cast-on. Then you knit one stitch from one needle with one color, then purl one stitch from the next needle with the other color, then back and forth until all of your stitches are on one needle, but you have twice as many as usual. Then you continue back and forth, knitting and purling, from one skein to another every other stitch, around and around. It takes forever. If you're brave and not ascared of tinking, you can throw a pattern in there. See?
When you're done with the whole kit and caboodle, you separate them back onto two needles, and kitchener them closed. I'm not ascared of the kitchener, either, but that's going to be a lot of weaving. Still, you end up with a twice-as-thick knitted garment, and it's really neat. I know it has an element of magic, because I keep stopping and feeling it, seeing that the two sides are separate, even though they look like they should be intermingled. Very cool. And even though it will take forever, I want to make my daughter a hat like this. All last winter, she wore two hats, one on top of the other, so we're either to the felted garment point, or double-knits for her chilly little head. The temperature is down to single digits right now, completely different from two weeks ago and the springlike rain, and it's bitterly cold outside. This is the ideal knitting inspiration.
I spent all week putting off projects, waiting for the yarn to arrive for the husband's sweater. Then, at the last minute, I caved. I cast on for felted mittens, inspired by the Noro pair I made for my friend, RikiTiki. I want warm hands, too! Then I started the double-knitted headband, and of course, that's the day the yarn arrives. The manly blue color is inappropriately named Sapphire Heather. I have to say "inappropriately," because my husband says he can't tell all the boys the name. It's just "dark blue." Still, it's calling to me, and I have to finish at least the headband first. I don't mind having lots of projects on the needles, but it's hard to complain about the mess laying around the house when so much of it is mine.
So while I keep on with my inner magician, here's a picture of the "dark blue" yarn, waiting to be made into this. Happy knitting your own selves, and for goodness' sake, put on a hat before you step outside. Brr!