Friday, November 20, 2015

Pattern Release: Double Positive

Inspiration can come from the strangest sources. You may remember from my series of posts about designing that I'm often sketching out ideas and jotting down rough notes. What I don't think I mentioned is that I sometimes take photos with my phone when I'm out and about and spot an interesting pattern or architectural feature. One of those photos is the inspiration behind the pattern I published today:

This cement inlay (I'm not even sure what its official name is) was installed in a part of the sidewalk that happens to be on my walk to work sometime in the past year. I walked over it twice a day and then one day looked down and noticed what an interesting pattern it had. So I snapped a picture and then went home to start playing around with charting.

I thought this pattern would be a great one for double-knitting, a technique I learned several months ago and have been fascinated with ever since. Double-knitting is, in the words of my tech editor, a little bit of knitting magic. You end up with a piece of fabric that's double the thickness but has no wrong side, and one side is the reverse image of the other. If it were photography, you might say that one side was the negative of the other.

A play on words gives you Double Positive, my new cowl pattern. It's double-knit and has two motifs that look like plus signs in the pattern.

This cowl is worked entirely in the round, and it starts with a special two-color cast on (I've included a photo tutorial in the pattern to show you how to do it). Once you get the hang of double knitting, it moves along pretty quickly, and the end result is an extra warm accessory to wrap around your neck. You can wear it as one long loop (perfect if you've got one of those coats that's open enough at the top to let cold air seep in) or double it for a snug fit.

The yarn I used in the sample is Yarn Hollow Tango, a really dreamy blend of 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. Polwarth is one of my absolute favorites to spin and knit with. It's soft and very squishy -- very suitable for next-to-skin items. The addition of the silk makes it softer and even makes the yarn glisten just a bit. Tango comes in very generous skeins of 330 yards/302 m, and two skeins are more than enough to knit the cowl as written (you'll only use about 230 yards of each color).

If you've never done double-knitting before, I highly encourage you to give it a go -- I think you'll find it's quite addictive! If you're the sort who learns visually, I can recommend Alasdair Post-Quinn's Craftsy class, Adventures in Double-Knitting.

If you're looking to learn something new, I hope you'll give this cowl a try!

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