Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pattern Release: Incline's Ascent Cowl

I have a confession to make: I am a bit obsessed with double-knitting. While I have been doing stranded colorwork happily for many years, I've only relatively recently discovered the infinitely cool knitting trick that is double-knitting. If it's not something you're familiar with, let me explain: Double-knitting is a method of two-color knitting that allows you to create a double-sided fabric that is fully reversible, where the image on one side is the reverse on the other. For instance, if I knit a white star on a blue background on one side, I'd have a blue star on a white background on the other. The really fantastic part about this technique is that, unlike stranded knitting, you don't have to worry about an "unused" color going long stretches between being used. There are no strands to catch, and it's much easier (in my estimation) to keep your tension even.

So, just how does the magic of double-knitting happen? It's much simpler than you might think. Double-knitting is worked in pairs of stitches, the first always knit and the second always purled. You always work the stitches in opposite colors. In my star example from above, if I'm knitting a white stitch for the star, I'll purl the accompanying stitch with blue. Really, if you can knit 1x1 ribbing, you can do double-knitting.

Given this little obsession of mine, you can understand why I wanted to include a double-knit piece in the Stitchburgh collection. It didn't take very much contemplation to figure out what image I wanted to feature. The Duquesne Incline is iconic in Pittsburgh. Chances are you've seen it in the foreground of a shot of downtown Pittsburgh. If you live here or have visited, you may even have ridden it up to the observation deck to get its stunning view of the city. Now, you can have it on a cowl of your own.

The Incline's Ascent Cowl is worked in the round (which I find easier in double-knitting, as you don't have to reverse the meaning of the colors in the chart as you would when working wrong-side rows in flat knitting). It starts with a two-color cast on for which there is a photo tutorial included in the pattern. While the front of the cowl features an image of an incline car, the back is all solid (though you could repeat the image if you wanted). I think of the above incarnation as the most traditional look of the incline, though you can always flip it inside out if you want a different look:

I highly encourage you to give double-knitting a try if you haven't yet. I think you'll find it just as addictive as I have!

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