Double-sided knitting is just that -- knitting that has two sides and is reversible. But every piece of knitting has two sides, you say. Yep. But are both those sides always lovely? Nope.
Double-sided knitting creates a pattern on both sides. Take a look at this snowflake scarf as an example. See how it has the same pattern on both sides, with the colors on one side the inverse of the colors on the other? Normally showing the wrong side of your knitting is equivalent to showing a stranger your underwear. We want to keep those things under wraps! But with double-sided knitting, there's no need to be ashamed of the wrong side. In fact, there is no wrong side!
Go ahead and let the wind whip this Double-Knitted Snowflake Scarf around. It will look good no matter which side is visible!
And here's the absolutely crazy part: if you can knit and purl, you can knit double-sided. It does take a little more mental work, but the stitches themselves are not the challenge.
What you're basically doing in double sided knitting is knitting two sides at once, alternating stitches so that a stitch from one side is followed by a stitch on the other side. This means you won't be carrying stitches, as you would with other two-color knitting techniques. And there won't be any messy bulk between the two layers, either. By alternating stitches, you're locking the layers together.
Double knitting is great for things like scarves, when you never know what side will be showing. It's also ideal if you are indecisive when it comes to choosing colors for your project. With double knitting, you can have blue snowflakes with a gray background on one side, and gray snowflakes with a blue background on the other side.
Here are a couple of other options to get you started with double sided knitting:
If you're trying double-sided knitting for the first time, a hat is a good place to start. It's a smaller project, so you won't be juggling as many stitches as if you were making something like a blanket. Plus, the two layers will make the hat twice as warm.
Hat pattern from Alasdair Post-Quinn's Extreme Double Knitting book.
I like knitting double-sided headbands because I get the best of both worlds when it comes to dominant colors. I knit a lot with purple and blue (two of my absolute favorite colors), and sometimes I can't decide which should be the background and which should be the design. With double sided knitting, I can have both without knitting two separate headbands!
Another great accessory to use the double-sided knitting technique on is a cowl. You know how cowls have a way of rolling and twisting around, even after you've perfectly adjusted them? This Greek Key Cowl looks great even if it's showing both sides. Because of the geometric pattern, no one will ever know the difference!
Blankets are also a nice opportunity to use double-sided knitting. Not only does the technique make the blanket super warm and cozy, but it also makes it lovely on both sides.
I know double-knitting looks scary. Not ready to tackle it on your own? You can get even more double-sided knitting help by taking Alasdair Post-Quinn's Adventures in Double-Knitting class. By the time you finish the class, you'll have mad skills in creating two-color, double-sided, and reversible fabric -- and you'll make a really awesome reversible cabled hat.
Have you ever tried double-sided knitting? What was the biggest challenge for you?