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Extreme Double-Knitting

Taking Double Knitting to New Heights

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Extreme Double-Knitting

Extreme Double-Knitting by Alasdair Post-Quinn.

Cooperative Press.

Many double knitters have never gone beyond reversible pot holders and scarves, maybe a hat or two. And that's fine.

But Alasdair Post-Quinn decided he wanted to take double knitting to the next level and way, way beyond, and he shares the results of his explorations in Extreme Double-Knitting: New Adventures in Reversible Colorwork.

About the Book

  • Pages: 200
  • Format: Paperback or PDF
  • Number of patterns: 14
  • Skill level: none given, but the easier patterns are suitable for advanced beginners, while the more complex ones are certainly for advanced knitters who don't mind a little mind bending with their knitting
  • Illustrations: full-color photographs and charts
  • Knitting lessons: none for the basics, but lots of instructions for the different methods used in double knitting
  • Publication date: 2011

Double Knitting Remixed

Double knitting in its most basic form makes a fabric that looks like the knit side of Stockinette Stitch on both sides, with a color pattern that is a mirror image on each side.

There are a couple of patterns for that kind of knitting here, but Post-Quinn also presents methods for double knitting with different patterns on each side, with three colors instead of two, even a method for working reversible cables in double knitting.

If the very thought of all that makes your head spin, don't fear. There are plenty of step-by-step instructions with lots of photographs (often with arrows, which can get kind of annoying) to make the whole process seem much more doable.

And the skills in the book build gradually, so you can start with the more "basic" patterns before moving on to those complex techniques.

It helps to know that Post-Quinn was really trying to stretch the limits of what can be done with double knitting in this book, and a couple of the patterns do border on the absurd. He's willing to admit that, calling the last pattern in the book -- a bottom-up, oblong shoulder bag with a four-color whorl pattern on the outside and a plain inside -- "utterly ridiculous." You may never knit the thing but it is gorgeous and would be a lovely thing to have. He also calls it his "magnum opus," and it's easy to see why.

In addition to the techniques used in the patterns, which are presented as they are needed, Post-Quinn includes a lengthy appendix full of other techniques that can be done in color knitting that he did not use in patterns in the book. For instance, there's information on slip-stitch double knitting worked flat and in the round, tubular double knitting, textured stitches like corrugated rib and Seed Stitch, double knitting in Reverse Stockinette Stitch, even a technique he calls "quadruple knitting," which is a way to make a double knit piece worked in the round on straight needles and something he rightly describes as "something to do 'because you can'," not because there's really any practical use for it.

The Patterns

Extreme Double-Knitting includes 14 patterns, starting with a relatively basic scarf with crow motifs and ending up with that crazy bag. In between there's a baby blanket (and adorable baby booties with footprints on the bottom!), swirled wristlets, a bunch of different hats, a couple of ties, a sign that says "open" on one side and "closed" on the other, and a crazy hinged box worked in bulky yarn on size 4 US needles, which he admits is a little crazy and actually caused "at least one" of his needles to break while he was working out the pattern.

Some of my favorites include the blanket, Sierpinski, which is the knit representation of a fractal pattern; the swirly Wrist Chakra wristlets; the three-color hat Struktur, which ahs a pattern that looks sort of like building beams; and the lovely Vasily, a three-color woven cabled hat for women that might inspire you to try that advanced technique.

One word of advice I would give you is to look through the whole book before you get started because there's some really good advice about finishing hats and other projects that you'll find toward the end of the book. It will save you some frustration if you check it out before knitting a hat.

Bottom Line

Extreme Double-Knitting is clearly a book written by a geek, and that's a great thing. It's not the average person who would put this much time and effort into figuring out how to just about any knitting technique you could think of in a double knit fabric.

You will probably never want to try all of these techniques, but it is really cool to know that they exist and that someone has mastered them.

This book is probably not an essential on every knitter's bookshelf, but if you're a fan of double knitting, knitting hacks and any kind of extreme, off-the-wall techniques this is definitely a book for you. It's fun to read and I imagine it was fun to write and explore all those different options in color knitting.

Publisher's website

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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