Tag Archives: Instructional

Free Pattern: Double Knit Sampler Coin Purse

The Bluebonnet Knitting Guild has been nice enough to ask me back to present my Double Knitting program and I’m always happy to spread the double knit love around. Last time I had worked up a little project and pattern as a type of sampler to learn some of the different techniques I discussed. I had originally hoped to do a longer workshop on it, but alas it did not come together. I did however have a nearly completed pattern already written and had wanted to dust if off and put together in a finished publishable format – this was the perfect motivation I needed!

Double Knit Sampler Coin Purse

If you would like a bit of a Double Knit Primer- refer to the first part of my DK Button Band tutorial.

While swatching is great, I wanted to have an actual useful item when finished trying these different methods, thus the coin purse. The body of the purse is worked back and forth on two needles with a single strand of yarn and produces a tube like circular knitting, but with a closed bottom. The pattern offers three different options for the closed tube cast-on.

The recommended option is working this part “inside-out” or in Reverse Stockinette Stitch. There are a couple reasons for this. First, this method doesn’t require you to move the working yarn from front to back as you work, simpler and less likely you’ll accidentally miss one and hook your sides together making the tube impossible to open. Second, you can work the pair of stitches as one (details in pattern) and this goes faster
(If you would prefer to work it so you can see the knit stitches as you go, this option is also given).

"Opening the tube"

Once done with this section, you’re ready to “open the tube”. Using two needles you place alternating stitches on each, so one side of fabric is on each needle.

Tube now open and reversed right side out

Viola! A knitted “in the round” tube worked back and forth on two needles. Here it has been flipped right side out and ready to continue on to the two color flap.


A slightly smaller prototype version, with another chart example. There are 9 different chart options in the pattern. Optional shaping is also covered.

Pattern previewPattern: Double Knit Sampler Coin Purse
Gauge: 16 sts and 24 rows = 4″ in Double Knit Sockinette st. (Exact gauge not important)
Size: 2 ½” wide and 2 ¾” tall
Needle sizes: US Size 6 (4mm) double-pointed needles
Yarn: Any worsted weight yarn or similar in two contrasting colors [Main Color (MC) and Contrast Color (CC)]
Skill level: Intermediate
Price: FREE
Format: PDF format digital pattern


How-To: Simple Tubular Cast-on

For a recent camping trip I decided I need a portable project and cast-on for the ever popular Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. However, I wanted to mod the cast on for one of my favorite seamless ones. A tubular cast-on for 1×1 ribbing in the round. The great thing about this cast-on is it doesn’t require learning any new maneuvers or stitches, just a little scrap yarn.

Simple Tubular Cast-on Tutorial

Cast-on using Long Tail Method with scrap yarn

First, determine half the number of sts indicated in the pattern plus one. So for this pattern that’d be 37 (72/2 = 36, +1 = 37). Using your scrap yarn, and needles a couple sizes smaller than the pattern indicates, cast-on with the typical long-tail method. Distribute sts for working in the round (on needles a few sizes smaller).

slip last CO st over first CO st

Slip the last cast-on stitch over the first cast-on stitch and off the needle (36 sts remain).

*K1, yo; rep from *

Switch to your working yarn and work: Round 1: *K1, yo; rep from * – 72 sts.

P1, *k1, sl1 pwise with yarn in front*

Round 2: P1, *k1, slip 1 purl-wise with yarn in front; rep from *.

*P1, sl1 pwise with yarn in back*

Round 3: *P1, sl1 pwise with yarn in back; rep from *.
Repeat Rounds 2 and 3 one more time. You are actually working double knit on these rounds, basically one side at a time. Therefore it takes two rounds to complete one row. At the end of the repeat you have the equivalent of two rows completed.

*P1, K1* 3 rounds

Now you’ll switch to the indicated size needles and work your regular 1×1 ribbing for however many rows to match the pattern. In this case, that would be three more rounds of *P1, k1* to equal 5 rows of ribbing.

Cut and remove waste yarn

Next, carefully cut the waste yarn in sections and remove.

Beautiful seamless edging!

Ta-da! A beautiful invisible stretchy edge! See the finished hat here.

Sword sligin’

Click for enlargement

While shopping at the halloween store we determined that some swords were a must have for this years costumes. For me, a cutlass to go with my pirate costume, and Mr. PieKnits a fencing foil for his Phantom of the Opera. Now a gentleman of the opera house needed a proper place for his sword. With some craft felt and 15 minutes time I created a holster, or ‘Sword Frog’ to slide onto his belt, ta-da!

Front/back view

This is loosely modeled off of some images from 19th century military issued sword belts and baldrics but could easily used for about any costume with a sword, or just for that toy sword the little ones are running around with! 

Materials needed:

  • 1 piece of craft felt
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue/fray check/regular glue (optional)

Click for pattern
Click here or on the thumbnail image for a printable pattern template. Cut out pattern and trace onto felt. Cut out pattern in felt and the slit in top. This should be the width of the belt it’s intended to be worn on (standard belt size shown).

Fold over far right edge and line up with angled bottom left edge, slightly overlapped. Stitch together. Sew reinforcing X stitches at top and bottom of belt slit. You can add a drop of glue on the back at each of these points as well for some additional strength.

Note: This is made for a right handed sword fighter, to be worn on the left. If you are left handed, flip the pattern over.

Yes, I'm modeling Mr. Pieknits sword, no my own.

Next up, my nearly entirely DIY pirate costume!

FO: Chunky Newsboy Cap

Let me articulate how I feel about this particular piece.


Click me

When I saw this pattern I wanted to cast-on immediately (even despite having three other hats in progress). Thankfully this is the fastest knit I’ve ever done – less than 2 hours! I can definitely see cranking out a few more of these in other colors.

Easiest brim ever!

This is like cotton candy knitting, total fluff and mindless instant gratification. I followed the pattern line by line (nice, no measuring even needed) and it fits perfectly. Can you tell I’m smitten?

Pattern: Chunky Newsboy Cap by Diane Serviss of Earthly Fae
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, Grass #131
Needles: US size 13 (9 mm) and US size 8 (5 mm); used magic loop for top
Mods: None other than to cast-on in knit/purl long-tail method, detailed below

I’ve talked about the Purl variation of the Long-Tail Cast-on before in this tutorial but I didn’t show the difference it really makes. I particularly like to use this in combination with the regular cast-on for ribbing in bulkier yarns as it shows much more and thus used it here. The reason this matters is because the Long-Tail CO actually creates your first row of knitting, so in ribbing you have one row that doesn’t match the ribbing.

In the first swatch I used the combo of knit and purl variations and you can see it’s more seamless (especially when it is stretched out like when worn on a hat brim). The other nice thing about this is it is identical on both sides and therefore an ideal choice for things like scarves where both sides are visible. I’ve also used it when making a sweater for example where the body is worked in the round but the sleeves are worked back and forth. In this case different sides show on the RS and the cast-ons don’t match. Again this is more noticeable in bulky yarns (it bothered me in my Lace Leaf Pullover).

Combo knit/purl cast-on vs. regular long-tail

You can really see the difference between the two sides in the last two photos of the same swatch. If you prefer a photo tutorial vs. the illustrations, this is a nice example on the technique.

Chicks with (Staple) Guns

or Do-It-Yourself Upholstery
Gun slingin'
I do love my staple gun. When shopping for yours go for the Heavy Duty, do not entertain any others.
And so as promised, more escapades in re-upholstery!
Settee Before
While this piece is actually new, I found it at a closeout furniture shop for such a steal that I couldn’t pass it up despite the undesired upholstery fabric. I figured even with the cost of new fabric it would still be a deal, and well – it was perfect.
The After
This kind of couch, or settee as I took to calling it, is really more an elongated chair. Which is good – chair upholstery is one of the easiest. If you’re not sure about tackling that sofa Grandma donated to you yet I’d recommend trying out a “drop-in” seat style chair first, like the one I did here.
Here’s what I did if you’re interested in following along to try it yourself.
Conveniently with this piece the “Some Assembly Required” part could wait until after I was done, thus saving a step. Otherwise your first step would to be unscrew the seat and any other parts on the piece.
Starting with the seat cushion, flip it over and the bottom will most likely be covered with some backing material. Using a flat head screwdriver and some pliers I removed all the staples and the fabric. Save this fabric, you will want to put it back when finished.
Valuable tool
Now I’m one for using what you have and being thrifty but sometimes the right tools make all the difference – especially if that difference is not cursing out every single one of several hundred staples. After the backing was off I stopped, went out and got myself a Staple/Tack Remover.
I would recommend doing this step first.

Read more »

Where to keep that cable needle? A solution.

Now as I’ve said many a time, I do love my cables. However it wasn’t until knitting on a particularly cramped plane once that I suddenly became self aware enough to realize I was sticking my cable needle (and extra double point for that matter) in my mouth when not in use. Oh.
So what to do with it?
I know many rave about cabling without a cable needle and I do it for 1×1 cables sometimes but generally it’s just not for me. (I end up feeling I’m strangling rather than working the cables). I like working fast though and all other methods have fallen short (sticking behind the ear- long hair bad idea / in the knitting – it falls out, split stitches / setting it down- the invisible gnomes abscond with it, etc).
With Mother Necessity nudging me, I set my mind to inventing a solution. I wanted a method that didn’t require letting go of the knitting and liked a similar idea to the wrist pin cushion. After a few failed prototypes this is what I came up with and Eureka, it works perfectly!
Cable needle holder
This cable needle holder is worn like a ring on any finger that’s comfortable. The elastic loop performs double duty as a button loop closure and holds the cable needle securely under tension. The cable needle is slipped in and out as needed without having to let go of the working yarn or needles.
What You Need (or what I used anyway):

  • 2 1/2″ long piece of round cord elastic
  • 3″ x 7/8″ piece of fabric (approximately)
  • Matching sewing thread
  • One 1/2″ button (with a shank strongly preferred)

If you’d like, you can print out this template for the fabric. First fold and press your hems, your final size should be 2″ x 5/8″. This final size is what matters, not the hem allowance. (Also, does pressing my folds with my hair straightener instead of the huge industrial iron make me a total freak?)
Hems folded and ready to be sewn - wrong side
I used the fabric selvedge here as it was a little sturdier for attaching the elastic.
Hems folded and ready to be sewn - right side
View from the right side. Note: if you have thin fingers (smaller than size 6), or would like to wear this on your pinky I’d recommend making the piece shorter.
half unfolded and elastic loop sewn down to hem selvedge
Next fold the piece of elastic in half and secure it to the inside hem fabric making sure not to go through both layers. It’s pictured here half unfolded on the right side. I found lashing down both ends by wrapping the thread around everything a few times help to initially secure it. Then work up and over each end in a figure 8 fashion being sure to pierce through the elastic a few times until it’s nice and secure.
All hems sewn
If you have greater finesse with a sewing machine than I, topstitch around all the edges to secure hem. Otherwise hand sew with backstitch.
Button added - all done!
Finally, sew on your button. If not using the recommended shank type button be sure you make a good strong thread shank. (You will be putting a lot a repeated tension on this closure.)
Action shot
Now you’re ready to zoom through your next cabling project!
I’m really rather fond of mine and happily wear it simply as jewelry. Definitely more stylish if forgotten than a needle behind the ear (or in the other stow-away place I’ve heard of- the cleavage)!

Tutorial: Double Knit Button Band

After “uninventing” this technique of double knitting the button band for my Circumnavigated Cardi I had a few requests for a tutorial. I do like to spread the double knitting love, so here we go.
First, let us have a little crash course in double knitting. There are several different methods and variations on those methods for achieving this type of effect. From knitting a tube on two needles with a single strand of yarn, to knitting two layers with two strands, knitting a circle within a circle to two layer colorwork to… phew, well you get the idea. Each of these methods also has its various strengths.
For this application, we will be knitting two layers simultaneously with two strands of yarn; for when working such long rows this is the swiftest variation. If you have ever done stranded colorwork before this method will be familiar. You can hold each strand however you like, both in the left, both in the right or one in each (my preferred method). I also dislike purling continentally so I switch the yarns each row so I’m always working the knit side with my left had. Unlike stranded work where this is verboten due to color dominance, it isn’t an issue here. Do whatever works for you!
So how do you get two layers of knitting on the needles at same time? Simple, you intersperse the stitches of one side, every other one with the stitches of the other side like this.
Double Knitting Illustration
This setup is the constant in all forms of double knitting. I like to think of the stitches on the needle as pairs, one for the front and one corresponding loop for the back. These merry little pairs like to always travel between needles together, kind of like kindergarten street crossing buddies.
Why double knit a button band? Lots of reasons! It gives the more tailored look of a folded hem with Stockinette stitch on both sides yet without having to sew down a folded edge. Working both layers at the same time allows the button hole to be worked through both sides and joined producing a sturdy piece. You can pick up, knit, bind off and be done just like a traditional Garter stitch band.
Double knitting is one of those things where if you’ve never done it before, just trust the directions and it will work- rather like turning a sock heel the first time. Still with me? Great, onto the instructions for making this work as a button-band.
Stitches picked up
To start, pick up sts along the edge as you normally would for any type of button band. This is usually 3 sts for every 4 rows, shown here in a contrasting color for visual simplicity.
1 row purled back
Purl one row. This is the set up row and from this we will double the number of sts to create the two sides of fabric. You will also notice the pick up row gets “tucked in” naturally so that unstretched, you won’t really see it. This helps to disguise the increase row even further.
Purl into st below
Now we will work our increase on every stitch across the row. It is pictured here after working halfway across the row, again for clarity. The best method for increasing like this is the Purl into stitch below increase.
To do this- with the yarn in front, insert the tip of your needle purlwise into the top of the stitch below the current one on the left needle. You can lift this stitch onto the left needle to purl it, or purl from where it is.
Slip st above
After you have purled into that stitch, move the yarn to the back and slip the next stitch purlwise (the one that was above the stitch you just worked into). You now have a happy little pair, one stitch for the front and one for the back.
1st row of double knit complete
Work each stitch across the row this way until all stitches are doubled.
"Back view" of 1st row of DK
Turn your work and switch to a needle one or two sizes smaller and you are ready to start double knitting. *Note: In double knitting you will almost always need to go down a needle size or two because the stitches from the second layer squish in-between the other stitches and spread them out creating a looser gauge than a single knit fabric.
Ready to work buttonhole row
With a second ball of yarn (Yarn A) and *with both strands in front, purl 1 in Yarn A, with both strands in back, knit 1 with Yarn B, repeat from * across row. Your first row of double knit is complete. Turn your work and be sure to twist the two strands at the beginning of reach row to close the sides (the top and bottom of the button band). Repeat between * * until you have worked the desired number of plain rows before the buttonhole row.
Slip first pair of buttonhole sts
Buttonhole row: Continuing in double knit, work the desired number of sts until you reach the placement of your first buttonhole. Bring both yarns to front of work, slip 2 sts (1 pair of front and back layer) then move both yarns to back and drop them there.
Buttonhole sts bound off
Slip 2 sts (1 pair) from the left to right needle then pass the first slipped pair of sts over these. Repeat two more times for a total of 6 sts (3 pairs) bound off or for however many you need for your size buttonhole. Then slip the last pair of sts on the right needle back to the left needle and turn work.
Cast on new sts
Pick up both strands and holding them together cast on 4 sts (or however many pairs you bound off + 1) using Cable Cast-on or Knitting-on Cast-on. The Cable Cast-on produces a neater edge I think, but I found the Knitted-on Cast-on a little easier to work (and is what is pictured here). Instructions for either of these cast-ons can be found here. Remember to work cast-on with both yarns held together (double-stranded). Turn your work and if the WS of the piece is facing you (such as in this example) move the both strands to the front and if the RS is facing you move to back.
Buttonhole complete
Slip 2 sts (1 pair) from the left needle to right needle and pass the last cast-on pair over. Continue in double knitting repeating buttonholes where needed to end of row. On the return row work each loop of the double stranded cast-on sts as one stitch, your little pairs are back. Continue working in double knit until ready to bind off. Note: Remember to twist the yarns at each end (unlike in this swatch *cough*). This will also help neaten up the edges.
Finished button band
To bind-off, a very simple bind-off you can use is similar to the three needle bind-off. Using your original larger needle, simply k2tog (each pair), *k2tog, pass first stitch on right needle over the 2nd and continue from * until all sts are bound off. That’s it!
Another alternative for a seamless edge is to graft both layers together. You can even do this with all the sts still on the same needle (this is how I bound off the ends of my cuffs on the Circumnav Cardi) or separate the two layers onto two needles to work traditionally.
"The guts" - Exploded view of double knit button band
The “guts view” to prove it really is two separate layers in there. You can see that both layers will be joined at the buttonhole making them extra sturdy, huzzah!

Tutorial: No sew circular needle holder

Can’t get any easier than this, the 15-minute circular needle holder.
Click me
Nothing against sewing, I do have plans to make a placemat dpn holder ala the Grumperina method but I like this one for something a little different. Circular needles are inserted through the center holes in craft supply wooden spools and dangle by their cords.
Stuff you need
Wooden spools (mine were Large Barrel, 3/16″ x 7/8″; 1/4″ hole, 20 pcs from a craft store- the larger the hole the better)
Approx 1 1/2 – 2 yards floral wire (I believe mine was 28 gauge)
Permanent markers (I used a silver paint pen and a sharpie)
Scraps of yarn or fabric
Glue (hot glue gun was weapon of choice for me)
Note on the spools – mine have 1/4″ hole which fits up to a US size 10 needle. This was adequate for me, but if you require ones for larger sizes you can drill or use a needle file to enlarge the opening, or look for a larger diameter spool.
What to do with it
First, label all your spools with the appropriate needle size. For my end spools I wound a piece of scrap yarn around the spool and secured it with a dot of glue. A piece of fabric cut to size would also look nice. You could obviously embellish these however you like. I went with simplicity (also known as “easy”). Next cut a length of wire about 1 1/2 – 2 yards long, I just kinda eyeballed it. Thread wire though first spool and hold in half so both lengths of wire are equal. Following the diagram below, weave the wire in and out of each spool.
wire threading illustration
Then, once the last spool is wired on, twist the remaining two wire lengths around each other and fold into a hook shape. Trim ends and load up with all those unruly needles.
Yes I do have more needles than this, I was impatient to take a photo

Purl Long Tail Cast-On

I love this counterpart to the regular long tail cast-on. It’s so simple to work them in combination and cast on anything in ribbing! The long tail cast on actually casts on and makes the first row of knit stitches (which is why you purl the first row when starting in St st.) To start with a seamless 2 x 2 rib, for example, you would cast on 2 sts in the usual method, then 2 in this purl variation, then 2 in regular knit, etc. I used this technique in my Zombies Need Not Apply pulse warmers in the April ’06 issue of Magknits. It works particularly well there where the cast on and bind off rows are so close to each other, thus more noticeable if different.
This technique is also perfect for casting on for double knit fabrics. Alternating between knit and purl sets up the stitches so every other one is facing in the opposite direction.
I had more success in illustrating this with a simplified drawing than photographs. With so much going on visually I decided to indicate the movement of the needle with a green arrow.

Step 1
To make a purl cast on stitch start by holding the yarn in the usual manner. Pick up the strand of yarn on the index finger farthest away from you by coming from behind it.

Step 2
Move the needle towards the strand on the far side of the thumb and go under it coming from behind to catch it on the needle.

Step 3
Pull the needle back towards the index finger pulling the yarn through the loop around the index finger. Slip loop off index finger and tighten the stitch.

You can view comparison swatches of this method in my post here (FO: Chunky Newsboy Cap).

A Study in Eyelets

The little eyelet. So simple, just a Yarn over and compensating decrease, yet the basis of such intricate lace and eyelet designs. I was intrigued while looking over some stitch patterns how just combing different eyelet methods could create whole designs. To get a better look at what each version produces I whipped up this little test swatch.

Click me for enlargement

  1. Left Smooth Eyelet
    • Row 1: YO, k2tog
    • Row 2: Purl
  2. Right Smooth Eyelet
    • Row 1: SSK, YO
    • Row 2: Purl
  3. Left Broken Eyelet
    • Row 1: YO, SSK
    • Row 2: Purl
  4. Right Broken Eyelet
    • Row 1: k2tog, YO
    • Row 2: Purl
  5. Smooth Half Double Eyelet
    • Row 1: SSK, YO, k2tog
    • Row 2: Purl, working a Rib Increase (K1, P1) into the yarnover
  6. Broken Half Double Eyelet
    • Row 1: k2tog, YO, SSK
    • Row 2: Purl, working a Rib Increase (K1, P1) into the yarnover
  7. Smooth Double Eyelet
    • Row 1: SSK, YO, YO, k2tog
    • Row 2: Purl, working a Rib Increase (K1, P1) into the yarnover (work each loop as 1 stitch)
  8. Broken Double Eyelet
    • Row 1: k2tog, YO, YO, SSK
    • Row 2: Purl, working a Rib Increase (K1, P1) into the yarnover (work each loop as 1 stitch)

Mixed Eyelet RibAs you can see, the smooth eyelets lay flat where the broken versions create a little ridge to one side. A great example of using several of these is this Mixed Eyelet Rib pattern shown here from The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt.

So there you have it, the building block of lace patterns. To move on to the whole big picture – head on over to Eunny’s new Majoring in Lace series at See Eunny Knit! It’s promising to be a comprehensive look into all aspects of lace knitting.