Double-knitting stocking stitch – a left-handed knitting tutorial

Double-knitting stocking stitch

Double-knitting: reversible stocking stitch

The version for knitting left-handed

In this post, I’m going to show you how to work stocking stitch when double-knitting. The following explanations and images are for those who knit left-handed. This means that your working hand is your left hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and the stitches move from your right-hand needle to your left-hand needle as you knit. If you knit right-handed, take a look at this tutorial.

Double-knitting is a technique which creates a two-layered reversible fabric. Double-knitting can be used to knit reversible stitch patterns in more than one colour. However, I’m going to keep it simple for now and just show you one colour on each side.

In the photo below, you can see a sample of stocking stitch fabric worked using the double-knitting technique. When you look at the fabric you can see the knit side in blue. The yellow stitches are hidden underneath the blue, although you can just see them peeping out at the lower edge as well as on the needle. Take a look at my post called What is double-knitting? for a more detailed explanation.

Sample of double-knitting

It will be easier to explain if I refer to the side you can see as the facing side and the side you can’t see as the opposite side. So, in the above photo, the blue is the facing side and the yellow is the opposite side.

How to knit a facing stitch by throwing

Let’s start by knitting a facing stitch. In the photo below I’m about to knit the next blue facing stitch on the right-hand needle. I start with both yarns at the back of the work. I’m holding one yarn in each hand; this is how I hold the yarn when I’m working in two colour for techniques such as Fair Isle and I find it also works well for double-knitting. Since I’ll be using the yarn in my left hand, I’ll be throwing the yarn to make a knit stitch.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch LH 1

You start in the same way as for knitting in normal stocking stitch; by inserting the left-hand needle, knitwise, through the next stitch on the right-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch LH 2

Then you throw the yarn in the left hand round the working needle, keeping yarn in the right hand at the back. Again, that’s just the same as throwing a knit stitch in normal stocking stitch.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch LH 3

Next use the left-hand needle to pull the new ‘daughter’ stitch through the old ‘mother’ stitch.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch LH 4

Finally you drop the mother stitch from the right-hand needle, which leaves the new daughter stitch sitting on the left-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch LH 5

So, knitting a stitch by throwing is exactly the same for double-knit and normal stocking stitch. However you choose to hold the two yarns, the second one is held at the back out of the way.

How to purl an opposite stitch by picking

In the photo below I’m ready to purl a yellow opposite stitch. This time, I start with both yarns at the front of the work. Again, I’m holding one yarn in each hand; but this time I’ll be using the yarn in my right hand, so I’ll be picking the yarn to make a purl stitch.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch LH 1

Again, you start in the same way as for purling in normal stocking stitch; by inserting the left-hand needle, purlwise, through the next stitch on the right-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch LH 2

Then you use the left-hand needle to pick the yarn in the right hand, keeping the yarn in the left hand in front. Now, if you look at the photo carefully, you will see that I’m not picking in the normal way. Usually, when picking (and throwing) we take the yarn round the needle in an anticlockwise (counterclockwise) direction (image you are looking along the needle to the point). I’m actually taking the yarn round the needle in a clockwise direction.

The reason is that it is far easier to pick a purl this way and as someone whose normal knitting method is throwing, I need to make the picking easy. Why does it matter? Well, the direction in which the yarn goes round the needle affects the way in which the new stitches sit on the needle. When the yarn goes clockwise round the needle, the stitch formed sits with its leading leg at the back. Because of this we shall have to do something slightly different to the yellow stitches on the next row.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch LH 3

Of course, if you are used to purling by picking, then you can purl in the usual way and your new stitch will sit with its leading leg at the front.

Next use the left-hand needle to pull the new ‘daughter’ stitch through the old ‘mother’ stitch. Finally drop the mother stitch from the right-hand needle, which leaves the new daughter stitch sitting on the left-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch LH 4

You might be able to see that the new stitch is sitting the opposite way round to the next stitch on the left-hand needle.

How to knit a facing stitch by picking

I’ve reached the end of the first row and turned my work. Now the yellow stitches are facing stitches and the blue ones are opposite stitches. I’m keeping the two yarns in the same hands as before.

My next stitch is a yellow facing stitch. Again, I start with both yarns at the back of the work. This time I’ll be knitting with the yarn in my right hand, so I’ll be picking it to make a knit stitch.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch by picking LH 1

Now, this is where things are slightly different because the yellow stitches from the previous row have their leading leg at the back. If I purl through the front loop my mother stitch will become twisted. I want all my stitches to be untwisted, so I have to insert the left-hand needle, knitwise, through the back loop of the next stitch on the non-right-hand needle. You can read more about twisted stitches in my blog post Twisted and untwisted Stitches.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch by picking LH 2

Then you use your left-hand needle to pick the yarn in your right hand, keeping yarn in your left hand at the back, and taking the yarn round the needle in the usual manner (that is, anticlockwise, when looking along the needle towards the point).

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch by picking LH 3

Next use the left-hand needle to pull the new ‘daughter’ stitch through the old ‘mother’ stitch.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch by picking LH 4

Finally drop the mother stitch from right-hand needle, which leaves the new daughter stitch sitting on your left-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to knit a facing stitch by picking LH 5

And, by working through the back loop we made sure that the mother stitch is untwisted, and by taking the yarn round the needle clockwise we made sure that the new daughter stitch sits with the leading leg at the front.

How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing

In the photo below I’m ready to purl a blue opposite stitch. As for purling on the previous row, I start with both yarns at the front of the work. However, this time I’ll be using the yarn in my left hand, so I’ll be throwing the yarn to make a purl stitch.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing LH1

Again, you start in the same way as for purling in normal stocking stitch; by inserting the left-hand needle, purlwise, through the next stitch on the right-hand needle.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing LH1

Then you throw yarn in your left hand round the working needle, keeping yarn in your right hand at the front. That’s just the same as throwing a purl stitch in normal stocking stitch.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing LH1

Next use the left-hand needle to pull the new ‘daughter’ stitch through the old ‘mother’ stitch.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing LH1

Finally, drop the mother stitch from the right-hand needle, which leaves the new daughter stitch sitting on the left-hand needle. And, this new stitch is also sitting the with its leading leg at the front.

Double-knitting How to purl an opposite stitch by throwing LH1

I’ve used the double-knitting technique for colour patterns in Anemone fingerless mittens and Cymru cowl.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Irene

    Thank you. Trying to find tutorials for the more advanced Knitting techniques for lefties is surprisingly hard, and to find good tutorials is even more difficult. You pages are going to be a lifeline. I’ve already used your left handed Kitchener tutorial and now I no longer fear grafting. Thanks!

    1. Being Knitterly

      Hi Irene, I’m so glad you’re finding my tutorials for left-handed knitters useful. Please let me know if you’d like me to write a tutorial for a particular technique.