My son plays baseball for the local high school, and because we live in the mountains, and baseball season starts at the same time for everyone in North Carolina, that means baseball season for us is not for The Boys of Summer. No, it's for The Boys Who Don't Mind Freezing Their Asses Off. Last year he played in snow, he played in 35 degree wind, he played a lot of games in 40 degree rain. Seriously, baseball in Western North Carolina rewards tenacity. For, it must be said, both the players and the spectators. Because he might have been freezing his ass off on the field, but I (and my husband and mom) were freezing ours off on the sidelines. So all of those t-shirts for fans to show their school spirit? Awesome, but not too helpful in this case. The boosters would make a fortune if they instead sold Asheville High School parkas.
I'm not quite ready to knit a parka (yet), but a cowl seemed like a good idea. I made the first one, complete with my own charts for a paw (Go Cougars!) and the AHS "A" (which you might notice is also the Atlanta Braves "A", but whatever.) And I quite liked the design (it's the one here that combines the A and the paws), but it showed the trouble with stranded color work knitting for a cowl - inevitably you can see the inside of the cowl when it hangs around your neck, and the inside of stranded color work is... not that pretty.
So I decided to remedy that problem with double knitting. Did you know you can knit a garment that's reversible, showing a mirror image on each side? And you knit both sides at the same time? Actually I didn't know that either until I started doing a little research on how to make a cowl that wouldn't let you look behind the curtain when you wear it. I mean, there's a reason we don't wear a sweater inside-out, right?
So I looked at some YouTube videos (my source of all knowledge), and I got to work - and it WORKS! This cowl looks like a right side on either side - so if it folds over while you're wearing it, no big! You're just looking at a mirror image of another right side. Miraculous.
You can see the two options here - the inside of the regular stranded color work cowl, and the inside of the double knit cowl.
You might notice that there's no A on the double knit cowl - and that's because I decided to make a hat too, and to reserve the A for the hat so everything wasn't *toooo* matchy. (And also because if you double knit a letter then on the reverse side the letter will be backwards, but if you just knit paws then you can wear it with either side out and it will look perfect.)
So I started the hat this weekend, and this time I tried using a Norwegian Knitting Thimble to help manage the two yarns (see, you knew I was getting to the thimble eventually.) It seems like a little more of a pain to adjust two yarns with double knitting than with regular stranded knitting - I suppose because you have to alternate between knit and purl for every stitch.
So, enter the genius Norwegians and their knitting thimble, which kind of reminds me of the way a sewing machine adjusts tension. I won't say the thimble was a perfect solution (I'm still fumbling around with how to tension it a little, and it seems to change every time I pick up my knitting), but for me it's definitely an improvement on not using one at all.
Questions or suggestions on either double knitting or the thimble? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you! And - Go Cougars!