a hardly strictly Fair Isle, double knit, cotton bathroom rug

Well I put the last stitch into it today. It’s been through the washer and dryer already and it’s now on the bathroom floor. I’m glad it’s done. I’m really ready to move on. Working with cotton is better than working with twine but only just. I’m looking forward to getting back to working with sheep’s wool. Wool has got elasticity that plant fibers don’t seem to have.

Anyway, what can I tell you? This is my first double knit project. So it’s been my double knitting “learning” project. In Margaret Radcliffe’s “The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques” there is a section on double knitting. (And thank you so much to Michael in New York for pointing it out to me!) And in the double knitting section there’s a sub-section on “Managing Your Yarn”. It says, “When working with two yarns at the same time, it’s easy to accidentally work with the wrong one and to unintentionally twist the two strands. It can also be difficult to maintain consistent tension, so one layer of your fabric may be noticeably looser than the other.” That may be true for English and continental but it is not true at all for PK. With PK it is difficult to work the wrong yarn. If you want to twist the yarns you have to do it deliberately unless you’re knitting with the “purl color” for that side. (And sometimes with stranded work you would deliberately twist the yarns in order to “trap” the carried yarn on the wrong side.) Tension is easily maintained by running the yarn up under one’s collar. Both layers of the fabric have perfect tension effortlessly with PK. Because I used the Portuguese method with this project it was not difficult at all. Not remotely. It was just long.

The motifs are taken from “The Art of Fair Isle Knitting” by Ann Feitelson. But that was before I knew about “The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting” by Sheila McGregor. McGregor’s patterns are a lot easier to read. Feitelson’s are beautiful to look at. They’re in full color. The pattern that I used for this rug were taken from a sweater pattern that has ten different colors of yarn in it. Five light colors and five dark colors. I had to copy it out onto graph paper because I was going cross-eyed trying to figure which was the light and the dark on any given row. If I’d been knitting the sweater in the book the charts would have been invaluable but since I was just doing a two-color project, all the extra hues and shades were distracting.

And finally putting the rug through the washer and dryer definitely shrunk it. And that’s been a good thing. It squared up the shape of it and it made it feel quite a bit thicker.

And that, my Brothers, is my report on my first double knitting project.


Bill's picture

It's beautiful, Tom...I watched this grow...took a long time ...but worth it.
Tom sets himself challenges...and sticks with them!

Crafty Andy's picture

Mnjack's picture

That is really a work of art. Very nice job.

Thor's picture

W O W ! ! Just beautiful.

ronhuber's picture

Both sides of the rug are beautiful and you made a great choice of design. I am still practising my PK and rather enjoying it. My tension is still not as good as my English but I would like to persevere. Learning something new is fun. What's your next project?

Tom Hart's picture

Thanks, Ron. The next thing I'm thinking of getting into is modular knitting. I was reading about it in a knitting book and it sounds like something I'd like to learn. I've wanted to make a jacket for myself for a while and I think with modular knitting I could do it. We'll see. And good luck with the PK!

TomH's picture


rc_in_sd's picture

Stunning. Great work. Wow.

Kerry's picture

What a great rug, well done Tom. Double knitting I've never tried.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Very nice, Tom. Which ever side you look at. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Ditto on all accounts. Really beautiful.


Tom Hart's picture

Thanks for all the kind words, Guys. Friends and family may oooh and aaah but it means the most coming from you, craft masters and stitch brothers. Thanks!

knitsncycles's picture

I agree. How wonderful.

Melbcub's picture

Genius. I love it. You have totally inspired me!

ivmanrob's picture

That's too beautiful to be a rug, Tom! Great work!

Donski's picture

I cant even imagine how you do that.. without loose ends all over the place :)

Pinecone's picture

Beautiful work Tom. I'm glad you shared it!