I took Andrea Wong
's class, Double Knitting Portuguese Style at Stitches West
last month. I hadn't done double knitting before and I didn't know anything about Portuguese knitting (PK), so I was in for a lot of learning.
Portuguese Knitting tensions the yarn around the back of the neck or through a knitting pin--a hook that you pin at your shoulder or wear around your neck--and then through the fingers on your right hand. Knitting, purling, and moving the yarn to the front or back of the work is all done with a flick of your left thumb. It was really interesting to learn a new technique, and one that was so efficient!
The morning was spent learning how to knit, then purl, then 1x1 rib in one color. The progression of the class worked well for me. Knitting came pretty easily, purling was a little more difficult, though many in the class thought purling was easier. Then when it came to 1x1 rib, I had to think about every stitch. I used the lunch break to work through most of the 1x1 rib for the headband class project. After a few rounds, I found a rhythm and my hands required less instruction from my brain. The big surprise to me was my 1x1 rib looked so much better with PK. My tension was super even and I didn't have that bit of looseness when transitioning between the knits and purls.
In the afternoon, we started on double knitting Portuguese style. We had a pin both shoulders, got tensioned with 2 colors of yarn, and the rest was pretty much knitting and purling as we learned in the morning. PK took care of the yarn management without doing anything different. It was magic.
So we continued working on our class project while Andrea demonstrated and talked about other techniques like cast on, bind off, etc.. She also had samples of her designs and other types of PK pins for us to look at. Other students had varying levels of experience with double knitting and they shared the pieces they brought to class. It was all very interesting and I was super excited to learn a new technique that worked well for me.
Overall, I thought the class was excellent. I can see using PK for all double knitting projects and any other project that is 1x1 rib or seed stitch/moss stitch intensive. I'll need to be careful about switching from PK to English style knitting in the same project since my tension with both techniques is different right now.
Poking pins in every top I wear while knitting can be an issue, so I bought 2 magnetic PK pins from Andrea's Etsy Store, KnitsBitsandGifts
Portuguese Knitting Pins
These hold themselves in place with strong magnets, so no piercing of fabric is required. The other benefit to the magnetic pins is they're bigger and heavier than the safety pin style so I'm less likely to forget to take them off--and believe me it's very easy to forget to take the pins off. But even if I forget to remove the magnetic pins, they're quite pretty and can be worn as jewelery. But I might look a bit strange if I'm walking around with one on each shoulder. lol.
I extended the class project from a headband to a hat and finished it a few days ago. Not bad for my first DK/PK project.
Double Knit Hat
Project details on Ravelry
Double Knit Hat
Want to learn more about Portuguese Knitting? Take a look at this video of Andrea on Knitting Daily TV, then visit her web site
for more information about her DVD's, books, and classes.
Labels: double knitting, hat, instruction/technique, Portuguese Knitting, Stitches West, wool