When one of my knitting group’s organizers suggested the heart hot pad as a knit along for February, I thought “how adorable” and “that looks quick and easy.” For an insane moment I thought I could knock one out in a day for a Valentine’s Day present. Proud of my one-and-only past accomplishment of double knitting the Rectangly Hat, I thought this would by a cinch. Hubris pie, anyone?
Cutting to the chase, here’s what I’ve learned so far.
- The pattern looks simple, but the directions have confused better knitters than I.
- Double knitting in the round means never having to flip a chart in your head. This ain’t that.
- Holding red and white yarn together for a long-tail cast on makes a pepperminty jumble. It’s easier, and it’s a valid design choice but not my preference. After some false starts, the Happy Seamstress’ directions made a nice single color cast on edge.
- The side edges in the original pattern match the crushed peppermint look of the two-strands-at-once cast on. Being persnickety, I followed lissaplus3’s video instead.
- On the final 2 stitches (1 of each color), hold both colors of working yarn in back, and slip the penultimate stitch purlwise. Move the working yarn of the same color as the last stitch to the front, then slip that last stitch purlwise. (Call this color B.) Turn the work. Knit the now-first stitch (color B) with its matching color, which is already in back. Move that working yarn to the front, where the other color (A) of working yarn has been hanging out, then use color A to purl this stitch.
- I double knit really loosely and should have gone down two more needle sizes.
- The original chart had an error on row 25 (extra red square, removed from charts below), and it showed 29 stitches across, even though the written instructions said to CO 30. Make it 31, and you’ll have a 2-stitch border on either side.
Here’s the best part — a corrected chart showing 31 stitches across plus row / column numbers and a second chart with the colors flipped. Hats off to clear-headed knitters who can invert colors in their heads, but I needed a second chart. I’m using the white background one for the odd rows and the red background for the even. I hope these help other knitters. Now, as someone else mentioned about double knitting, take a deep yoga breath and get busy!
Feb. 23, 2012 update: Finished, unless I decide to add a crochet border as reinforcement. The side edges came out cleanly in color, although the slipped stitches look loose and wonky. I bound off by grafting / kitchenering the ends together, which avoids the crushed peppermint look but doesn’t provide structure. Maybe a normal bind off, doing a k2tog on each pair of stitches, would have been the better choice. Anyhoo, this has been a learning experience, and I hope my thrashings help you avoid similar convolutions!