Tips for Efficient Double Knitting

I’m certainly no Lucy Neatby, but here is my first attempt at seeing if I can make and post a video tutorial. I hope I’ll improve my production quality as I go on, but at least if you REALLY want to learn how to double knit faster – as I so desperately did and found nothing – this might just do the trick.

By the way, the featured work in progress is from a Lucy Neatby pattern – Pinstripe Mittens.


The Banded Expanded Heel Turn – Part 4


Wedge 2 is the reverse of Wedge 1. Start working in rows again.

Knit to the first increase marker you come to. Turn, slip and purl back to the opposite increase marker. Turn.

Now you will work longer and longer short rows, each time working two stitches beyond the previous turning point.  On each row, you will need to work each slipped stitch together with the stitch below it as you come to it. This means that you will need to do a purlside “Thanks, Ma!” stitch on the purl rows as follows:

When you come to a slipped stitch, slip it temporarily (purlwise) onto the right hand needle. Use the left needle tip to raise the lower stitch up onto the right needle, with its right leg forward. (Again, in a normal stitch mount.) Place both of these stitches back on the left needle, still mounted normally, and purl them together.

When Wedge 2 is about half an inch deep at the back of the heel, you can begin decreasing the extra stitches away. This is another perfect fit opportunity. If your leg circumference is larger or smaller than your foot circumference, you can decrease more or fewer stitches than you originally increased, to arrive at just the size you need.

  • If you decide to decrease off the same number of stitches, you should try to start decreasing about the same distance from the band as the increases stopped.  If in doubt, wait to start decreasing.
  • If you will be decreasing off fewer stitches, you can wait until Wedge 2 is deeper.
  • If you want to decrease more, don’t start decreasing before you have worked at least half an inch, but continue decreasing for longer, until you have the right number of stitches.  If you still have more stitches to decrease once you begin working in rounds, you can also decide to decrease in a more gradual fashion, say every third round or every fourth round, for a gentler curve. It’s entirely your decision!

So, continue working short rows that grow 2 stitches longer, decreasing one stitch before and after the marked-off center heel stitches on each right side row.  Whenever you have the right total number of stitches, stop decreasing. Whenever you reach the point where you turn from the wrong side to the right side at the place where you marked the start of the instep stitches, begin working in rounds again.

Work an inch or so of plain stockinette rounds if you are working toe-up, before beginning your leg and cuff pattern. Finish sock as desired.

If you are knitting top-down, continue in stockinette to complete the foot and toe as desired.

socks 0731

The Banded Expanded Heel Turn – Part 3


Note:  As you work the band, leave all your markers in place. You’ll need them later.

You have completed Wedge 1 and you are ready to work in the round on the right side.  Make note of how the stitches clump together in pairs.  The stitch closest to the back of the heel in each pair is a normal stitch.  Its partner is a stitch you slipped after turning. Knit up to the first slipped stitch. You will now knit that stitch together with the stitch below it. The easiest way to do this is to use your right needle tip to raise the lower stitch onto the left needle, with the right leg forward.  (In other words, in a normal stitch mount.) Then knit those two stitches together.  Continue all the way around in this fashion, knitting each slipped stitch together with the stitch below. (This is the “Thanks, Ma!” stitch in Cat Bordhi’s terminology.)

Now continue working rounds of stockinette until the band is the width you desire, somewhere between half an inch and one inch. If you can try on the sock, you want the band to nestle nicely right into the bend at the top of your foot. No need to overthink it.  You should stop at the center back of the heel.

Easy-peasy! Ready for another wedge?

The Banded Expanded Heel Turn – Part 2

You have worked your sock – either toe-up or top-down – until you have reached the point where your ankle just starts to bend at the top of your foot.  You have figured out how many stitches you will need to go around your heel comfortably.  Now let’s knit a heel turn!

(Customization note: If you have a lot of stitches to increase, you may want to start the heel increases up to an inch BEFORE you get to this point to make a more gradual transition.  Jump ahead to see where to mark for the increases, and start working them in pairs gradually, say every third round or every 4th round.  When you reach the heel turn point, start working them every other row as described below.)

The Banded Expanded Short Row Heel consists of three distinct sections: Wedge 1, The Band, and Wedge 2. Work the sections in this order regardless of whether you are working toe-up or top-down.

sock heel 1

  • The instructions are given for a stockinette heel. If you are working in another pattern stitch, substitute your own pattern stitches wherever these instructions say to knit or purl.
  • I follow Cat Bordhi’s method of handling short rows in  Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Socks by turning, slipping the first stitch, and subsequently working a “Thanks, Ma!” stitch on the way back. Any short row method will work as well, including wrap-and-turn followed by working the wrap together with the stitch.
  • Use markers as you see fit throughout.


You will now begin working in rows.

Beginning at the center back of the heel, knit one third of your total stitches. (If you began your increases early, this will be one third of your original number of stitches, plus any increases you have worked.) Turn.

Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front.  Purl back on those stitches, then continue to purl the next one third of your total stitches, still with wrong side facing.  One third of your total stitches will remain unworked at the front of the sock.

Turn. Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in back. Counting this stitch, knit until you have worked an even number of stitches and are a generous half inch from the center back.  Increase one stitch. Place marker.  Continue working, placing another marker the same distance from the center back.  Increase one stitch and knit until you are two stitches from the place you turned previously. Turn, slip the first stitch as before, and purl back, stopping two stitches before you turned previously.

Continue in this way, increasing before and after the marked off center heel section on each right side row, until the total number of stitches (including the ones held for the front) equals the number of stitches you need for your heel band.

Now continue to work short rows without increasing, stopping and turning two stitches shorter each time and slipping all first stitches, until you find yourself turning to the right side at the same point as your increase marker. Knit to the center back of heel. You are ready to work The Band.

Boston’s Windsor Button to Close

One day about six months after I lost my husband, I found myself heading to Downtown Crossing to interview for a job after a couple of decades as a  mother and homemaker. Not being used to taking the T I allowed more than enough time before my appointment, so I started to wander around the vicinity.  The first store I came to on the street was Windsor Button!  I took it as a sign that this job was meant to be.

I was hired, and often after I would dash over for mental health breaks to pet the yarn.  Many a beautiful skein that might never have had occasion to tempt me successfully pleaded to come home with me. Eventually I came to teach the knitting and crochet classes there, which I have enjoyed tremendously, and also to write for their e-mail newsletter.

But nothing lasts forever.  Thanks Susan and Stan for giving me a creative home and voice for the past few years! Thanks for all the beautiful products you have made available, and all the beautiful projects you have made possible. All the best to you in the future.

I am hoping that many of those who have taken my classes are finding their way over to this blog.  Welcome!  I’d like to keep in touch! I don’t know what might be possible for me next, but I do know that I want to continue to teach somehow.

(And also to keep that job!)

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