Octopi continued

Ok before anyone points it out I did look up octopi and made sure it was indeed a word. There is a whole lot of info out there in google land about whether it is octopi, octopuses or octopodes. And I think the last word on this subject was best stated Kory Stamper. I think I am going to continue to use octopi because it tickles me to say octopi.

Octopi are rather interesting creatures – they have 8 legs –well that is kind of obvious otherwise it would be a sextapus or a hextapus or well… you get the idea. Both the male and the female die in the process of having young – males die a few months after mating and the female dies shortly after the eggs hatch. Octopi have 3 hearts. They are very intelligent and can use tools. I didn’t see any that wore mittens like my octopus however they will take coconut shells or seashells to use as a shelter so it is entirely possible that octopi might wear mittens if they happened to find them in the ocean.

take a gander at this gorgeous octopus it would be fun to knit one that looks like this.or maybe this one. The way I always picture an octopus is the giant one  in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. But when I googled that I found that it was a giant squid not an octopus – oh well it was a long time ago.

well that is neither here nor there this post is supposed to be about double knitting. the only thing octopi have to do with double knitting is that I set up an octopi to take photos of my double arm knitting. After all what could be better than having 8 legs to practice on……ok I have to answer myself cause its obvious that 16 legs are even better when you are crazy like me.

so here is a picture of my octopi, one almost finished  and one just started.

now I made the arms on my first octopus the same way that I made the arms and legs of my monkey — using double knitting. For the monkey I picked up stitches and cast on to start double knitting instead of using the afterthought technique I use in the octopi. You can see me working on size #1 dp needles here and you could imagine how awkward it would be to juggle 8 itty, bitty sts on 4 dp needles to knit these arms. So that is why I choose to double knit the appendages. It really isn’t any harder than knitting a 1×1 rib st and once you learn how to double knit you will find all kinds of useful ways to sneak this into your knits. you can double knit a stockinette scarf that says flat instead of  the edges curling up. Or you can knit patterns into a reversible  hat like on the blog of extreme knitter Alasdair Post-Quinn.These patterns are seriously gorgeous and I bought the book before it was out cause his knitting truly boggles the mind.

But back to monkey business– the double knitting on these is just the run of the mill- starting out- double knitting. Using straight needles to create a two sided material- there is no right or wrong side when you look at it.

So lets go to the octopi I had in the last post to show how this is done.

First up is picking out that afterthought scrap of yarn that was knit into the head/base of the octopus. As you pick out the yarn.. put the sts on two needles to hold them.I think you can see in this picture how easily this  scrap yarn is unraveled out of the knitting and how easy it is to pick up the loops and put them on your needles. There I have 6 on the bottom needle and 6 on the top needle. The next step is transferring all 12 sts to one needle. To do this I first take a st from the top needle and then one from the bottom……and keep doing this until all the sts are on one needleOk this picture shows it a little  better the top is actually on the top and the bottom is on the bottom . there are 6 stitches on the needle closest to my hand and 3 sts on the top needle and 3 on the bottom needle.

Once all the sts are on one needle you are ready to start knitting.

 First up– knit the 1st st on the needle…… …..then put the yarn in front as if you are going to purl the 2nd st but instead of purling– slip the st and return the yarn to the back. Then you knit the 3rd st and pslip the 4th st. You continue across the row k1,pslip until you have worked all 12 sts. *my mom would be horrified at these pictures and the only excuse I have for my nails looking like this is working in my garden and walnut stains from the current dye project. so now that you have worked all 12 sts just turn the work like you would if you were working on straight needles and………….start all over again. Knit the first st on the needle then pslip the second st. Because there is an even number of sts here -the first st will always be a knit st and the second a pslip1. Basically in double knitting each row alternates and you knit the sts you had slip purled on the previous row. And it is pretty easy to see on this sample because I changed to a darker blue when I started the legs – the sts I slip purled and didn’t work are a light blue and the ones that I knit are dark blue.  If you are knitting along with me and start to get the rhythm of the row going –it might feel real familiar.  This isn’t much different than a 1×1 rib except that you slip all the purls on each row. When I reach the end of the second row all my sts are dark blue. Now you just continue knitting each row this way. Written out it would look like this.


or the short version would be

k1,pslip1  6X

after knitting 12 rows the leg looks like this and if everything is going right…you can pinch or pull apart the 2 sides and feel that it has formed a tube. If you can’t do this it means that you have knit a st that you should have slipped purlwise. That is ok just keep practicing and you will get it.

So that is probable as clear as mud– but believe me it is a whole lot easier to knit this than to explain it. Like most directions once you have stitches on your needles in your hands it becomes clear as you work. So just cast on and give it a try.I changed back to the lighter blue color and you can see I am knitting every other st and slipping the other st with the yarn in front like I am going to purl.right about now you may be thinking big deal why would I want to learn this silly parlor trick. But believe me– it is a pain in the butt to manage just a few sts on 4 dp needles.Sure you could be stubborn and say “I will work on 2 needles to avoid having too few sts on the needle and having the needles flop around awkwardly as I struggle to knit”. you could do that — but then you wouldn’t learn to double knit and it is fun to have a new trick up your sleeve. You could always go on to double knit a pair of socks the way the nanny, Anna Makarovna in War and Peace did. She would knit the socks and when she finished she would gather the children around her as she pulled one sock out of the other like a magic trick to astonish them. You would never again suffer from second sock syndrome. Well it isn’t a sock but look I could use this trick for the fingers on a glove.

So just keep knitting until you have an arm that you think is long enough for an octopus and the next installment will be a mitten for the end of the arm.



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