I was swatching something with stranded/two-color knitting the other day and I felt, well there is no other words that can describe how I felt except very bad ass. knitting with two hands is intimidating, scarey even. The mere thought of it is enough to make a person avoid anything with two colors on 1 row. But the truth is its really easy, its EXACTLY like riding a bike. Give yourself 10 minutes to half an hour and it’s set in your brain and your good to go. The best way to learn is to knit a hat, probably a kids hat and on circular needles. Find a small circular, a 16″ and cast on enough stitches that you know you won’t have to be pulling and tugging to get around in a circle. This wound up with a hat that fit my head (sorry I can’t show it because its got some book stuff integrated into it).
This is why I can’t knit around the kids, trouble always brewing with two little ones around the house.
So you take that 16″ circular, and pop on enough stitches to easily make a round without them getting tight and make sure you have two colors. Then you do a k1p1 rib, and you do the knits in color A and the purls in color B. Just go on around, keep one yarn in your left hand and one in your right and don’t change them. Go around, the first 3 rounds will make you miserable, you will want to quit. Go get some coffee, maybe some cake. put on a movie you love, pick the knitting back up and go at it AGAIN. Soon you will have about 1.5″ of knitting in a pretty fair-isle looking rib for the hat and you’ll realize you are “just doing it” just like riding a bike. “Hey wow look mom I’m doing it!” and you will seriously feel bad ass. You will want to show everyone how you are knitting with two hands. It’s truly that “easy” but as one of my favorite quotes goes “The beginning is the hardest part”.
I tried once, with two hands. I tried for about 2 minutes (to be fair it felt like 60 seconds but I think it was longer) this was several years ago, I gave up on it and knit with two colors a few times but never enjoyed it, it felt slow. Then I attended the Meg Swansen class at Vogue Knitting Live and my knitting life was forever changed. I forced myself, straight up FORCED myself and while I enjoyed listening to all the fun stories Meg had to tell. I got lost in those stories and knitting tips and before I knew it, I looked down and had created something very cool.
So once you complete the fun but mindless knitting you can google fair-isle charts and pick out one you like and make it work with your hat, or knit plain for a while and then have a band of fair-isle around the middle and then switch back to a plain color to pop in some decreases. It’s really hard to mess it up. if you knit until you think you need about 1 inch more height around the top, k2tog all the way around, knit a round, then repeat these two rounds until you have less then 10 stitches at which point you can just darn the end through the remaining stitches and viola, you have a hat, and you are now a bad ass knitter. I dare you to try it!
Or if you have the cash, pop on over to the Los Angeles Vogue Knitting Live, if meg teaches again in NYC early next year and you get online right when registration opens you can catch her class! It sells out fast but if you are determined you can get it!