Shawl knitting offers a lot of fun choices for the knit designer. After some general conceptualizing, the first specific choice is always: hmmmm, what shape of shawl do I want that shows off my stitches or texture or color work the best? If the answer is an equilateral triangle shawl, there are a couple of ways to go about knitting it. One of them is to start at the neck and work downwards with 4 increases on every right side row, 1 at each outer edge and 1 on either side of a “spine” stitch (or panel). Recently I came across an under-utilized double increase stitch that is fast, easy and extremely neat. It’s called the Central Double Increase or CDI. Somehow, this easy increase is absent from several of my knitting pattern books so I thought I’d blog about it today, give some photos and finished examples.
Here it is against a patterned and mostly purled background. This shawl has been well-blocked.
Here’s another shawl in progress that is utilizing a CDI (not blocked yet).
Handsome and elegant, no? Let’s learn how to do it!
The CDI is going to take one stitch and work it into 3, for an addition of 2 stitches. The original stitch remains in the center with each new made stitch appearing on either side of it. To work a CDI, knit to the stitch that will be your center.
Step 1: In my little sample swatch pictured here, I have a row of 9 stitches going. I have knit 4 stitches and have stopped. Stitch 5 will be the central stitch of my CDI. But first I have made a forwards loop with my working yarn for the increase that appears before the central stitch. To do this: grab the working yarn with your left hand and fold a loop into it forwards or towards you. Place that loop onto your right needle as shown.
Cinch up your new stitch (yes, it really was that easy!) on your right needle with a comparable tension to all of your other stitches. This is the same stitch as above, just snugged in well.
Step 2: Knit the central stitch normally (not shown).
Step 3: Time for the second increase loop on the other side of the central stitch. This time I have made a backwards loop with my working yarn. To do this: grab the working yarn with your left hand and fold a loop into it towards the back. Place that loop onto your right needle as shown.
Cinch that new loop up similarly (not too tight) and Boom! You’re done! So easy, it’s downright magical, amiright?
This increase yields a nice raised column of knit stitches with new stitches coming off the sides. The increase loops (backwards and forwards) can also be worked independently of the CDI itself as well and make for a nice change from YO’s and M1R and M1Ls. Check them all out–you’ll be glad you did!