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Condo Knitting 101: Knitting with Two Different Size Needles

Also called odd pins knitting, this retro style of knitting will give an almost lace-like feel to your knits!

Updated September 05, 2018
Condo Knitting with Two Different Size Needles

If you've been a knitter since the 70s and 80s, then you might remember when condo knitting was in its heyday. This retro knitting style is a really simple way to "hack" the garter stitch to get a more lace-like appearance.

And as with all things retro and old-fashioned, it's bound to make a comeback!

Whether you're knitting scarves for gifts or you're just getting tired of doing the same old stitches over and over again, give condo knitting a try. It's easy, stylish, and fun!

Condo Knitting

So What Is Condo Knitting?

Condo knitting is simply knitting with one needle that is the right size for the yarn that you are working with and one needle that's larger. Because of the different needle sizes, you get an easy-to-make fabric that almost feels like lace.

The larger needle creates gaps in the knitting that make the fabric more breathable but still warm and cozy. The smaller needle, on the other hand, creates the tighter rows in between that give the fabric a sort of structure. It's basically like knitting lace that doesn't droop as much and is way easier. Plus, the extra space in the alternating rows gives condo knitted fabric a certain stretchiness.

Watch and Learn

What You Will Need

  1. Any weight yarn
  2. One needle appropriate for the yarn's weight
  3. One needle larger than appropriate for the yarn's weight

How to Condo Knit

Step 1: Using any cast on method, cast on any number of stitches onto the smaller needle.

You can cast on with either needle, but we recommend using the smaller needle in order to get stronger, more secure edging.

Step 2: Using the larger needle, knit across, off the smaller needle.

Step 3: Turn your work and knit across, off the larger needle.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your project is complete. Bind off.

Note: We recommend binding off with the smaller needle, although it's not necessary. Using the smaller needle will give you a tighter edge, but your best choice is probably to bind off with whichever needle you used to cast on.

There are certain patterns out there that are specifically made for condo knitting, but you can also convert pretty much any pattern for this. Just bear in mind that the size of the finished product will be noticeably larger than what the pattern describes because of the extra space in the rows that are knit with the larger needle.

Condo Knitting in the Round

If you're more of a fan of knitting in the round and don't feel like picking up the straight knitting needles for this one, condo knitting will be a little bit more complicated.

Circular Knitting Needles

You can accomplish knitting in the round condo-style with either two differently-sized sets of circular knitting needles (of the same length) or a set of interchangeable knitting needles. Below are the instructions for knitting a garter stitch tube condo-style in the round. You may cast on whatever number of stitches you would like for your pattern or practice.

Round 1: Using smaller needles, k around.
Round 2: Switch to larger needles (or exchange your smaller needle tips for larger ones if using interchangeable needles). P around.
Round 3: Switch to smaller needles (or exchange your larger needle tips for smaller ones if using interchangeable needles). K around.

Rep rounds 2 and 3.

Double-Pointed Knitting Needles

The same concept applies here: you need one set of four or more smaller DPNs, and one set of four or more larger DPNs. Below are the instructions for knitting a garter stitch tube condo-style in the round. You may cast on whatever number of stitches you would like for your pattern or practice.

Round 1: Using your smaller set of DPNs, K around.
Round 2: Switch to larger set of DPNs. P around.
Round 3: Switch to smaller set of DPNs. K around.

Rep rounds 2 and 3.

Make sure that when you move on to the second needle in round 2, you're putting to the side the smaller needle that you just knit off of, rather than simply using it to purl the next needle. You must use the second of your larger needles to knit off the second smaller needle and set aside all of the used smaller needles for the third round. If all of your DPNs are the same color, this can get a bit complicated (especially with mindless knitting), so we highly recommend that your first set of DPNs be a very different color than your second set to help you keep track.

Have you tried condo knitting before?
Give us your tips and tricks on this retro knitting style in the comments below!

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It seems like the larger needle is 2 or 3 times the size of the smaller one right?

Hi yurangel4 0314800, it's up to you! The smaller needle should be the needle size that's appropriate for the yarn that you're using, and the bigger needle can be as big as you want! The bigger the needle is, the bigger the hoops will be in the fabric. Hope this helps! -Editors of AllFreeKnitting

How many sizes up do you recommend the larger needle?

Hi kathyobrien49 3122 552, it's up to you! The smaller needle should be the needle size that's appropriate for the yarn that you're using, and the bigger needle can be as big as you want! The bigger the needle is, the bigger the hoops will be in the fabric. Hope this helps! -Editors of AllFreeKnitting

I'm curious if anyone has used this method with any other stitch than garter?

I have, this was a "thing" in the '80's, I did sweaters with it and I remember doing vests for all the kids with it. You could probably still find patterns for it but they would be considered vintage by now.

This is such a unique look! I've never heard of or tried this before, but I definitely want to, now!

How neat! I'd never heard of this before, but it seems easy enough to do. I'll have to try this out )

I've used this before without knowing that is what it was called. I took Lion Brand shawl in a bawl--which I think is a size 3 (not 4 as advertised). Since it was thinner than expected, I used this condo technique or a lacy shawl for my mom. She loves it.

I never knew this had a name. I had done this technique before because it adds a different look for the pattern. This is great for beginners with scarves. The result will be a scarf that looks anything but ordinary. So now I have a name for this technique. Maybe I will make a scarf for my friend who lives in a condo and tell her I made a "condo knit" scarf. LOL

I remember knitting this way mainly with cotton so did not stretch xx

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