Monday, March 2, 2015

Knitting -- wrist warmers plus

A well-known clothing retailer sells a pair of high-tech wrist warmers for $20.
They're for people out running or working.
You need to keep your wrists warm inside; you can lower the temps in your house a couple of degrees and still feel warm if you keep your wrists warm.
In Victorian times, women used to knit or crochet something called muffetees for this purpose.

Let's knit some wrist warmers and learn to cable stitch at the same time.
Use waste yarn for this first set and then you can buy some yarn for a set you can wear in public.
100 yards of yarn ought to make you two wrist warmers.
You need double pointed needles the right gauge for your yarn.
If your yarn is worsted, get a set of at least 4 double-point needles in U.S. size 5 to 7.  (You already have these if you've been knitting socks.)
You also need cable needles.  They look like a double point needle with a camel back in the middle.
They often come in packs of three of three different sizes.

Now remember that the gauge on worsted yarn is going to be about 5 stitches per inch.
My wrists are 7 1/2 inches around; I need to cast on 36 stitches at least.
The number of stitches you cast on have to be divisible by 4.
Now move 1/4 of those stitches onto two of the other DP needles; I end up with 9, 9, and 18 on 3 DP needles.
Now use the 4th DP needle to knit the first stitch (it has the tail of the original slip knot), making sure that the chain of stitches is not twisted.
Now work k2/p2 rib to the end of the stitches on that DP needle.
Recycle the needle you just cleared off, using it to work rib with the stitches on the next needle, and so on.
When you have done at least 4 rounds of k2/p2 rib, knit one round.
When you get to the first stitch again, run TWO stitches onto the cable needle that is the right size for your yarn.  Usually the largest of the 3 is OK for worsted yarn.
Let the cable needle lie on your side of the knitting; this will give the cables a left-twist.
Knit the next 2 stitches (they were purled in the rib).
Now run the cable needle through the stitches that are on it so you can knit from the opposite end of the cable needle.
Knit the stitches from the cable needle back onto your DP needle.  You have just done your first twist.
Knit 4 stitches, then do another twist.
Knit around to the first twist.
Knit 4-5 rounds.
Do another twist round and make sure you are DIRECTLY above the twists that you did before.
Knit 4-5 rounds.
Do another twist round.
Knit one round.
Do at least 4 rounds of k2/p2 rib.
Bind off.

Do this all again and you have a pair of wrist warmers.  Put them on, pull the cuffs of your sweater or long-sleeved blouse over them, and see how much toastier your arms feel.

If you want to use cabling, there are a couple of things to remember.
1.  Do a knit row above your rib.
2.  Do a twist row above that.  This will keep the bottom of the cable stable.
3.  Plan your knit rounds so that you do one more twist before your shoulder seams, and a knit round above that.  Same reason as (2).
4.  Don't do more than six knit rounds between twists.  Otherwise the cable sort of seems to unravel.

You can find patterns online and in books that do fantastic things with cables, such as interlace them or create nests for bobbles. 
Cable is a neat thing to learn because it is crucial to those beautiful aran and fisherman sweater patterns from the British Isles.
You can also put cables on your hand-knit socks, with or without intervening ribs.

Try it.  Work slowly and patiently so you don't drop the cable stitches.  Then get adventurous.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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