Sunday, 28 January 2018

More knitting

One unexpected joy of last week's London trip was that the weather was so mild down there that I didn't need to wear gloves! This might not sound worth getting excited about, but it is for me. I suffer from Reynaud's, so spend large chunks of the winter with my fingers turning an unappealing blueish white at the slightest opportunity.

I've got some very thick gloves for outdoors, but I can have problems indoors as well. A work colleague mentioned that his wife had found wearing wrist warmers helpful, so this seemed like a good excuse for another knitting project.

The basic pattern for my scarf had come from this book.

'Knitty Gritty' by Aneeta Patel

I can't remember who recommended it to me, but I really like it; very straightforward to follow, and clearly illustrated. My only minor quibble is that in order to provide quick and easy projects for beginners, the author has (quite reasonably) included a lot of projects for babies and small children, neither of which feature in my world. There is however a pattern for wrist warmers.

I stuck with variegated yarn for this project as I like the effect, but this time used double knitting. Because I'm a knitting newbie, and my tension can still kindly be described as 'variable', I decided that it would be best to knit both wrist warmers simultaneously. Years ago I made an embroidery which included two birds with 'feathers' of woven picots, and it was very noticeable how much better the second bird turned out - I wasn't going to make that mistake again! So armed with a yardstick I set about splitting the ball of wool into two equally-sized smaller balls.

The design includes a pattern of eyelets made by bringing the yarn forward. I had never come across this before and really couldn't imagine how it would work, but gave it a go anyway - and it worked! I was amazed. Purely by accident, the variegated yarn produced wrist warmers which are almost the colour opposite of each other; I really like the effect. I forgot to take any 'in progress' pictures, but here's the end result. As you can see, there's quite a lot of yarn left over.

Completed but not sewn up

The finished pieces are so curled up in the above picture that the completed result doesn't look much different. Making up consists simply of sewing the sides together, and the adding a stitch at the top to make the thumb opening.

The finished article

The end result is quite long on me. I'm glad I took the author's advice to cast on using larger needles; even so they are a bit snug at the bottom (arm end).

Very long wrist warmers

They are also undeniably toasty, and I can see them getting a lot of use.

Better view of the eyelet pattern

Of course now I want to Knit All The Things. It's a long way off, but ultimately I want to be able to knit jumpers and cardigans. When I'm dressmaking, I have to shorten bodices by a couple of inches, and it's always annoyed me that I can't get knitwear to fit me. There is of course American Duchess's fabulous method of jumper shortening, but it would be nice to have some items which are naturally the right length, ideally in suitably vintage styles as well.

And it may just be possible! A browse in my local Oxfam bookshop turned up this.

Vintage knitting patterns in multiple sizes

And there's more. No London trip would be complete for me without a visit to Skoob in Bloomsbury, quite possibly my favourite second-hand bookshop ever. (It took me years to notice that 'Skoob' is 'books' backwards - Mr Tulip despaired!) A lot of my college books have come from there, and last week I found this.

Even more vintage knitting patterns!

So all in all, I'm not short of inspiration.


  1. I adore wrist warmers. (They also can double as leg warmers for my girls, so double win). I just knit a small rectangle and sew them up. I've tried making them bigger at one end, and the result was okay, but I ultimately wear my plain tube style ones more often. They are also a great way to try out a pattern, since the scale is so small.

    The Knit Vintage book is nice, but everything is on small gauge yarn. I tend to work in worsted or DK, so I didn't find a lot for me.

    1. I love your idea of making wrist warmers to try out a pattern. Because it's all new to me I'm acquiring little knitted samples as I try things out - it would be great to actually make them into something useful!

  2. Love the wrist warmers - especially the eyelets. They are a nice way of doing knitted darts. And I'm glad you're still knitting!

    1. Thank you Kate. The two books of vintage patterns using modern yarns reminded me of your lovely knitting poem!

    2. Thanks! I had a thought about dividing yarn into two equal amounts. If you've got accurate, digital kitchen scales - weigh the whole ball, (or whole amount of course); divide by two then wind off a smaller ball until it weighs half. It's a bit easier than measuring length - but not very easy to describe.

    3. Thanks for the tip Kate. I have really old, analogue kitchen scales, but have been thinking about replacing them - this is another good reason!

  3. They look fab! Wrist warmers are such a great thing to practice on too, I made a few when trying to learn crocheting. And thank you for telling us about Skoob, I'd never heard of them but will definitely try and visit the next time I'm in London. I love second-hand bookshops. xx