So. Quite a while back, I learned how to hand-spin using the drop spindle that my wife made me out of a cupboard-door-pull, a bent nail, and a bit of skinny doweling. It works quite well, fyi. There’s a reason you can make these things out of tinker toy.
Anyway. One of the fibres I’ve been spinning is corriedale. I went with this partially because it’s the least expensive fibre available at my local fibre-geeks shop, but also because it came in (among many other things) a lovely dark wine/berry colour that happens to be something I can wear.
So I spun a heap of that, all the while wondering what I would make from the stuff once I’d spun all the roving I’d bought. (For reference, I’ve used about 2/3 of the stuff as of now). I mean, yes, I know there are a zillion suggestions up on Ravelry for what to do with a small amount of slightly lumpy single-ply probably-worsted-weight yarn.
I’ve even used some of them.
But, this being me, I’m more likely to just futz around with something until I turn it into something useable (see: my method of cooking, for reference).
So where is this going?
It’s going to my attendance at a clothing swap, just shy of two months ago, where-at I was able to pick up a totally adorable 3/4-sleeve (on me…) funfur coat in, oh hey a lovely dark wine/berry colour. That just happens to match the yarn I’ve been hand-spinning for ages.
See, I live in a climate where winter is, for the most part, Serious Business. But we do get occasional weird-ass thaws, like the one that’s happening as we speak. The temperature is hovering around freezing (a week ago it was -28C not counting the wind chill, so…) and it’s safe for me to wear my totally adorable funfur coat out and about. BUT! It’s still not bare arms weather, which means: arm-warmers!
Yeah, I know. Who’s never made arm-warmers?
But I only just got the hang of making them using circular needles, so I’m feeling rather chuffed about the whole thing. I made myself a pair of elbow-length arm warmers to go with a specific piece of clothing. And they look good!
Something I’ve learned, though, is that when knitting with hand-spun (or at least with yarn that I’ve handspun…) there may need to be an extra row here or there to make up for the variations in yarn thickness. My second one is just a tiny bit (maybe 5mm?) shorter than my first one.
Still! They do what they’re supposed to do and look like they’re supposed to look, and I managed not to drop any stitches, so I’m happy!
If I were to do this pattern again with a similarly weighted (or “gaged”, I suppose) yarn, I would probably make some changes.
But let’s take a look.
Original Pattern for Opera-Length Arm-Warmers (for a very tall woman)
1) Cast 40 stitches onto a set of 4mm (or so) circular needles sized for making socks and baby-hats and similar.
2) Knit back-and-forth two rows
3) Knit in-the-round five rows (pattern continues in-the-round unless otherwise specified)
4) Knit two, Pearl two, for seven rows
5) Reduce (one row of stitches only) using the following stitche pattern: [Knit two, pearl-two-together, pearl one] –> You should now have thirty stitches on your needles
6) Knit two, Pearl two, for 14 rows
7) Knit (everything) for 50 rows
8) Knit back-and-forth (to make the hole for the thumb) for 24 rows
9) Knit in-the-round 10 rows
10) Cast off, keeping stitches fairly loose
If I were to do this pattern again, I would change steps 3, 4, and 5 as follows:
3) Knit in-the-round 16-20 rows, depending on how far over your elbow you want the arm-warmers to extend (NOTE: must be an even number of rows or the rest of the pattern won’t look right)
4) THERE IS NO FOUR
5) Reduce (one row of stitches only) using the following stitche pattern: [Knit one, knit-two-together, pearl two] –> You should now have thirty stitches on your needles
So there you have it. The original pattern makes a very fitted pair of 16″ arm-warmers that can be worn with or without thin gloves underneath. With the above changes, the arm-warmers will be 17″-18″ in length. If you’re a tall or long-limbed individual, these should run from right around where your palm meets your fingers to just above your elbows. There’s lots of space (in those fifty rows of knited stiches) to modify these for either length (remove – or add! – extra rows) and pattern, for example if you find the knitting-for-ever stuff to be insufficiently challenging, you could add a really spiffy cable pattern along one side to fancy it up a bit.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.