Colourblock Wristwarmers

Just a quickie left-overs project…

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Since I knitted my 3 colour cowl with left-over yarn from a jumper, I’ve become quite enamoured with the idea of knitting matching accessories. This time, I’ve rather smugly combined left over 4 ply from my Funchal Moebius and my fairly boring, but much worn, grey rib hat, to knit Purl Soho’s Colorblock Armwarmers.

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And now I’m all set for winter with a set of complementary-but-not-too-matchy, hat, scarf and gloves! This was honestly the simplest wristwarmer pattern in the world. No shaping, no complicated thumb, and easily customisable. They only took me a few days to knit.

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I made a couple of minor changes – I put 2 inches of 2×2 rib at the bottom, and 1 inch at the top, because I thought it would look better. I also knitted each glove entirely on 3mm needles (can’t be bothered to get a whole new set of needles just to knit a few rows of rib).

I made two attempts to stray from the pattern and knit a proper thumb using some hodge podge short-rows. It was an interesting experiment, but although my knitted thumbs were technically functional, they looked awful and had to go. In the end, four rows of plan old rib did the job just fine.

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Isn’t it funny how sometimes the smallest, least considered projects can bring the most satisfaction? I bloody love these things, they tick all my completist, perfectionist boxes – useful (I really needed gloves!), resourceful (100% left-over yarn that needed using!) and pleasing to look at (there’s something very satisfying about colour blocking).

I’m already carrying them in my bag ‘just in case it gets cold’….

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A Quick and Dirty Sweater Cuff Repair

There’s a window of time between October and February when my ‘Owls’ jumper is the only thing in my wardrobe that is guaranteed to keep me warm. It’s by no means my best knitting (some very visible, very dodgey short-rows) and after five years, it’s bobbely and stretched out at the elbows, but I still dig it out every year without fail.

So, when I pulled it on for the first time last autumn, I was devastated to find one of the cuffs had split and started to unravel at the cast-on edge.

I was at a loss about how to fix it, since a straightforward darn wasn’t going to work, and the sleeves were knitted from the cuff up, so I couldn’t easily unravel the broken edge and re-knit it.

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I picked my colleague’s brain about it, and we decided that the only solution would be to cut the whole cuff off and re-knit it from the sleeve down. Terrifying, but do-able!

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First, I put a safety line in by threading contrast coloured yarn through every stitch around my sleeve, a row below the beginning of my cuff.

I then took a deep breath and cut away the cuff a couple of rows above my safety line (I was wary of accidentally cutting through my safety line stitches and losing them).

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I then put the saved stitches on double pointed needles and ‘tinked’ back one round so I would have a long enough tail to join to my new ball of yarn (I had yarn left over from knitting this jumper, but I could have re-used the yarn from the old cut-off cuff)

Since I didn’t know where my original round started when I first knitted the sleeve, and I would be knitting in the opposite direction to the original (down the sleeve, rather than up the sleeve), I made sure I started my round on the side of the sleeve facing down when I wear it, so the ‘jog’ in the pattern wouldn’t be so obvious.

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I then re-knitted the cuff following the original pattern. My tension was very different to the original (despite using the same needles and yarn…) so I found I needed fewer rows to get it to the same length as the other cuff.

After a bit of blocking, you can hardly tell the difference between the new and the original (New cuff on the left, original cuff on the right), and my jumper is ready for the next cold winter!

Funchal Moebius: Work in Progress

Hi Readers, it’s been a while has it not? I’ve been working on a slow and (literally) lengthy fairisle project which I started back in September.

I’d been mulling over fairisle patterns for a while, and decided on Kate Davies’ amazing ‘Funchal Moebius’ because it only has two colours and would be forgiving of any beginner tension issues.
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I also wanted to (gulp..) use up the Ochre Malabrigo Sock that I salvaged from my machine knitted t-shirt. I hate admitting defeat, but I wasn’t wearing it, and frankly, it was too small. I combined it with more Malabrigo Sock in ‘Natural’. As someone who doesn’t really ‘do’ bold patterns, I really like how the Ochre shows a defined pattern against the white, without it being too stark.

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It’s slowly growing, but I’m not quite there yet. I’ve knitted about 11 of the recommended 14 repeats, and it’s shorter than it should be and also quite a bit narrower (judging from the pattern photos). I’m trying to keep it all super loose, but clearly my gauge is still pretty small. Hey, that’s why I chose a scarf and not a jumper for my first fairisle project… I think I’ll need at least 16 repeats altogether to get it to the right length.

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I’ve heard (and seen…) a few fairisle puckering horror stories and  was initially quite worried about the uneven texture of my knitting, but it really settled down after a quick steam with the iron. I’m optimistic that a good wet-block will even everything out when it’s finally finished (oh the miraculous wonder of blocking)

The first repeat of the pattern was quite the learning curve. The provisional cast-on took me at least 5 attempts to get right and looks a bit…rough. I also blundered in without properly familiarising myself with the colour work basics (“I tried it once 5 years ago, I totally know what I’m doing!”). My stranding was all over the place in the first couple of rounds, and it took a bit of experimentation to get the colour dominance right. I eventually found that it worked best with white carried as the dominant colour throughout (you can clearly see the ‘experimentation zone’ in the first row of diamonds below).

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I had rather optimistically hoped that this cowl would be finished by Christmas, but it looks like it’ll be one for next winter. Only 5 more repeats to go!