I love handwarmers, wristlets, wristers, armwarmers, however you want to call them. That works out well, since my work (as a craniosacral therapist) and my knitting both tire out my forearms, so I consider them an essential fashion accessory. If my arms are sore, I’ll even wear my favorite pair to bed.
Last Christmas, the Huz’s dad gave me three colors of Rowan Cashsoft, which I used to make Fair Isle patterned wristwarmers. The library had Kaffe Fassett’s Pattern Library,
to my great joy, and I adapted the the Fair Isle from one of his
designs. The three-color stranded knitting proved easier than I had
expected, though using Kaffe’s method of short yarns made for a ton of
ends to weave in at the finish. That day came fast, though–barely a week after the holiday, I slipped my hand in for the first time. I’ve worn them so much since then that they’ve gotten fuzzy, and one sports a toothpaste stain from one night when I was too lazy to take them off while getting ready for sleep. The pattern itself I made up as I went along, combining the number of stitches to cast on from one book with the thumb gusset from another, with the adapted color work taken from KF.
So when Erika and I decided to write patterns for our inaugural Knit Zine, it seemed like the perfect pattern to work up for the knitters of the world; quick, stylish and adaptable. I started working one up in several colors of cotton, rewriting the pattern as a more-traditional two-color Fair Isle and knit with Valley Yarns’ Goshen, a Modal/Cotton/Silk blend. The knitting was trolloping along for about fourteen rows, until, with a sudden indrawn breath and feeling of panic, you know, that Where is my kid? feeling? I realized that I had no idea how to write about what I was doing. I’m a seat-of-the-pants knitter, and I just kind of adjust by eye. What about that jog to the right the stitches made every time I went around? How could I talk about it? What would people say when they tried to knit these garments and it came out all wrong?!
I panicked, and put away the cotton. Maybe lace wristwarmers were the way to go. Barbara Walker helped me pick out a lace rib, and I knit about four inches of the second pair before I started to count the stitches, which should have been about 46, and only came up with 36. Ten stitches short! Where did they all go? And the rib waved around, sometimes straight and sometimes spiraling. Maybe the lost stitches made them do that?
Yesterday, while lying in the cool basement with sick Li’l A and watching Strawberry Shortcake, I ripped it out.
But as I rewound my pink hand-dyed yarn, a phrase floated into my head. "Fair Isle Pattern will migrate one stitch to the right each row. Please use a stitch marker to show you the end of the row to keep in pattern."
Oh. I can pick up the needles and cotton again–back to writing the pattern for the Zine.