dusktreader knits

February 18, 2012

Pointers: Free Knitted Armwarmer Pattern

Filed under: Patterns — Tags: , , , , , — dusktreader @ 3:17 pm

Pointers ArmwarmersA trusty knitted armwarmer to keep your wrists warm on cold nights and point you in the right direction. The arrow design is shaped with minimal cabling, making this an easy introduction to twisted stitch cabling.

This pattern provides written instructions for the entire armwarmer, plus charted instructions for the arrow design.

Techniques: Knitting in the round on double pointed needles, cabling, binding off stitches mid-row, casting on stitches mid-row (cable cast-on suggested).

Yarn: Any solid dk weight yarn that provides good stitch definition will work. Yarns with a pronounced halo (like mohair) or novelty yarns will not showcase the arrow design as well. For the pictured project, I used one ball of Eco Sirdar (100% wool; 109 yards/100 m per 50 g ball).

Needles: 3.5 mm double-pointed needles (dpn) or size needed to obtain gauge, cable needle

Finished dimensions:
Length: 8 inches
Circumference 7 inches

Sizing: This pattern fits a medium-sized women’s hand with a bit of ease, or a large hand snugly. Suggestions are included for customizing  the size.

Download the free pdf: Pointers Knitted Armwarmers v1.0

Pattern page on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pointers

This pattern has been test-knitted. Feedback is welcome in the comments below, or at dusktreader.knits@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Pointers by Nicole Maunsell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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January 6, 2012

Bitten by the Design Bug Again

Filed under: Designing, Projects — Tags: , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 7:33 pm

Maybe you remember that when I started this blog, I was excited about designing my own knitting patterns. That was about two years ago, and I spent a few months reading about designing, sketching out ideas, playing with stitch combinations, and learning as much as I could. Then summer came and I let my designs-in-progress lapse. Last year at this time, I started having ideas again, but the urge wasn’t as strong, and then my knitting life got taken over by a mammoth project which I can now reveal was an afghan for my mom’s wedding present. Since I couldn’t blog about it (secrets!), and I was enthralled with the project (I have always wanted to make afghans), I stopped blogging and let my design ideas stew for awhile in the back of my head.

I finished the project in December, and  it was followed by a wave of enthusiasm for smaller projects. I finished the mittens I’d been working on for three years (on and off), made a hat in two days, and started a scarf. And then the ideas started flooding in again.

I have all sorts of ideas, and my main problem last time was picking one and focusing on it. Most of them don’t make it to the detailed sketch phase, where I plan every section. Sometimes I’d get stuck on one detail that wasn’t working right, or sometimes I’d try to swatch and find I’d made things too complicated for myself. I’d have multiple ideas for different things I could do within a project, and be unable to settle on one. This time, I am picking the most straightforward and developed idea that I have, and seeing it through from start (idea, sketch, swatch) to finish (pattern write-up, getting test-knitters, publication). I am going to tweak it until it is just the way I want it, I am going to make sure that other people can understand the pattern I’ve written, and then I am going to publish it as a free download.

And last night, after a few sketches, I managed to make a swatch that I’m pretty happy with:

A swatch of knitted fabric showing a cabled arrow pointing upwards.

It’s a cabled arrow pattern that I want to use as the main design element for a pair of wristwarmers. Fairly straightforward to do, but I searched the Ravelry pattern database and didn’t see anything like it. There’s still a few tweaks I’d like to make. For instance, at the points where three columns of knit stitches converge, I’d like to use a centred double decrease instead of the k3tog that I used here, so it looks more polished. I think I will make the shaft of the arrow a little bit longer by adding more rows. But it’s enough to get me started on knitting the first wristwarmer, which I was up late last night doing. I forced myself to stop so that I could try to get some sleep, but I was too buzzed to fall asleep right away. (What was that I said about knitting before bed again?) I was so happy that it came out the way I wanted I pictured it in my head. This feels like something that I can actually finish.
And when I finish, I have another idea all lined up that I’ve worked up a detailed sketch for. I am excited for that one too, but it’s a little more complicated.

January 12, 2011

Getting Comfy with Cables

Filed under: Notions — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 5:30 pm

Before this year, I think I did about three cable projects:

  • A scarf that was too short and that I never wear.
  • An owl hat that is too short and that I never wear. (I should try blocking it properly. Or make another one. Or, I could even rip out to before the decreases and make it longer. Maybe I should do that. It’s an awesome hat, I don’t even know what my problem is.)
  • The Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation. (I wish I had a digital photo of these. They were my first cable project.)

I had nothing against cables, I just found them slow and I didn’t really understand them. When I read left-leaning cable, I couldn’t figure out which way to hold the stitches to make it lean left. When I read C4B (cable four back) I couldn’t picture which direction it would cause the cable to lean.

Then I went on a cabling binge. I did some armwarmers and incorporated a pattern from the Vogue Cable Stitchionary. I did a cabled beret. And now I’m working on another cabled beret. And it finally clicked, and now I know that if I want to make a left-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the back of the work, and if I want a right-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the front. So now I can check against a photograph of what I’m knitting to make sure I’m going the right way, and it all makes sense, and I don’t have to constantly double check. Knitting cables goes a lot faster.

I also learned to knit without a cable needle. My learning process went like this:

  • 4 years ago: Look up how to cable without a needle. See that it means taking live stitches completely off the needle and just letting them hang there. Freak the heck out.
  • 1 month ago: (Having completely forgotten the above.) Decide I don’t feel like using a tedious cable needle. Wonder what could possibly go wrong if I just, you know, drop the stitches off and just, sort of, let them hang there while I knit the next few stitches, and then pick them back up. Experience moderate success, albeit having to fix a few unravelled stitches.
  • 1 week ago: Decide to look up proper instructions for how to cable without a needle , find out I’ve been doing it right, but that if I pinch the base of the dropped off stitches they don’t unravel. Experience great success, and much faster cable knitting.

I am much less afraid of fixing unravelled stitches than I used to be. And now I want to see if I can design my own cable patterns.

January 24, 2010

I haven’t biked since November but…

Filed under: Designing, Projects — Tags: , , , — dusktreader @ 2:55 pm

I finished another project this week, a balaclava for wearing while biking. (I’m kind of a wimp about biking while there’s snow and ice on the road, but I do bike in cold spring and fall weather sometimes.) It’s from the pattern Anti-Freeze, by Jenna Adorno.

Mask with helmet

I didn’t make any customizations other than substituting the yarn to whichever black worsted I had on hand. It’s a pretty briliant pattern: it’s knit from the bottom up, using short row shaping to create the face. Kind of like the short row heel of a sock, if the heel was the back of your head, the toes were your face, and the foot was upside down? You know, like that. I am going to have to explore short rows some more, because I think there’s more things that can be done with them.

In other news, I am working on a pair of cabled armwarmers for my cousin at her request. I picked a cable stitch pattern from the Vogue cable stitch dictionary, and am reminding myself how cables work. I especially like cable stitches featuring isolated columns of knit stiches on a reverse stockingette background, where the columns meander around and intertwine. I want to work on designing my own like that. I may end up making a cabled version in my scarf series next.

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