There’s something grounding about wearing even the smallest garment made with my own hands. Knowing how it was made! Where it came from. Connecting with a long history of people making what they need, and a simpler, slower life. Little steps into traditional skills make me courageous and deeply curious about making more and more of the things I wear and use. Here’s one of my small studies that you can take up, short sweet wrist-length handwarmers in springtime colours.
I love handwarmers for all the things you can do while cosily wearing them. I’ve begun making some photographs on the subject.
What do you think? Could you make a pair of cabley fingerless gloves? I learn best by looking over someone’s shoulder, so that’s how I made the tutorial movies. (Watch them in the schoolhouse, in the lefthand column.)
Handwarmers do add a bit of elegance to tapping away on the keyboard. I’m very happy when I get a chance to rattle away on the typewriter, the old technologies give such satisfaction.
This heather grey is the original shade you see me working with in the movies.
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Curiously, of all the nine movies in the “Cabled Handwarmers” set, “Knitting the Gusset” is by far the most watched. I’m guessing that this follows from many knitters searching for a good explanation – and this is where learning from a video online is just so full of potential. All those household studies we might have grown up with in another era, now as a short movie. The thumb gusset is a basic problem, simply solved, best watched over someone’s shoulder rather than explained or diagrammed. Would you like to see how I like to knit it?
That’s how it’s done. Work along with the movies in the old schoolhouse (see the column to your left), to make the knitting projects in the appleturnovershop. The patterns are easily downloaded and printed, if you’ve got your own yarn and needles.
Well, I wonder if you’ve ever worn a cabled sweater and marvelled at the twisting pattern, and if you might like to see how they’re made? Or, better yet, you’d like to try it yourself!
This movie is a tutorial for both the Cabled Handwarmers and Cabled Mittens projects. It’s also got a very favourite song in it, which we realised is also in a movie we love, Beginners. Fitting, then, as I adore cable-knitting. Learning how to cable-knit is one of those pleasingly simple techniques, like plaiting hair or weaving homespun yarn, which gives a surprisingly satisfying result that looks more complex than the process truly is. It captures the eye like a good melody captures the ear. I hope you enjoy the little movie. Watch them all in the old schoolhouse (to your left) and mail-order your materials from the shop.
Each of the projects in The Knitting Series are made in-the-round. Any garment you might like to knit that would usually need to be knit flat, then sewn up, leaving a seam, can be knit in a circle on several double-pointed needles. These needles haven’t got an end to keep the stitches on; they can move easily because of this, and they can shift from holding a whole lot of stitches to just a few. It looks quite intimidating to knit on four, five needles at once. I assure you that looks are deceptive; only two needles are stitching as usual and the others hold the work. This is a traditional skill all knitters should acquire. The first step is to join the stitches, having cast them on. (This part is 2.5 minutes and has such a good old melody).
The next step is to start ribbing up the cuff. Ribbing is pretty basic, in this variation, knit, knit, purl. I teach my children to rib little pieces once they can manage plain knitting. If you can comfortably rib, you can do these projects. Joining & ribbing around in circles is only slightly trickier, once you get the hang of it. In fact, I find it easier since I don’t ever reverse (purl, purl, knit). I hope the animations make things very clear for you.
Knitting-in-the-round like this translates to knitting mittens, hats, as you like it. Work along with the other movies in the “Cabled Handwarmers” set, next door at the old schoolhouse (look in the column to your left!). “Cabled Mittens” is out now too, and both projects are in the shop now. If you haven’t already, you might like to watch our first movies on quilting.
When I was a girl, my grandmother taught me to knit. Foolishly, I didn’t practice, and forgot. When I first lived some weeks in England, three sisters, elders in my sweetheart’s family, were my teachers. They cannot remember ever not knowing how to knit, and grew up at a time when, if your hands were empty, your mother handed you some work. I’m quite envious of learning so young, seeing as I waited til adulthood to take up the habit. My children have started early! You may think I knit very peculiarly, if you’ve not seen English knitting. I’m quite fond of it, particularly the speed and economy of movement – but ignore how I knit, and pay attention to how I cast-on.
For a long time I used one particular method for casting-on (creating the stitches to begin to knit a piece), and then I encountered the stretchy method, and never looked back. This, the third part of the “Cabled Handwarmers” set of old school movies in The Knitting Series, shows exactly that. It’s animated, even (it’s 4 minutes, and has a sweet little melody too). Learn it well, for just about any project, especially to knit the cabled handwarmers and mittens in this series.
What do you think? Work along with the other movies in the “Cabled Handwarmers” set, at the old schoolhouse (in the lefthand column). It’s very quick to buy the pattern to make these at the shop, just download and print! Very useful last-minute gift for a friend who wants to knit-in-the-round. Happy casting-on!
Okay, let me show you the good old fashioned skill of winding yarn by hand. If you’ve ever admired beautiful hank of yarn but didn’t know how to wind it without some kind of contraption – or if you’ve wondered how your yarn was organised into a skein in the first place, the second part of the “Cabled Handwarmers” set, in The Knitting Series, might please you. Have a look at how I wind yarn into a ball by hand. (It’s 2.22 minutes.)
Such a meditative process. Particularly if you find yourself falling in love with spinning your own! I prefer to pull yarn from the center of a skein, so that it needn’t roll around to unravel. Then I can knit or crochet freely, with the yarn in a handbag, which makes it easy to pick up my knitting at violin lessons, at the park, on the bus, at a café. I’ll also wind yarn like this when a store-bought ball gets knotted up, or is half gone and getting a bit messy. Yarn is happiest loose ’til you’re ready to use it, without tension to stretch it, I’ve been told, and is also easier to send through the post. (Like the appleturnovershop does, naturally.) You might like to watch the other movies in the “Cabled Handwarmers” set, over at the old schoolhouse (in the column to your left).