A Good Little Portable Knitting Project

Houseproud knitted wristlettes FO closeup IMG_3159Hello, my pets – I’ve accomplished all sorts of things in the last week, including completing the final batches of summer preserving, and while I haven’t the strength to talk about that now, I will in the coming weeks. Instead, let’s chat this week about a little knitting project of which I am quite fond: knitted wristlettes. These lovely items are a perfect portable project: they are simple to work and are small enough to carry around easily.  Once you get over the fiddly bit of starting them, they are easy to pick up and put down. I’ve knit them on trains, in cars, at cafes, while on conference calls, etc etc etc. Houseproud knitted wristlettes pink WIP IMG_3175The pattern itself is very easy, and can be made with any odd number of stiches. I usually cast on five or seven stitches for my wristlettes, using a thin yarn and very small DPN needles. The pattern, called Fabric Stitch, creates a very sturdy, non-curling fabric-like material, and was made popular by Barbara Walker AGES ago. I shan’t give you the pattern here – it’s the woman’s intellectual property, donchya know – but a quick search of the interwebs should lead you to instructions elsewhere, or you could turn to page 99 of your trusty copy of the first volume of Walker’s knitting pattern series.* Anyway, trust me when I say that the stitch is very straightforward.

Houseproud knitted wristlettes mugshot IMG_3130Over the years, I’ve used the Fabric Stitch to knit wristlettes in different colors and from a variety of yarns. For warm weather wearing, I prefer knitting the wristlettes in crochet cotton, but waxed cotton or hemp thread is another interesting warm-weather choice. A thin wool yarn works well, too, and makes a wristlette that’s very pleasant to wear when the weather turns cooler. (That tasseled beauty was knit sideways from strands of tapestry wool.) Whatever its fiber content, choose a smooth yarn, if possible: unless knit VERY tightly, the pattern knit in knobbly yarns will look wonky. Trust me.** That being said, not only does Fabric Stitch make a sturdy fabric, but in addition both right and wrong sides are attractive. Choose the side you prefer and make the opposite side the “wrong” side of the wristlette. Amusingly enough, while I currently prefer the smooth right side of the pattern, all of the wristlettes I’ve made in the past feature the bumpy wrong side as their fronts…

Houseproud knitted wristlettes loops and snaps IMG_3153Besides appropriate yarn and two very small needles, the only other bit you’ll need for this project is a metal snap (and a needle and some thread to hand sew the snap to one end). My knitting kit includes a small crochet hook, but if yours doesn’t, make sure you toss one into your bag for this project if you plan to make a loop closure. As the picture above shows, I’ve also used a bead as a closure, but I don’t recommend that, as it doesn’t keep the wristlette securely in place. The pic also shows one with a tiny buckle, which works perfectly. To see how my loop closures work, take a closer look at this pic, however. It shows that I’ve created a loop at one end and a tab on the other, which when fastened together insures that the wristlette won’t pop off your wrist.

Here’s how I manage loop closures: (1) when you cast on, leave a long tail of at least 10” (you’ll use that tail to crochet the loop); and (2) when the knitted piece is long enough to comfortably span your wrist, start creating the tab by decreasing at least 1 or 2 stitches from either side of yr knitting, and then while working either in pattern or in stockingette, knit a tab that’s at least 1” long, binding off snugly. To create the loop, create a slipknot at the base of your cast-on tail and crochet a chain that’s approx’ly 1” long. Thread the end of the yarn tail through the final crochet stitch, pull tightly, and use either the tail or matching thread to secure the chain to the other corner of the cast-on edge. Hand sew the male snap to the top of the tab on the wrong side, and sew the female snap centered and a little bit down from the base of the tab, also on the wrong side. For kicks, use your cast-off tail to chain crochet a decorative whatsit at the tip of the tab. And that’s it – you now have a pretty little wristlette. Make ‘em in whatever colors you wear the most – they’re guaranteed to add a bit of panache to your outfits!

Houseproud knitted wristlettes bias taped lined IMG_3163

Just keepin’ it real, but this wristlette could use washing, yes? It’s folded to show its bias tape backing, made necessary because wristlettes knit from stranded embroidery thread will need to be backed with a bit of ribbon or bias tape, or the wristlette will limply curl in at the edges.

And that’s it for this week, lovely peeps. If you’re a knitter, I do hope you try making a few wristlettes for yourself or loved ones, as they’re easily made and are thoughtful prezzies for thems that likes ‘em. Tune in next time for a series of posts on the many and varied fermentation projects that I’ve worked on this summer. Whew. Until then and very fondly, yr little munakins

*  Walker, Barbara. A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968. Print.

**  I used that bright pink knobbly cotton yarn to knit a belt on size 5 DPNs, but I ripped it all out because it looked like cr*p. I’m trying again on much smaller needles (size 2 DPNs), and am well pleased with the results thus far.

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