Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hand Warmers--Explorations

Lately I have been exploring hand warmers-- the fingerless glove idea.  So far I have tried knitting them:
 This is a knit2/purl2 rib, 32 stitches around on 4mm double pointed needles.  I like them, but I ran out of yarn about 3 rows shy of the end that comes down over the hand.  I am still mulling over what to do about that.  I don't think I can get more of that particular yarn, so I will maybe add a couple rows of a contrasting color to finish it off, and then rip back the last couple rows on the one that is already done to make it the same.

So, now I know that 50g is not quite enough for a pair.  I made sure that I had lots of this oatmeal colored yarn before I started.  It is one of my favorite yarns, Lima, by Rowan.  They are quite plain, again 32 stitches around on 4mm needles, in stockinette stitch. 
 You can see this lovely necklace with little crocheted flowers-- it is made in Brazil.  I'd like to make a couple of similar flowers to add on to this pair,
 I tried these little knit versions from the pattern for the scarf I mentioned a few days ago (free download from KnitCulture in L.A., here.  The two on the bottom are the same number of stitches, but on different size needles, 2mm and 3mm.  I think I will make them in a fuzzier yarn.  This was the Koigu KPM
 Finally, I started a shorter pair using a fabulous yarn, it's a blend of Baby Alpaca, Cashmere, Camel and Silk.  It feels so nice, I think they will be very wearable.  And I made sure to get 2 balls so I won't run out.
Then, online, I came across these:
They were made by Brenda Abdulla( her etsy shop,  her website,).  She does a lot of upcyled clothing, or eco-fashion!  I found this photo very inspirational, for many reasons:
1. I like the combination of textures and colors
2. I really like the idea of using pieces of other felted garments
 So, being inspired, I immediately decided to give it a try.
I dumped out my stash of felted wool sweaters:
 yes, it was a bit overwhelming.  I started with a sample: 
I decided to try just sewing the wool with a plain seam along the side and turn it inside out. Basically this is a tube with an opening left in it for the thumb. 
Because it was an unfinished edge of wool felt, I decided to make it more finished by adding a crocheted edge around the bottom opening.  I used quite a small crochet hook and fine yarn, so I was able to just poke it through the felt every few millimeters, and then after this base round, I just did one row of single crochet. 
I quite like the effect of this, and I think it would be really fun to do a wider crocheted edging.  The handwarmer came down quite far on the fingers, so I will make the opening closer to the edge if I want a wider crochet edge. 
Around the thumb opening, I used a tapestry needle and thin yarn to do a buttonhole stitch around the opening.  I think I like the other edging better, but it could be a bit awkward to do this on such a small opening.  I think this combination has a lot of potential.

Next, I tried a pair that were longer, the photo shows them before they are turned right side out.  I decided to try to finish the thumb edge before sewing the seam, and that worked quite well since the pieces are still flat at that point. 
However, there is a small issue regarding the recyled sweater version, and that is that many people find that type of wool a bit itchy when worn that close to the skin. 
I tried a third pair, using only cashmere recyled wool, and I think they are less "itchy".  I didn't take a photo of them because I washed them, hoping that the seams would flatten out a bit.  As you can see they stretch out a bit when joined by machine zig-zag stitching.  I like the way that Brenda Abdullah incorporated the contrasting seams into her design, but I want to be able to make them lie more flat.  Any ideas????


  1. interesting - perhaps you should come by and check out mine because I think that the knitted thumb would offer more room for all your bright colours. I have a few sweaters to use up so thanks for some ideas.

  2. a couple of ideas for the seams: sometimes if you stitch with a straight stitch first and then follow up with a zig-zag, you can minimize the stretching. also a longer stitch on the z-z might help.
    and - what would they look like if you crocheted them together on the outside? with a contrasting colour?
    must not try it...must not try it...too many other things i must do first!

  3. !! Oh I just love all the sheet music as a backdrop!! Lovely things you make Michelle. !!

  4. thanks Laurel and Monika, :)
    Molly, I'll try those ideas, this p.m., not to worry about all the other zillion things beckoning for my attention, I like the hand-stitching look, but machine seems a more time-efficient way to try out some ideas, maybe to do by hand later on...


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