Arm knitting

A couple of weeks back I took the bus to Brighton and purchased myself some amazing super chunky wool from Tiger. I couldn’t resist it – I’ve never seen any wool so massive and fluffy and soft (and a good price too)

I bought just a couple of balls thinking a warm winter woollen would be a good project for me. The wool suggested using 20mm needles which I managed to find, but I was not very pleased with this suggestion. I tried a scarf in stocking stitch and then tried another in garter stitch, but the fabrics produced were so tight and dense and stiff, it would have been a bit of a heavy scarf really.

chunky knit garter stitch Then a little inspiration hit me. I had seen a video a little while back from Wool and the Gang (I really like this) about Arm knitting (click here and see for yourself). Yes, this is exactly as it sounds – your arms are the needles! At first I was a little put off as found it quite tricky to tune my eyes into what was going on in the video as the casting on was slightly tricky (but not tricky once you’ve worked it out) But I watched a few times and soon worked it out and managed to cast on 8 stitches like this.

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And I was so pleased I did get past the cast on row, because the actual knitting rows are so super super simple. Super super super simple. If you have never tried knitting before, or have tried but found it tricky, I really recommend setting yourself a little arm knitting project – it was so easy peasy, and grew so fast it was a really satisfying one evening pastime.

super chunky arm knitted scarf

And the arm knitting was just the thing for my super soft and fluffy and chunky massive wool as the fabric is really loose and soft and not rigid and dense anymore, and because it was loose, my scarf was quite a good length too, much longer than my needle knitting versions.

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My pattern was – cast on 8 stitches and arm knit until you run out of wool. (or until you nearly run out of wool so you have enough for your cast off row) Then weave in your ends and voila! You could perhaps use 6 stitches for a slightly thinner and longer scarf – I might yet unpick again and try that. The beauty of this is it’s so super fast that you don’t mind trying again.

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So if you have bought some of Tiger’s magnificent wool with no clue what to do – do this. And tell me about it if you do. Or tell me more about Wool and the Gang.

 

Crocheting beads

I found a nice little project this week – crocheting beads (not to be confused with bead crocheting which is something completely different – but something I might have to give a go…)
I really love the trend for painted wooden beaded necklaces – they are so bright and cheery, and just so cool! I found the idea for crocheting beads from a baby teething toy, which is probably not really so cool, but I really wanted to have a go at it.

I bought a few wooden beads in different sizes, but the ones which worked best for me were the big 25mm ones.

Here is how I crocheted my beads:

I used:

4 x 25mm wooden beads
a 3mm crochet hook
DK yarns in off white, bright orange, mustard and turquoise

My abbreviations:

SC = single crochet (in American terminology. This is a double crochet in UK terminology)
2SC = working 2 single crochet stitches into the same space
SC2TOG = single crochet decrease – single crocheting the next two stitches together.

(you might need to experiment to get the right tension – I found some of my DK yarn was slightly thinner and this made quite a big difference so if your yarn is thin you might need a slightly bigger hook)

Row 0:  6 single crochets into a magic ring.

Row 1 – 2sc into every previous row sc. (12sts)

Row 2 – working into the previous row, **1 sc into the next space, 2sc into the following space** repeat ** to ** to end of row (18sts)

Work 5 rows straight. If you want to make a half and half coloured bead, change colour after the third row. I have found a neat way of changing colour is to do the final yarn over and pull through of the last single crochet stitch with the new colour, rather than changing colour in a new stitch (hope that makes sense) 

Row 8 –  **sc2tog, sc1 into the next space** .Repeat ** to ** to the end of the row (12 stitches)

Row 9, sc2tog the entire way around the row (6 stitches).

Finish by breaking your thread and threading through the final row to draw it in and neaten it up.

and ta-dah!

I really enjoyed this project also because it was so quick. My necklace just took me an evening. And it’s just to bright and lovely. One of my winter wardrobe staples are black thermal vest style tops, and this little accessory is just the ticket to brighten that up a bit on a gloomy day.

I would love to see if you have a go.

Magic plait knitted hairband

At the moment I am struggling with the trauma that is growing out my fringe (I think I am – I’m not sure – to fringe or not to fringe – all I know is that it’s getting long!) In my adult hair life I have switched between a short blunt fringe, to a deep fringe, to a side parted sweep a few times (as a child and teen it was fringe all the way!) I had my current fringe cut in when Rose was little to save me having to pluck my eyebrows, but now i have a bit more time for grooming (a little bit!) I think it’s a good time for a change.

But at the moment it is in that terrible, too long to wear as a fringe, but not long enough to clip, phase (my fringe hair seems to be very very straight and doesn’t sweep naturally at all until it is quite a bit longer)

Then it came to me – I need a head band!

Whilst pinteresting my evening away, i came across a really clever little pattern for a fake plaited headband and really wanted to give it a go. I couldn’t find any real instructions, but the picture was really clear and it was really a fun little project. I had some golden yellow wool to use and thought it might look like a lovely harvest festival corn crown.

I used DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles for mine, but you could definitely experiment with heavier or lighter yarns, for different effects. I wanted my headband to be on the slim side and at first was worried my bars were going to be too short to thread through (you’ll see what I mean in a minute) but it all worked out grandly in the end. I think though if i were using a chunkier wool though, i would need to increase the number of stitches in my bars slightly.

To make a headband the same as mine, using DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles, cast on 20 stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2:  Slip 1, K3, P12, K4 (i like to slip the first stitch in projects like this to keep the edges a little bit neater)

Row 3:  Slip 1 Knit to the end of the row

Row 4: as row 2

cast on gold knitting blue needles

**Row 5: Slip 1 K3, cast off 12 stitches in the middle of the row, K4

Row 6 Slip 1 K3, cast on 12 stitches (turning your work and use a cable cast on then turning back to complete the row works wonders), K4

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Row 7:  Slip 1 Knit to end of row

Row 8: Slip 1, K3, P12, K4

Row 9 as row 7

Row 10: as row 8**

Repeat ** to ** until headband reaches the desired length, and cast off on a row 10.

It was quite tricky to determine how many bars i would need as the final step draws the band up making it a bit shorter than you are led to believe during this ladder looking phase. I needed to work 35 bars, which was 6 bars more than i originally thought. These 35 bars created a band which measures about 51cm. Each extra bar adds about 1.5 – 2ish cm in length. I really advise making up the plait and measuring to check it’s long enough before casting off your final row (i speak from experience)

So at this point you may be wondering what on earth i have led you to make, but here comes the clever bit…

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Twist the first bar at the bottom of your knitting to create a loop. Take the next bar up and push it through the loop to create another loop. Take the next bar and thread through this loop and continue in this way all the way to the top

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To finish off i put a couple of stitches in the final loop to secure it, and sewed a button to the bottom so that this could be fastened on and off without having to drag it over my hairstyle.

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Yay! What a wonder. I am really pleased with this finished item (although i admit i do look very serious here) – it has been so nice to wear, like a little crown – especially nice with plaited hair. And I really enjoyed this little project. There might be a few more hair bands in the making in the near future – I especially think I need a black one for work wear and formal functions. What do you think?