PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

knitted wristwarmers

Yes, you read it right, this is a post about knitting – who’d have guessed!

I’ve tried, and failed, to enjoy knitting before. I bought straight needles and hated them. I bought dpns and hated them. It always seemed like such a struggle to wrangle the yarn without a handy hook with which to grab it. But, thanks to my practice with knooking, I now understand the shape of knitted (and purled) stitches, and how they fit together. I’ve done a lot of theoretical learning – reading books, watching videos – and I finally hit on a way to make it all work for me! Here’s the June magic formula:

Circular needles: so much easier to keep hold of than those long pointy sticks. I took a chance and ordered some from KnitPicks before I moved out of shipping range, but didn’t have a chance to play with them for many months after that.

circular knitting needle

Knitting right-handed: I’m left-handed, and I crochet left-handed. But you knit with both your hands, so why shouldn’t I learn the ‘standard’ right-handed way and save having to reverse instructions later so they work for a leftie?

English (throwing) style: this is the magic part for me, as a crocheter. Because I’m left-handed, I hold my crochet hook in my left hand, and tension my yarn with my right hand. By knitting right-handed, English style, I can still tension my yarn with my right hand – something I have years of experience with!

Magic loop: This technique makes so much sense to me. Working on one circular needle with a flexible cable instead of constantly switching between DPNs: yes. This is good.

So, with my strategy in place, I tried putting the theory into practice. I don’t like making test pieces, so I decided to make my knitting practice piece into something useful: wristwarmers. Even if they looked awful, they’d come in handy in my unheated house once summer ends.

I made up my own pattern, because that’s just how I like to work. Long tail CO 34, knit in the round with magic loop until the thumb, bind off 6 for the thumbhole, next round backwards loop CO 6 to go over the top of the thumb, continue working until long enough, stretchy bind-off. Easy.

(Don’t I sound like I’ve been doing this for years?! Never underestimate the power of research.)

knitted wristwarmers by planetjune

I love how they turned out! My tension is pretty even for a first attempt, and that’s thanks to using the same hand I always use for tensioning. There are slight ladders at the bottom of the first wristwarmer, before I figured out how to keep the tension even when switching the needles for the magic loop, but I love that too – every time I wear these wristwarmers it’ll show me ‘this is when I learnt to knit’.

knitted wristwarmers by planetjune

I used 4.5mm KnitPicks nickel needle tips with a 32″ cable. The yarn is Bernat Satin in the gorgeous Plum Mist Heather colourway – a very dark purple tinged with red, and pretty much impossible to photograph – if my skin tone looks off here, that’s why! (Indoors, they photographed as almost black.)

I can already tell I’m going to get a lot of use out of these. There’s no central heating in our house and my hands get very cold when I’m working. These will be perfect to wear while I work – I’m wearing them as I type this and they aren’t impeding me at all: success!

knitted wristwarmers by planetjune

I was all fired up after finishing these, and decided to order some larger needle tips so I could try something a little more ambitious. My LYS actually carries the same brand of needles (although outside N America they are known as KnitPro, not KnitPicks – isn’t that strange?!), and told me he could probably get them within 1-3 weeks. That was in November, and they just came in last week; I can confirm that the concept of ‘Africa time’ is no myth – it’s taken 3.5 months for my needle tips to arrive!

I haven’t picked up the needles in the meantime, so I expect I’ve now forgotten everything I briefly knew about knitting and will have to re-learn it all again before I attempt progressing to anything more complicated. It may be a while before you see another knitted project from me…

16 Comments »

  1. Joanne Klauber said

    Nice job, June! Beautifully even stitches…

  2. Yay, June! They look great!
    It’s actually really common for left-handed folks to knit ‘right handed’… I would say more than half of the (left-handed) knitters that I teach knit the right-handed way. When teaching students, I don’t even tell them that there is a ‘right-handed’ way and a ‘left-handed’ way… it’s just important to do what feels comfortable to you πŸ™‚

    • June said

      I think that’s the right thing to do, Stacey – I really can’t imagine any reason for teaching a person with two normally-functioning hands to knit left-handed! It just sets them at a huge disadvantage compared with other knitters.

  3. Chrisie Merriman said

    Those turned out really nice! I’d been trying to find a good pair of wristwarmers in crochet, but now that it’s spring (theoretically) I guess that search can wait. Or maybe I’ll take up knitting! So many nice garment options in knitting… hmm… πŸ™‚

    • June said

      I do have to say that for warm, solid, fitted garments made with thick yarn, knitting has the edge for me. That’s why I like the idea of having both skills available to me for making clothing for myself. I’m hoping to make two cardigans – one knitted, one crocheted – and compare the process here on the blog, but I suspect it may take a year or longer to make the knitted one!

  4. DOULOS said

    Great job!!! i like your idea of make useful pieces for a practice… June i can not wait to learn more and grow in my wool experience!!!thank you for sharing your talents have a blessed and creative day

  5. Nicole said

    Hi June πŸ˜€

    Nice Wristwarmers! πŸ™‚ You made a good job.

    and it’s good to read, that there is someone other, that hates straight needles and dpns!

    If I startet knitting again in the last year, my mention was: I will knit socks! Every well versed knitter says to me, I must learn to knit with dpns, before I use the magic loop method, but, I hate it.
    So I was stubborn and used my circular needles for knitting my first socks and it works! Circular needles rules πŸ˜€

    • June said

      Agreed! Not that I plan to knit socks any time soon (although never say never) πŸ˜‰

      • Nicole said

        Right πŸ˜‰
        I love crocheting Socks (with a good book with a heel like the “JoJo-Heel” from knitting), but knitting is fun, too πŸ˜‰
        Two years ago I couldn’t believe, that I will knit sometimes again (I had an accident 12 years ago, with a broken hand and that hurts, but no longer, since I crochet more than one times a year).
        But my plan for knitting are only scarfs, mitts/gloves, hats and socks πŸ˜‰

  6. Gillian McMullen said

    My heart leaped into my mouth when I first saw your Facebook post, June – thank goodness you reassured us that you’re not abandoning crochet! Your hand warmers look beautiful, so evenly stitched. Now that you’ve done one at a time, are you going to try two at a time on one circular needle? I prefer double pointed needles myself, but I use a circular needle for sock and glove projects that I carry to meetings. So embarrassing to hear needles dropping on the floor in the midst of a serious discussion . . .

    • June said

      Oh, I am categorically, 100% definitely not abandoning crochet! Anyone who thinks that crochet is a lesser art in some way and now I’m ‘graduating’ to knitting is very much mistaken. For the kind of sculptural design I specialize in, crochet is absolutely the best medium.

      The reason I want to knit is because I like to keep my hands busy when I watch TV etc, but I just can’t crochet all the time – I need a break from work sometimes, and my hands get painful with too much repetitive motion. Having a different craft project on the go that uses different hand/wrist motions and doesn’t require too much concentration sounds like just what I need! My plan is to try a cardigan next – there’s nothing like being over-ambitious πŸ™‚

  7. Merry Thornsburg said

    Hey June…I think you did great for your first knit! Love the color! I learned to knit 6 years ago and LOVE it, and then learned how to crochet about 3 years ago and LOVE it too! I love the magic loop too…just started a toe-up sock…so fun! Wow, a cardigan…can’t wait to watch your progress on that one! My first knitting lesson was with a pair of straights and all I did was drop one on the floor and then the other one! LOL! Love circulars!
    Happy Knitting!
    Merry ?

  8. Monica said

    WOW! They look great, June! You’ve inspired me to at least try knitting again- soon πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing this big achievement of yours! Thanks for the tips, too πŸ˜€

  9. MorganAdel said

    These look amazing! You did a great job! I started knitting last year and immediately jumped into a pair of cabled mittens on dpn. I was too stubborn to start with swatches or a simple scarf, so I understand your wanting to start in on a project right away! Also, if I make the mittens again I will definitely use circular needles! πŸ˜‰

  10. Chelita said

    They are beautiful!!!

  11. I crochet left handed too, and knit right handed, English style. It’s good to know that there are more of us out there :).

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    June Gilbank

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