A few years back I used up some of my not-so-soft alpaca yarn knitting wrist warmers which I then felted. I called them my ‘manly man’ wrist warmers because they were far from delicate or feminine. Their place was with the ice fishermen and hunters. But I noticed the ladies were trying them on and buying them for themselves, so I made more in smaller sizes until I had used up all my old ‘strong’ yarn. After they were gone, I still had people asking about them – wanting the felted wrist warmers, not the pretty soft ones I had for sale.
And so after shearing this year, I had 2 fleeces from Spotsie (this year’s and last year’s). Now Spotsie will be 10 years old this fall and her fiber is pretty coarse, but I had it spun into worsted weight.
On my last big dyeing day, I dyed some of the yarn and dyed the remainder in a pot earlier this week.
Some is green, some light purple, some a light brown/gray. 2000 yards in all.
Wound into balls
Then it is wound into balls.
Knitting is done
The wrist warmers knit up quickly on the knitting machine.
Seams are sewn, leaving the thumb hole.
After agitation in the hot suds of the wash machine and a few hours hanging outside to dry, I have 5 pair of light purple felted wrist warmers.
Before and after felting
The size is reduced considerably in the felting process. I should have 5 pair of the gray/brown and 6 pair of the green, for a total of 16 pair. They will soon be available at craft show or farmer’s market!
Thank you, Spotsie, for providing just the fiber I needed for this project.
In between tests of patience while doing my taxes, I’ve been knitting the Arm Warmers that I designed the pattern for. I was trying to knit a couple pair each day, so I could sew up the seams each evening. This was working pretty well until the tax deadline loomed and knitting took a backseat. But once the tax task was off my plate, I decided to go nose to knitting machine! Today I finished the yarn that I had allotted for Arm Warmers.
A Rainbow of Arm Warmers
Here they are. All 100% alpaca yarn, warm and comfy. The bottom row is completed, photographed and listed in the online store. The top row still needs finishing, but they will be there soon!
Now I can move on to something else. I need to make a few more headbands. Perhaps that will be next. I’ve been working out a boot cuff / boot topper pattern in my head. It’s nearing the point of being ready for scribbles and calculations! Does anyone out there wear boot cuffs? What do you like about them?
I’ve had a few requests for wrist warmers that are longer, that reach nearly to the elbow. The pattern for these has been rolling in my brain for a while. Yesterday, I decided it was time.
I knew the ‘arm warmer’ (as I’m calling the longer version) would need to be a bit bigger around at the end that is near the elbow. But how much bigger and how does that convert to stitches? I asked Darryl to help me and he said something about calculus! Yikes, that is beyond my math eduction. I find a non-stretchy piece of string and explain that I need him to help hold the string around my arm. It is difficult to keep the string in place with only one hand while the other is being held out to be measured. I put one of my wrist warmers on, we wrap the string around my arm where the arm warmer will end (I have decided to add about 22 rows). Then we wrap the same piece of string around where the wrist warmer ends and mark the difference in the length. I lay that length on the wrist warmer and count how many stitches it covers – eight. That is how many more stitches I need at the elbow end. I plan to start knitting on the ribbed edge (the elbow edge) as I do for wrist warmers, so I need to start with the most stitches and get smaller as I knit towards the hand. I’ll decrease a stitch on each end of the decrease rows, so that means I have 4 decrease rows to spread out among the new 22 rows. It did take a lot of scribbling.
A pattern in the making
But after I wrote down which rows that would be decrease rows I gave the idea a try.
Need to make an adjustment
My goal is to knit both arm warmers from one 50 gram ball of yarn. The one on the left was knit first and had 66 rows. I ran out of yarn at 59 rows on the second one. With some yarn left over from wrist warmers, I made it to 62 rows. I’ll have to rip back 4 rows on the first one. Not too bad for a first try.
On the second try, my pair match! Sixty-two rows seemed to the sweet spot!
Very little left over
That is about 55 inches of yarn left over. I’m happy with that.
The seams are sewn and they are ready for their debut.
Too long for my model
They are too long to be photographed on my display hand. I’m not sure of the best way to show these.
On my arm?
Do they look better on a real arm? What do you think? Which way is the best photo to show off the new length?
I’m hoping to have a few of these finished for my first spring craft show — which is coming up next Saturday! Spring Days is in St Michael, March 9. Hope to see you there.
This is my time to build my inventory for the markets and shows that will start later in the year. On my list is wrist warmers. They continue to be a very good seller for me. I have some left over from last year.
Completed and tagged
And these are completed
As I finish these, I add them to a box.
These are also ready for tagging. But wait….
I also like to have a stack that just need to have the hand work completed. I work on the frilly edge and seaming in the evenings.
In the queue
And still I have yarn that I have in the pipeline to become wrist warmers. All yarn is 100% alpaca, of course. My goal is to have about 150 pair completed before things start hopping around here in April or May. I’m about half way there. To see all 42 colors that are available, check out my online store. If you a need a nice little Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie or your grandma, wrist warmers could fit the bill.
I’ve been staging things to go to Shepherd’s Harvest for the last couple weeks. But yesterday, I had to get serious and try to fit it all into our car.
I have 5 tote bins – the clear one in front is just yarn! The others have hats, mittens, socks, shawls and lots of other alpaca goodies for sale. The box in back has my rugs and place mats/stadium seats.
I have 7 fleeces and 2 bags of roving, a box of felting kits, and a small tote bin of wrist warmers.
I’m also bringing my garment rack and my yarn rack. Fortunately, these come apart. By last night, all this was stuffed into the car! With the front passenger seat reserved for my suitcase, backpack, knitting project bag and one rack I forgot about yesterday.
Thanks to Twisted Suri Alpaca Ranch for bringing the grid-wall and tables for both our booths!
Baby news – nothing yet, but my husband could experience his first alpaca birth without me this weekend.
Yesterday I moved into my new space! Here is the before:
4.5 feet of blankness
I have started renting a small space in the Loft at Shepherd’s Choice in Anoka, MN. A bunch of fiber people have taken over the loft and filled it with fibery fun.
Socks and yarn
My back wall is pegboard, so I hung a bunch of my alpaca socks and some yarn. As I get new yarn dyed, more will be added.
My whole space
I’ve also got some wrist warmers, a basket of alpaca roving and one of my sweater dryers. The sweater dryer is for sale but does double duty as a little table to show off a bowl of cat toys. I’ll also be putting in some hours working at the shop. I’ll post my hours on my facebook page – if you would like to see something specific or have me bring in an order for you, please contact me. Let’s save driving and shipping costs! There are lots of wonderous goodies in the Loft.
Wheels and braids
Mary of Spinning Magic has a lovely collections of wheels and other spinning goodies for sale. She is also available most days to give priviate spinning lessons. There is lots of sheepy wool ready for spinning, too.
Lots of stuff to check out
From felting to bags to lots of fun, fibery things to discover, you’re sure to find something to delight you in the Loft at Shepherd’s Choice. I hope you make plans to check it out soon. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.
Last weekend we took a road trip to visit my sister and see her boys play hockey. This is Adam, who was our farm hand last summer.
Waiting for the game to start
You can read about his stay with us in these 5 posts from last August.
Blocking a goal
He was the goalie for the Dubuque Stars. This was his last tournament of the season.
Getting ready to start
This is Adam’s brother Jonathan. There is talk that he may spend some time working on the farm in the future.
Going after the puck
Jonathan played defense in this game for the Ice Wolves. He has one more weekend of games.
I spent a lot of time riding in the car. I did some knitting on the current charity blanket when I wanted to see the scenery and I sewed the seams on 8 pair of wrist warmers.
Wrist warmers nearly dry
That was a lot of sewing. They are now felted and drying. I’ve knit another 6 pair, which should be finished soon. I cleared out a bunch of yarn on that project.