A few weeks ago the VEB informed me that his hands get awfully cold at work, and asked me to make him a muffler. Now, he’s the rare sort of person who actually appreciates and wears everything I’ve knit him, so I had no qualms about knitting something else for him. However, I was pretty sure he didn’t know what a muffler actually was, and I was really sure it wasn’t something he wanted to be seen wearing at work. Alas, I was wrong on both counts, and after my attempts at talking him into a pair of handwarmers failed we traipsed off to a yarn store not far from one of our favorite walking spots.
Now when I go yarn shopping, I want to be left alone. In fact, when I go shopping for anything, I pretty much want to be left alone. I will spend an hour looking for something if it means I don’t have to talk to a salesperson. In fact, we spent a good twenty minutes trying to find just the right buttons for another project I was working on, partly because the VEB has a knack for making even the most mundane task fun and partly because I refused to ask for help.
The VEB on the other hand will talk to anyone, usually within five minutes of entering a store. Before I knew it he had one of the yarn shop employees swiftly denouncing his muffler scheme and sticking store samples of handwarmers on his hands. She showed him how the handwarmers would solve his problem, and he graciously let the muffler scheme die.
Hallelujah. And, behold the power of a good salesperson.
He picked out some rather lovely yarn –Cascade’s chunky baby alpaca in a rust-brown colorway – and the next thing I knew it was being wound and we were out the door, a free handwarmer pattern tucked into the bag of yarn and buttons.
Trouble was, the pattern didn’t really match what the VEB wanted – it was ribbed, and he wanted cuffs and stocking stitch. He also wanted them to almost cover his fingers, whereas a lot of handwarmers stop mid-hand. No big deal to make those changes, I thought, and promptly churned out ¾ of a handwarmer. But when I stuck it on his hand to see how much further to go, I discovered that his hand was much wider than the handwarmer. Whoops.
I briefly considered just finding another pattern, but I wasn’t convinced I wouldn’t have exactly the same problem. I decided I’d try to knit a custom pair for him, using the sample pattern as a base. It took me a week to knit the first one, because I kept having to rip it back, but just a few hours to knit the second. Chunky yarn + size 10 needles = fast knitting!
The end product is not…pretty. In fact, they look pretty darned weird, if I do say so myself. But they are incredibly soft and warm, and initial reports indicate they worked just great.
Here’s what I did:
Cast on 28 stitches, join in the round.
K1, P1 rib for 12 rounds
Knit 12 rounds
Row 25: Increase 7 stitches evenly (eg., every 4 stitches) across the row (35 stitches)
Row 26: Knit evenly across
Row 27: Increase 7 stitches evenly (eg, every 5 stitches) across the row (42 stitches)
Row 28-33: (Thumb hole) Knit one row. At the end of the row, reverse direction and purl one row. Do this for at least 6 rows, possibly more if you have bigger thumbs.
Once you have the thumb hole big enough, return to knitting in the round for about another 12 rows, or until you’ve got the warmer long enough to hit the midpoint of your fingers. At this point you need to decrease:
-Decrease 7 stitches evenly across the row (end with 35 stitches)
-Knit next row
-Decrease 7 stitches evenly across the row (end with 28 stitches)
-Knit next row
-K2tog, knit 14, K2tog, knit to end (end with 26 stitches)
-Continue knitting 4-6 more rows until desired length. Bind off, sew in ends.