What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. William Shakespeare
A few weeks ago Erin came over for a knit. Erin had just finished a lovely pair of fingerless mittens or are they called fingerless gloves? If they have a thumb but no fingers are they not mittens? Nevertheless, Erin’s fingerless mittens/gloves were lovely, purple with a sweet picot edge. Hopefully she will post a picture of them. My daughter Nicole (5) fell in LOVE with Erin’s “handcuffs”. We have no idea how or why she thought they were handcuffs, and despite our attempts to correct her – she insisted they were handcuffs and she wanted Erin to make her a pair, that very night. Bless Erin’s heart, she redirected Nicole into trying to knit a scarf (with needles no less!). Since starting her first project using double pointed needles seemed a bit daunting.
The following morning the first words out of Nicole’s mouth were “Mama, can you make me some handcuffs today? Oh-boy was I in trouble, because to tell the truth, the thought of knitting with double pointed needles scared me to death! I had never started a project on double points. That morning, I was able to redirect Nicole by having her learn to finger knit, I just barely escaped. I also knew my daughter, and the chance of her forgetting about the handcuffs was just about nil. With that said, each day afterwards she asked me about her handcuffs. I was in serious trouble.
I knew I had to attempt the double points. But how in the world would I knit the thumb of the fingerless gloves, mittens, handcuffs, whatever name I gave them. I mean they are called fingerless, not thumbless, right! So, in an attempt to learn to knit with double pointed needles, I started a tube scarf-type project which required no thumb from my new scarf book. (I will post that story soon, because I almost gave away all of my knitting supplies over that project!) I also looked up a few fingerless mitten/glove patterns online and they all had thumbs – so I ruled them out, out, out. I told Nicole I needed to learn to knit my tube scarf first before I could knit her handcuffs. She seemed to be patient enough while I learned, however, no way was she forgetting.
A few weeks passed and we found ourselves at my favorite little yarn shop in Sebastopol. Knitting Workshop, (707) 824-0699, 117 S Main St, Sebastopol, CA 95472. I love the feeling of the store, full of beautiful yarns and an owner who is approachable and knowledgeable! During our visit Nicole found the “perfect” yarn for her handcuffs. I thought the yarn was less than perfect to be honest with you. It was variegated with purple and blotches of orange. Yes, ugly came to mind. (Bengali - Queensland Collection, Color 4 - you can see the yarn and colors sample on the novayarn website: http://www.novayarn.com/nv/Catalogue/1046.html)
Oh, and please remember my terror around the whole thumb thing, so I was not excited to buy the yarn because I knew I would be that much closer to knitting a thumb or at the very least part of a thumb. I told Nicole we needed to put the yarn back, it had to be washable. Just then the owner of the store piped in to say “it is washable”. Oh, no, I was a dead duck – and before I knew it Nicole had the ugly-purple-variegated-with-orange yarn back in her grubby little hands. I told Nicole to remember I needed more practice on my tube scarf before I could knit her handcuffs. The owner of the store piped in again to say, “You can knit flat – using size 8 straight needles cast on about 22 stitches and knit2 purl2 rib until it is long enough – when sewing the edges together just skip about an inch for the thumb. You can have them done in a few hours tonight!”
My mind raced, WHAT – NO KNITTED THUMB – COULD IT BE TRUE!!
Well folks, it was true! I did just as she said and made a perfect little handcuff – actually I made two – 1 for each hand!! The handcuffs were a little tight around the hand at first but the yarn and ribbing stretched, so it worked out very well. They fit perfectly now. Nicole was and still is so excited. She only takes her handcuffs off long enough to wash her hands and take a bath. It has been two weeks now, and she is still wearing them day and night.
Side effects of fulfilling someone’s dreams by knitting them something they love…. They want you to knit for their friends! So, no sooner did Nicole take her handcuffs to school, did I have two new orders – one pair of pink and one pair of rainbow handcuffs for Teagan and Gracie!
The next attempt at the handcuffs I changed the pattern a bit. I cast on 30 stitches and knit2 purl2 for about 1 ½ inches – then I switched to stockinette for about 3 ½ - 4 inches and then finished with about ¾ - 1 inch of knit2 purl2 ribbing. They turned out very nice!
My next version I will be pulling out my double points! I am tired of seaming the edges, I am just rotten at it – so my next attempt will be to use double points to avoid the sewing of the seams. I will let you know how it goes. Also, Nicole now wants a pair of leg warmers to go with her handcuffs. She saw the leg warmers knitted on Knitty Gritty the other night.
I guess the best thing about knitting for children is they don’t see the mistakes! They don’t care if suddenly we notice 4 purls in a knit row after we have bound off.. They don’t care if the sewing is a bit sloppy. All they see is the beauty of the piece, the yarn and the love we put into our project. Her appreciation of the project makes me believe I can do it! So, as you might have guessed, yes, my next project is leg warmers! I think I am going to have to call Sandi at The Knitting Workshop to get instructions and more washable- ugly-purple-variegated-with-orange yarn!
The lesson I learned on this project - knit as if you are kitting for a child – the mistakes don’t matter – it is the love that matters and makes the difference! ;-)Liz