The Promise of Spring: Springtime Handwarmers

The spring weather is coming, I promise, to those of you who are still riding the rollercoaster of March's unpredictabilitly. 

I've had a ball of Road to China Light sitting on my desk since mid-October, and with it a plan to knit a simple pair handwarmers to wear while I was at work. Our office is an old stone house from the 1700's--beautiful, yes--but very hard to keep warm when it's both cold and damp outside. 

The ball of yarn sat there and taunted me, as my slightly arthritic and freezing fingers clickety-clacked away at the keys of my computer all winter, With my nack for taking on too many projects (as usual), and not prioritizing personal-happy-knitting time, my dream handwarmers were starting to be pushed back further and further. Finally, in January, I happily cast on to some spare needles I found in my desk drawer. As I sat at my desk finishing up the annual accounting and inventory I would knit a few stitches while waiting for reports to load. Those little bits of knitting we a welcome indulgence-- instantly calming and deeply gratifying. Finally, last week, just as we had our first bout of 60 degree weather and signs of spring, I finished them. Admittedly, my first thoughts were, "Great. Finished just in time to not actually need these. That's annoying." But no! I am perhaps the only person along the mid-Atlantic seaboard who is pleased about our recent return to frigid temperatures and damp, grey gloom because I now have a lovely brand new pair of handwarmers to keep my fingers nice and toasty while I look forward to a springtime of gardening ahead!

 And it's okay that today is chilly and grey. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, because it won't be long now...spring weather is just around the corner.

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--CAK

Springtime Handwarmers
Yarn: The Fibre Company Road to China Light (65% baby alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel, 10% cashmere; 159 yds/50gm skein): carnelian, 1 skein.
Gauge: 24 sts + 44 rows = 4” (10cm) in Garter Stitch, after blocking.
Needles: US 4 (3.75mm) needles, extra US 4 for optional three needle bind off.
Notions: 4 stitch markers (optional), tapestry needle.
Size: 6.5" Long and 6.25" circumference.
Skills: knitting. Optional: picking up stitches, three needle bind off.
Worthy of Note: These can be knit and seamed together, or you can opt to work the “sew-as-you-go” bind off (see below). Slip the first stitch of each row.

HAND: Cast on 36 sts. Always slip the first st of each row purl-wise with yarn in back. Work in garter st for 68 rows, or until desired length.

FINISHING:
• Option One:  Bind off all sts loosely. Seam together, leaving a 1” thumb opening approximately 1” from the top end.
• Option Two:  Work a “sew-as-you-go” bind off as follows: Using two stitch markers, mark the 8th and the 16th stitch on the cast on edge. Fold work in half so that the cast on edge is held parallel to the sts on your needle. Bind off 8 sts as follows: insert the tip of the rh needle into the first st on the lh needle, then insert the tip of the rh needle into the first cast on stitch, pulling the yarn through the fabric (just like picking up and knitting), then pull it through the live stitch on your lh needle. Repeat for second stitch. Bind off by pulling the first st worked over the second. Repeat until 8 sts have been bound off in this fashion, or to first marked cast on stitch. Next, bind off 8 sts on live sts only for thumb opening. Continue working the sew-as-you-go bind off until all rem sts are bound off.

Weave in all ends to inside of work.

For a list of commonly used abbreviations in this and other Kelbourne Woolens patterns, please visit: http://kelbournewoolens.com/abbreviations.