In Which the Pirate Has Warm Arms.

I finished the first “As I Go Along” armwarmer last week, working with the notes I’d scribbled down when I started it. While I saw some room for improvement in the fit, I was happy enough with the way it came out and decided to knit the second to match. This yarn doesn’t seem like it would be happy about being ripped out and re-knit, anyway, so my decision was based on that as well as on the fit. Trendsetter Tonalita is a soft and loosely spun yarn, not very sturdy at all, and unfortunately I don’t think the armwarmers will last very long before they get fuzzy and pilly.

I decided to save weaving in all the ends until I was done with both, and as it later turned out, that was the best decision I could have made, because I ended up using every single inch of this yarn. The full ball of Tonalita would have been enough for both armwarmers if I hadn’t taken a dozen yards out of it for the top of the Hurricane Hat.

The colours of the first armwarmer are nicer than the second. On one hand, I like that the Tonalita doesn’t have a repeating colour pattern in the skein. On the other hand, why did they have to put all the silvers, greys, and beiges together at one end of the yarn, and all the lovely greens and blues together at the other end? In the Hurricane Hat, the lack of repetition was perfect, and the higher stitch count meant the grey and beige parts were less obtrusive. But here, it almost looks as if the two armwarmers were knit from different colourways, and I like that less.

The second armwarmer got all the dull colours. I knit most of it on a four hour train ride on Sunday afternoon, and as I got towards the top of the hand I began to worry that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish. The more worried I got, the faster I knit. I tried to tell myself that I’ve had this concern before and that everything has come out just fine, but the little voice in my head kept saying no, I was going to run out of yarn before I ran out of armwarmer to knit. I knit even faster, because that’s what knitters do when they’re afraid the yarn will run out – don’t ask me why! – and had worked everything but the thumb before my train pulled into the station.

No one on this train ride commented on my knitting. First I sat next to a woman who lived one town over from where I grew up, and we talked about that a bit, but by the time I pulled out the needles and yarn she was deep into a movie on her laptop. After she got off the train, a man came on with a box of cookies. He offered me one, but didn’t say anything about my work. As introverted as I can be, I’m almost disappointed! I enjoy when people notice my knitting, and the conversations that often come of it. I’ve met so many nice people that way.

The little voice turned out to be right. On Monday evening I sat down to knit the eight thumb rounds, and had only enough yarn for five. The ends from the first armwarmer came into play here. I wove them in and scavenged what was left to splice onto my sadly short yarn tail, and managed to get the thumb finished and bound off… only to find that the double thickness in some places had conspired to give me a thumb that’s considerably larger than it ought to be. There’s no way of pulling this out and redoing it, so either I’m going to ignore it or I’m going to take it in with some sewing thread. I’m leaning towards ignoring it, because if I sew it up there’ll be an unpleasant lump on the side of the thumb. The only other thing I could think of would be to ask on Ravelry if anyone has an extra ten yards of Tonalita in the same colourway that they’d be willing to send me. Then I could snip out the thumb, pick up the stitches, and try it again.

These are good little armwarmers, even with one oversized thumb, and I actually have them on right now to keep my hands warm as I work. It’s often cold in my office; I expect to get a lot of use from them. The best part about them, though, is how much I learned from making them up as I went along. It’s given me more confidence to begin the design work on the pattern I’m dreaming up.

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