I did a bit of toilet paper roll knitting with kids at Samantha’s school last spring and many of the girls that came out (boys came too) were quite taken with the wrist warmer I made using a bigger popsicle stick spool knitter made with an embroidery hoop. The next thing I knew one of them had taken a short tube knit with cotton yarn and stretched it to fit around her wrist. She just put her thumb through the strands of yarn stretched between the stitches. It looked very cool, very 1980s Madonna. Then one of Samantha’s friends made an even longer and neater version with some kind of acrylic yarn and I knew I would have to give it a try myself, but I wanted to use an elastic yarn to give the tubes more stretch. And I wanted to knit them with thumb holes, just because I could.
Here’s what the tubes look like when they come off the knitter. You’d never think they would get around a wrist, but that’s what’s so interesting about how kids make things; they don’t put our adult assumptions and constraints on their ideas. If one of them had asked me if they could make a wrist warmer from a toilet paper roll knitter, I would have said no, too small, and I would have been wrong.
The colors are something, aren’t they? This yarn comes from Brazil. It’s Cascade Fixation yarn made from 98.3% cotton and 1.7% elastic; a great yarn to use for knit lingerie. I’ve never seen such a colorful selection of Fixation as my friend Susan carried at Yarn Dogs in Los Gatos. But I’ll give you the bad news first (and yes, I wrote carried as in past tense) – Yarn Dogs will be closing in late August. The good news is you should be able to pick up some Fixation as part of the closing sale beginning August 14 if you are in the vicinity of the shop. That is, if I don’t buy it up first. I still have plans to knit a bra some day soon, though likely not in these colors.
I used a 10-stick toilet paper roll knitter for these warmers. I chose 10 because if you want to knit in a thumb hole, it’s easier to place an even number of popsicle sticks on your toilet paper roll – the more, the better, but with some wiggle room between sticks. To make the warmers shown in this post, knit 14 rounds, then work back and forth* for 4 rows to create an opening for the the thumb, and continue with 6 more complete rounds before binding off according to the directions found on this post. Or just knit 24 complete rounds and bind off and place the thumb between the strands of yarn that are stretched between stitches. If you knit loosely, these can even fit an adult.
After binding off, use a needle to bring your yarn tail up through the next stitch in the direction you were knitting. Then bring that tail back into the column of stitches it came from and weave it in down that column of stitches a bit before cutting the tail on the inside of the warmer. Weave in your starting tails in the same manner, by coming up the column of stitches and trimming on the inside.
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* To knit back and forth, when you complete your 14th round (it helps to make a mark on your knitter or use the seam of your tape to indicate your starting point) rather than continuing in the same direction, take your yarn and bring it across the front only of the stick you just knit. Then wrap the next stick (continue moving in the opposite direction from your last round) in the usual manner (across the back, around the front, across the back again) until you get around to the last stick of the round. Then repeat in the other direction and work in both directions two more times for 4 total rows of back and forth knitting.