Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Set of Armstutzerl (muffatees) Are a Hit

Branching Out scarf in Bernat Baby yarn.
It's my firstattempt at the BO pattern
I recently wanted to try the Knitty pattern Branching Out as a three panel repeat on the cuffs of a set of armstutzerl, also known as muffatees or undersleeves. I have done a scarf and a stole in the Branching Out (BO) pattern and loved how it turned out. It's a ten-row repeat, but if you're paying attention the first couple of times you get a feel for what's going on and it's not hard once you know why you're doing what the pattern says.
One change I made in the pattern is changing all double decreases, no matter if they're written as k3tog, sl2-k1-p2sso, or sl1-k2tog-psso, or however you make a 3stitch to 1stitch reduction. All my double decreases are centered double decreases, which I discovered when watching Annie Modesitt on TV explaining why to use them in her corset pattern. I then found out that a lot of lace shawl knitters use them to make the double decrease lace holes more defined.
Stole done in the Branching Out pattern.
So, anytime you see a double decrease in a knitting pattern that I've done, you can bet I'm doing this to those three stitches:
1. Slip the right one as if for knitting
 2. Lift the left stitch over the middle stitch and drop it off the needle to catch on that middle stitch
3. Knit the middle stitch
4. And then slip that slipped stitch over the middle one that you just knitted, dropping it to catch on that middle stitch.
Basically, you're only knitting the middle stitch and dropping both outside stitches over it. With a yarnover on either side, it makes a nice, even lacey hole on either side of the double decrease, which I can't get doing it any other way.

Finished armstutzerl done in No. 10 cotto
So, I was wondering what BO would look like in No. 10 cotton crochet thread. I dug out a couple of cones of purple crochet thread, Size Zero circular knitting needles, did the math for a three-panel repeat with stocking stitch dividers between them. I decided to start at the wrist and knit from the wrist down because of the direction of the lace pattern, bind off at the knuckles then pick back up the cast on wrist stitches and knit up the arm last.
I started from the wrist down with 72 stitches on circular needles. Knit three panels of 21 stitches of garter stitch separated by 3 stocking stitch dividers (21+3+21+3+21+3) for 12 rows for a kind of bracelet effect.
Lace cuff with crochet trim and
wooden beads sewn on to keep
the edge from curling.
On the last row of garter stitch panels, I reduced the garter stitches from 21 to 19, doing a k2tog on either side of the stocking stitch dividers. This should give you a stitch count of 19+3+19+3+19+3 = 66 total stitches to start the BO lace pattern, which goes from wrist to knuckles.
I did two repeats of the 10-row lace pattern, cabling the stocking stitch dividers every ninth row. Then I loosely cast off three stitches at a time with a crochet hook, and added a simple crocheted trim across the knuckles. I had some little wooden beads, so I sewed them on to keep the edge from curling up. Glass or ceramic would have been a little heavier, but I didn't have any. I could alternatively have crocheted more trim on to keep it from curling, but didn't want to take the cuffs past the knuckles.
Jamie's arm in her armstutzerl.
Picking up the cast-on stitches on circulars at the wrist top gave me 72 stitches to knit the sleeve portion upwards. I did a simple K2P2 rib pattern accented with spirals of yarnover-p2togs every three rows up the forearm. Space them however you want them, just be sure to repeat the placement every so often so it looks like you did it on purpose. Or just knit plain ribbing all the way up. Try them on as you go and stop when you're a couple of inches from the elbow.
Knit a K1P1 pattern until it's up to the bend of your elbow - or long enough to suit you - then use a really stretchy cast off. There are some videos on Youtube that show different ones, so pick whichever one you're most comfortable with.

I'm 55 years old and have little occasion for lacy armstutzerl, so I had my niece Jamie, who hand blends and sells specialized makeup, in mind the entire time I was knitting these. I recently surprised her with them in her mailbox and am glad to report that she is delighted. As a matter of fact, the photos on here of the armstutzerl were taken by her after she painted her nails to match. I'm a happy aunt.

For a PDF armstutzerl pattern based on a 16th century Bavarian portrait, click here.