all hands

So if you have read the last two posts I have been knitting an octopus so I can show you how to double knit an arm. I wrote down the recipe in a similar fashion to how I send my notes to my daughter who then spends a lot of time editing my writing because I am much too chatty when I write. Then she formats it and adds pictures and diagrams to illustrate it. So you are warned this is the chatty unedited version of my knitting.

Right now my daughter is working on a monkey pattern I wrote that has double knitting for the arms and legs. And I thought it would be helpful to show how I made the arms. This little octopus is perfect for learning arms cause he has 8 arms to practice on. And besides who would what to do a swatch when you can make something small to play with after you learn a technique.

well if you have been following along you’ve knit a head with afterthought spots for legs. Afterthought knitting is a great thing to have in your repertoire. You can use it to add a pocket to a sweater or a heel to a sock. But my favorite place to use it is the thumb hole when I am knitting stranded mittens.

next you have learned to double knit. Another great trick to have. You can knit 2 socks at a time or knit a reversible scarf whose edges don’t curl up or the fingers on a glove.
now its time  to add the mitten at the end of the arm.

So here we go.

double knit the arm till it is the length you want and then cut the yarn. My arms are 5″ long. then attach the color yarn you have selected from your scrap pile and start double knitting.  double knit 6 rows for the cuff of the mitten.


row 1-6:    k1,pslip1  6X

row 7:    k1,pslip1 5X    k2

ok something different here I knit the last two sts of row 7 on a separate dp needle instead of knitting 1 and slipping 1 purl wise. I am  setting up to knit the thumb in i cord. I cord is short for idiot cord and is useful for all kinds of things. You might have knit i cord as a child with a spool. My sisters and I would churn out miles of i cord with a wooden spool that my father put 4 nails in.  However it is pretty simple to knit an i cord on 2 dp needles.

*I also  want to point out a something in the photo that you may already of noticed. Even though I am knitting row 7 of my green mitten you can only see 4 rows of green stockinette. That is because I  am slipping stitches every  row so technically I have slipped and knit each stitch a total of 7 times which shows up as 4 rows if you were to count it. Clear as mud right– but once you are knitting it makes sense. But back to the pattern. turn the needle holding the 10 sts you have just double knit and knit the first st from that needle onto the spare dp needle holding the last 2 sts you knit. Now you are ready for the i cord thumb. You have 3 sts on the spare needle instead of turning the needle to start the next row slide the sts to the other end of the needle.Pull the yarn tight and knit  3 sts. Slide the needle – pull and knit 3 sts. Simply keep doing this and you will have a nice cord or thumb – I knit 5 rows of i cord and then bound off by passing the first 2 sts on the needle over the third. Cut the yarn and you can see here is a nice little thumb.

Now for the hand portion of the mitt – there are 9 sts left on the needle starting with a purl st closest to the thumb.insert your needle into the st just to the side of it in the base of the thumb to m1 stknit the st you have just made and then slip the next st with the yarn in front and continue down the row double knitting. You now have 10 sts on your needle.

turn to start the next row k1,pslip1 5X at the end of the row pick up one st at the base of the thumb and knit it. Now there are 11 sts on the needle.turn to work the next row. Now you have a purl at the beginning of the row again- put the yarn to the back and pick up one more st at the base of the thumb and knit 1 then pslip the next st and continue down the row double knitting k1, pslip 1. You now have 12 sts on your needle.

Double knit 8 rows and its time to start decreasing for the top of the mitten.row 1: k2tog(k1,slip1) 4X p2tog    10sts total

row2: k2tog(pslip1,k1) 3X p2tog    8 sts total

row3: k2tog (k1,pslip1) 2X p2tog     6 sts total

row4: k2tog,pslip1,k1,p2tog         4 sts total

row5: k2tog 2X  slip 1st st over the 2nd one cut yarn and pull through

finished except for sewing in a few ends

Actually a whole lot of ends because there are 8 legs.

Which leaves you with a pile of scraps.

What do you do with your tiny pieces of scraps?  I save mine in a glass jar that was overflowing. So this morning while I was having trouble wording this I grabbed them and made a little wadded  up mess of ugly

and then took some unlabeled yarn and wound around the wad till I started to get a ball shape……then started winding a 100% wool yarn that felts on top of that until I had a nice layer covering all those yarn scraps of unknown origins. After I had a reasonable ball size I cut the yarn leaving a 2 foot tail and threaded this on a needle and proceeded to stab into the ball here and there stabilizing it …….and voila — a dryer ball from the scraps that I didn’t throw away. I will put these balls in socks and knot the socks wash and dry them with the next few loads of laundry so that they felt up. And then I just leave them on the dryer to pop in with my clothes – it speeds up the drying time (now if I didn’t screw around avoiding writing this by making scrap balls I would have been done in half the time ; )

But no matter– now I have a scrappy octopus and 2 scrappy dyer balls.

Next up….. I have looked at so many octopi on google that I am starting to think about ways I can alter this  pattern and make my own 20,000 leagues under the sea monster.




  1. Peg said,

    September 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

    This is way, way cute! I love the idea of a mittened octopus! I’m hoping that on a rainy day I can sit and knit along to the three octopus posts!

    • whatzitknitz said,

      September 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      can’t wait to see your version of an octopus Peg. I have one going now that will have a turtle neck sweater. And I also want to do some eyes using stitches from POPKNITTING.

  2. Pia said,

    September 5, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Pia at Colour Cottage thinks your blog is On Fire! You can accept your Blog On Fire award here: If you like. If you don’t, no worries. 😉

    Don’t forget to write 8 unusual things about yourself and to share the award with 8 blogs that you think are awesome.

  3. JO said,

    September 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    that little guy is so cute! Love what you’ve done w/ double knitting, & thanks so much for sharing!

    • whatzitknitz said,

      September 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks JO there is almost nothing better than knitting toys unless it’s sharing toys that I have knit ; )

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