Essential hand exercises for knitters as the Rockwell blanket grows!

Welcome back! Today we continue to log cabin knit the Rockwell blanket (free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn) with super squooshy Hue+Me super bulky wool and Lantern Moon Destiny Ebony circular needles. Now that you completed blocks 1-6 (if you missed that part, it’s in yesterday’s post) you’re probably getting the feel for the way a log cabin knit builds up. You probably also noticed the blanket is growing bigger very fast! This is where the longer cord of the Ebony needles starts to make sense. It also makes sense to add some stretching before knitting to avoid injuring yourself as you create this super bulky blanket. So, before jumping into today’s blocks 7-11, warm up by stretching out your fingers, hands, and wrists with a few quick easy-peasy exercises.

The warm and cozy ‘70s retro Rockwell blanket.

Warm-up stretches before you start

It’s easy to forget how physically demanding it is to knit stitch upon stitch sometimes for hours at a time. We, knitters, think of our craft as stationary, but I had a friend wear a fitness watch that accidentally tracked her knitting as if she was walking. When I tell you she far exceeded her steps for the day I’m not exaggerating! If we were planning to jog or hike for a few hours we would stretch to warm up our bodies for the exercise. Well, I tell you that knitting at the speed we do for the length of time we do is a marathon for the hands and arms like it is for the legs of a long-distance runner. So, we warm them up before we dive into such a physically demanding activity! Here are a few stretches to limber you up before you hit the chair of Olympic knitting.

Fingers, hand, and wrist stretches

These instructions were reposted from the Knitter’s Pride Mindful Blog: 10 Best Hand Stretches for Knitting. Always make sure you stretch gently and never push yourself to the point of pain. As you practice these stretches you will become more flexible and they will become easier.

Wrist stretch

“Extend your arms in front of you, forming an even line with your shoulders, i.e. not too high and not too low. Keep the elbows as straight as you can without forcing them, though. Now make a loose fist and bend your wrists downward until you begin to notice a stretch in your forearms. Rotate your fists lightly until the backs of your hands face each other.

 Finger flexing stretch

“Extend one arm in front of you, keeping your elbow straight and flex your wrist as if signalling ‘stop’. Use the other hand to gently bend your wrist and fingers toward you. Hold this stretch for a few seconds. Reverse and repeat for the opposite arm. Stretch gently.”

The starfish stretch

“Hold your arms outstretched to your left and right at a 90-degree angle. Keep your shoulders down and clench your fist tightly and quickly. Then release them dramatically but gently as wide open as you can. Imagine your hands as a pair of starfish or octopuses making a dance move on the water. You can perform this exercise with both fists at once or one after the other. Repeat several times.”

Arm and shoulder stretches

The first two stretches are from the Knitter’s Pride Mindful Blog: Stretches for Knitters

Big Hug

Wrap the arms around your body as if hugging yourself with your left arm over the right one. Tuck the chin slowly. Hold for a moment then unwrap and do the same with your right arm over the left. Repeat a few times.

Sky Stretch

Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms above your head then gently bend to the right side. Hold for a moment then bend to the left and hold again. Repeat a few times.

Sky Stretch

The last warm-up stretch I learned from my years of swimming.

Chest/shoulder/arm stretch

Interlace your fingers behind your back with the palms facing each other. Drop your shoulders and stretch your chest as you gently pull your hands downwards and slightly away from the body. Hold for 10 seconds. Shake out your arms and repeat a few more times.

You’re ready to start knitting the next 6 blocks of the Rockwell blanket!

Block 7

For block 7 use color D (Bellini) to pick up one stitch of the bind-off edge of block 6 followed by 54 more stitches across the garter and bind-off edges of blocks 6 and 5 (see graphic below). Knit the required number of rows in the pattern and bind off.

Follow the direction of the arrow to pick up stitches from right to left for block 7 across block 6 then block 5.

Block 8

For block 8 switch back to color A (Desert). Take note: at the beginning of block 7, you picked up one of the bind-off stitches at the edge of block 6 before picking up the garter stitches. Because that one stitch is already knit into block 7, you’ll have one less bind-off stitch to pick up for block 8. Pick up one stitch for each of the remaining 74 bind-off stitches on block 6 followed by 11 stitches along the garter edge of block 7 (see graphic below). Knit the required number of rows in the pattern and bind off.

Follow the direction of the arrow to pick up stitches for block 8 across block 6 then block 7.

Block 9

Continue to use color A (Desert) for this block. Pick up one stitch of the bind-off edge of block 8 then 11 stitches for each of the ridges along the garter edge and 53 stitches of the bind-off edge stitches of block 7 (see graphic below). Knit the required number of rows in the pattern and bind off.

Follow the direction of the arrow to pick up stitches from right to left for block 9 across block 8 then block 7.

Block 10

Switch to color E (Werewolf) and pick up one stitch for each of the remaining 84 bind-off stitches on block 8 followed by 15 stitches along the garter ridge edge of block 9 (see graphic below). Knit the required number of rows in the pattern and bind off.

Follow the direction of the arrow to pick up stitches for block 10 across block 8 then block 9.

Block 11

All right, you’re on the final block of today’s post. Block 11 returns to color A (Desert). Pick up the first stitch of the bind-off edge of block 10 then pick up 3 stitches along the garter edge of this block. Continue to pick up 64 stitches of the bind-off edge of block 9 to complete the set up for block 11. Knit the required rows and bind off. You’re done with today’s section of the Rockwell!

Follow the direction of the arrow to pick up stitches for block 11 across block 10 then block 9.

Tomorrow the Rockwell grows on!

How’s your blanket going so far? I hope you love the way this log cabin design is growing! I find it fun to build block by block, and can’t wait to show you how to continue knitting your Lion Brand Hue+Me wool super squooshy, super cool retro blanket! Tomorrow we’re getting into blocks 12-16 which will complete everything but the border of the Rockwell blanket. I’ll also continue to encourage you to de-stress your body with more stretches to make knitting this super bulky project easier and more comfortable. Come back tomorrow!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: How to log cabin quilt a nostalgic ‘70s style blanket – block by block

Go to part 4: Log cabin knitting: The final stretch to a retro Rockwell blanket

Related posts

Blocking a lacey shawl makes the shawl spectacular!

Fibra Natura Kingston Tweed | A lifeline for knitting lace

The Arum Shawl | Knitting a lace pattern