Joy Bells and Wrist Warmers

I’ve knitted joy bells for many years. But I learned how to make a wrist warmer last week. They’re both very fun gifts to make and neither one takes a whole lot of time. I left margarine softening for a cookie recipe and came to the computer to tell you about these two gifts you might enjoy making. It’s only one week and a few days until Christmas, but you still have time to make these fun gifts! Turn your Christmas carols on, light the fire, or at least a candle, and have yourself a merry little knitting time.

Joy bells can be larger or smaller according to how many stitches you put on but my favorite size is perfect for a little decoration pinned on your sweater or shirt, or a package adornment, or a Christmas tree ornament. I acquired this pattern in 1976 from Royal Service, the Woman’s Missionary Union women’s magazine at that time. A lady in our church, Imogene Harrison, knitted about fifty of these bells. Each lady in our church who attended a prayer meeting for foreign missionaries that December received a bell.

Here are the directions:

Use size 3 knitting needles, red 4-ply knitting yarn.
Cast on 10 stitches. Row 1 knit 10 stitches. Row 2 knit 6, purl 4.
Continue rows 1 and 2 until you have knitted 16 rows.
Bind off on row 17.
Sew bell together at sides, gather the top and put a jingle bell inside.
Tie threads and turn bell, pulling the strings through and tying a bow at the top. (Add a longer loop if you’d like to use this for a tree ornament. Or sew a small safety pin on the back if you’d like to use it on your shirt.)

Wrist warmers are also called fingerless mittens or fingerless gloves. These are the simplest ones I could find. I wanted something I could make in a hurry and I’m so grateful to a lady named Joanne who put a video online showing us how to make these. The name of her entry was “Laws of Knitting,” well worth your finding. Maybe next year I’ll try something more complicated, maybe with cables or lots of colors. But here are directions for this one, as I understood them.

With size 5 needles, cast on 40 stitches, leaving a length of yarn about 15 inches long at the beginning. The rows will make the length of your wrist warmer. Mine is nine inches. Knit about 30 rows (just knit, no purl!) or until width of piece will reach around your hand by stretching a bit. You don’t want it to be too big. Your piece now will be somewhat square like a potholder. Bind off all stitches, leaving another length of yarn about 15 inches long so that you have yarn for sewing at each end of your warmer.

To sew together: Fold warmer over and match sides. Starting below thumb thread needle with the yarn you left and sew to your thumb, about 1 1/2 inches. Hide your yarn and cut. Starting at wrist end, do the same thing stopping above your thumb so that you leave an opening about 3 inches long for your thumb. Hide yarn, cut and try on your new wrist warmer! It’s snug, covers your wrist nicely, but allows your fingers to be free. A very nice stocking stuffer!

Merry Christmas to all my Pens and Needles friends!

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