Saturday 29 December 2012

Mazy Mitts

Now that Christmas Day is past, I can write about a pair of fingerless gloves/mitts that I made for my daughter as a Christmas gift.  I have made her fingerless mitts before, with a single opening for the fingers, even though she asked me for fingerless gloves - I said that knitting four little stumps for the fingers would be far too fiddly.

But then I came across a (free) pattern in Issue 41 (Deep Fall 2012) of Knitty    Phalangees by Jodie Gordon Lucas  allows you to have separate finger openings in fingerless mitts without breaking the yarn.  A brilliant idea, if you ask me.

This is what the finger openings look like.  Essentially, you knit a round that creates the finger openings in a figure of eight fashion, and so joins the front and back of the hand together between the fingers, and then you cast off in a similar way.   (Although I didn't do it in quite the way that the pattern specified.  I also made the finger openings different sizes, as you can probably see from the photo - the second finger opening is a bit bigger than the others and the little finger slightly smaller - in the pattern they are all the same size.)

I did find it very tricky to knit the joining rounds and finish off, I must admit.  It was maybe partly because I was using double pointed needles - I prefer them for knitting small things like mitts, and I didn't have any circular needles of the right size.  The pattern recommends one or two circular needles- that might have been easier though I'm not sure that it would.  At one point I was using a small forest of DPNs (14 of them) to go round the figure of eight curve....

So it was awkward - but not as much work as knitting the fingers separately.  I did the thumb in the conventional way - the method specified in the pattern seemed a bit obscure and required breaking the yarn anyway, so I just did the usual thing. 

The two-colour maze pattern is from Phalangees too, though you could use the technique with any kind of stitch pattern on the palm part of the mitts.  The maze pattern is very striking, though, and I wanted to see how it's done.  It's simple to knit - it looks as though you knit with both colours at the same time, taking the colour not in use across the back of the fabric, but in fact each round is worked with only one colour, using a slip-stitch technique to skip over the stitches that should be in the other colour.

I am really proud of the finished result - I think they look very good and will be very warm.   And they fit, I am glad to say.

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