Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fingerless mitts.

Those of you familiar with the history of knitting will know that some of the oldest remaining knitwear comes from Egypt. Therefore, you won't be surprised that you favorite Egyptian goddess has a knitting achievement to brag about.

When I first moved to Upstate SC, I was coming from Michigan, where there are real winters. I quickly made friends with a person who had moved about the same time from Rochester, New York--ditto the winter. We are both frugal yankees, and both tend to try to wait as long as possible before turning on the heat for the first time. So without really realizing it, we started a sort of contest over who could wait the longest. (But this was not Toronto, for goodness sakes, so the stakes were fairly low.) Inevitably, whoever lost would blame his or her spouse or friends or visiting family or whatever, but we both knew the truth.

Even though my friend has long since moved away, I do still tend to hold out as long as I can before the heat comes on. So sometimes the PP would come home from work to find me in several layers, a hat, a scarf and buried under an afghan on the couch. The one problem, it seemed to me, was my hands, because I could not wear gloves and type.

Ecco the solution! Last weekend when I was in California, I went to this store, where I picked up a copy of this book and some nice yarn and worked out some fingerless mitts that do not require me to be able to knit with double-pointed needles, which I have still not learned to do. The pattern in the book was not exactly what I wanted, because it feature sort of ruffly cuffs, and I wanted my mitts to fitt (sorry) seamlessly under my sweater sleeves. Also, I wanted my mitts to be a bit looser than the ones in the photo seemed to be, so I oculd tuck my fingers into them in moments of duress.

Here is the result:

Here they are:

Don't you like the way the self-striping quality of the yarn means that the two mitts go together but do not really match?

I am pretty happy with the way they turned out, particularly given that I did not do any gauge-swatching or math in determining how many stitches to cast on, etc. Given the chance to do it again, I would knit the ribbed cuffs with a smaller size needle (oops--just totally forgot to do that until it was too late!) so they would be snugger around the wrists.

But here is a sort of half-assed recipe for how I modified the pattern: Cast on 40 stitches. Work 11 rows in a k1p1 rib pattern. Switch to stockinette, working the next row knit and making 6 new stitches in the course of the row. Then continue working in stockinette until desired size is achieved. Finish by binding off purl-wise and leave a 24" tail. Using mattress stitch, start at the top end of the mitt weave down about 1.5" then anchor yarn. To make thumb opening, weave yarn tail along one side of thumb opening (about 1.5" or desired size) and then resume mattress stitching to the bottom of the mitt and weave in tail.

(Caution: This particular yarn is lovely to work with and it makes snuggly, hearty mitts. HOWEVER, if you pull too tightly while working your mattress stitch, it could break.)

But meanwhile I am typing with warm hands! (We have turned the heat on, but we still keep it set pretty low. . . .)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice job. Good thing your kitchen is warm--don't need cumbersome mitts to do my work. :)