Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall freebie: spiral mitts

I was so enamored of Knitty Gritty Thoughts' spiral cowl that I knit myself some matching mitts. I had exactly the same experience with the mitts that I had with the cowl: I thought I'd never wear fingerless gloves, that they would be impractical or not warm enough, and it turns out that I adore them and wear them and the cowl all the time!

I'm passing on the pattern to you. It's super easy and quick to knit. I had been knitting my cowl with two plies of Colourmart 4-ply weight cashmere (so a little lighter than fingering) held together, so I used them singly to knit these mitts. If you want to do something similar, you could use any luxurious fingering weight yarn to make the mitts, then hold it double to make a matching spiral cowl! I imagine that these would be lovely knit out of Malabrigo sock yarn, for example.

Spiral Mitts

Size: Ladies' small/medium ( 7" hand circumference) with 8 stitch/inch gauge; Ladies' large (8" hand circumference) with 7 stitch/inch gauge

Gauge: 8 stitches and 10 rows = 1 inch (small/medium); 7 stitches and 9 rows = 1 inch (large)

Yarn: 150-200 yards fingering-weight yarn (the more luxurious the better!)

Requirements: US 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed needles or long circular for magic loop, two or three stitch markers, tapestry needle, waste yarn to use as stitch holder

Note: these mitts are knit top-down (from the fingers to the cuff). This means that you start by knitting the thumb and hand parts separately. It also means that you can tailor it to the amount of yarn you have by knitting the cuff longer or shorter as needed.


First, make your thumb tube: CO 28 stitches and join to work in round, being careful not to twist. You can place a marker at the beginning of the round if you’d like. Work 4 rounds k1, p1, rib. Work in stockinette (all knit) until piece measures 1". Break yarn, leaving about a 2” tail, and place stitches on a piece of scrap yarn.

CO 56 stitches. Join to work in round, being careful not to twist. Work 5 rounds stockinette (knit). In next round, *k2tog, YO, rep. from * to end of round. Work 5 more rows stockinette. In next row, knit each stitch together with one loop from your cast-on to make a folded picot hem.

In next row, make one stitch (or increase by one stitch), then begin spiral eyelet pattern as follows: *k6, k2tog, YO, rep. from * to end of round. You should be able now just to spiral your way around the mitt ad infinitum. Work three full repeats of the spiral pattern (24 rounds), or until work measures 2” from folded-down hem.

In the next round, join your “thumb tube” to the mitts as follows: work 28 stitches in spiral eyelet pattern. Place a marker. Knit across all your live “thumb tube” stitches, working the first few stitches with working yarn and tail end of thumb stitches held together, and place another marker. Work remaining 29 stitches in spiral eyelet pattern.

In the next round, work to first marker in spiral eyelet pattern and slip marker. Slip-slip-knit (ssk) or work your favorite left-leaning decrease, knit to last 2 stitches before marker, k2tog, slip marker, and continue round in spiral eyelet pattern.

In the next round, work to first marker in spiral eyelet pattern, slip marker, knit to second marker, then finish round in spiral eyelet pattern.

Repeat the previous two rounds until there are two stitches between the markers. In the next round, work spiral eyelet pattern until one stitch before the first marker. Drop marker and k3tog, drop second marker and continue in spiral eyelet pattern.

Continue working in spiral eyelet pattern for 4 more full pattern repeats or until work measures 3” from bottom of thumb gore or 7” from folded-down hem. Work 6 rounds stockinette, decreasing by one stitch in the first row of stockinette. In the next round, *k2tog, YO, rep. from * to end of round. Work 5 more rounds stockinette. Break yarn, leaving a long tail. Fold hem and tack down live stitches with a tapestry needle to make picot cuff.

Weave in ends, block as you prefer and repeat with second mitt!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What I'm doing this weekend instead of going to Rhinebeck

Eating brussels sprouts.

(Isn't this thing cool? I got it at the farmer's market today. Who knew that they grew like this? It's heavy, too -- like a big caveman-club of healthiness.)

Knitting cashmere spiral mitts and listening to NPR.

Grading papers.

Reading for orals.

I'm sure that Rhinebeck will be more fun, but I just can't stomach it with both the work pileup and the upcoming move -- don't need more stash to pack!

Want another shot of those mitts? I thought so.

They're ribbed for her pleasure! I laboriously un-plied the double strand of 1/14 I had used for the spiral cowl (which I had originally twisted like that by colourmart), so these are exactly half the scale of the cowl. I love them! It was my first crack at top-down mittens -- I like it, and it does let you modify to fit the amount of yarn you have, but I'm not a huge fan of the thumb join part. These guys are so warm! Just trying them on for size or to snap a photo made my hands feel so warm and cuddly. I think they're going to get a lot of use.

NB: I cast on 56 stitches to make these, following the 8-stitch repeat of the spiral cowl's eyelet pattern after a picot edge. I added a 30-stitch-around thumb tube after 4 repeats, then decreased the thumb gore every other round until it was gone, then worked 5 more repeats of the spiral and cast off with a picot edge. I also tried picking up stitches and working a 3-needle BO instead of sewing down the final hem -- kind of a cool idea, and definitely a lot neater, but less stretchy, despite the fact that I used a needle 4 sizes larger for the bindoff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How do I love thee? Let me cowl-nt the ways.

Finally put the button on the cowl, and, as the Harlot would say,

Dudes, I love it.

It's soft and fluffy and not heavy, and it tucks just perfectly into my coat. It looks good buttoned and unbuttoned -- I'm currently sitting at my desk at work wearing it unbuttoned around my neck, and it may stay that way all day.

I love it so much that I immediately cast on for another one and a matching pair of mitts!