Almost warm hands

The current series of blog posts is focusing on hands. OK. The last one and this one is not exactly a series. But on this little blog, it’s close. My last post was all about mittens. This one is all about mittens that are missing their fingertips. They’re almost as warm as mittens.

These are Aimee Alexander’s Farm to Market Mitts. I’ve posted about Farm to Market a number of times, since this is the 7th pair I’ve knit. This time I used Plymouth Yarn’s DK Merino Superwash. The yarn has great stitch definition even in its DK version.

These are totally fun to knit. At one point in the cabling you need to use two cable needles. But don’t be daunted by that. It’s easy peasy. You will be putting one set of stitches on a front cable and another set on a back cable, and you simply work the cables in the order the pattern directs. The palms of the mitts are stockinette.

The instructions are arranged very helpfully, with both line-by-line and charts. Plus an extra chart tells you what round of the cable chart you should be on as the mitt progresses through the thumb gusset increases. Very useful for keeping a distracted knitter from goofing up.

Next is a new pattern to me, Nici Griffin’s Escape Mittens. I used the same Plymouth Yarn DK Merino Superwash.

The mitts took only 44 grams of yarn and worked up totally cute! They look kind of shrimpy off my hands. But even my large hands fit very comfortably in them because the stitch pattern is super stretchy.

Excellent pattern, very clearly written, with both charted and line-by-line instructions.

Sensibly, the palms of the mitts are smooth stockinette.

Today I’m apparently in a tell-it-in-purple world. The next pair is Clara Parkes’s Maine Morning Mitts. A freebie.

I didn’t think I had enough yarn to finish these in my purple leftover Queensland Brisbane, a lightweight bulky. So I started with wine colored Brisbane. It worked out rather cute.

Off the hand, these guys look a bit like two Saguaro cacti. Skinny. Ungainly. Prickly. But slip your hands into them and they stretch to wonderfully cozy.

You probably already know the little trick for keeping your ribbing color changes nice and crisp?  If you just join the new color and rib away the first round will have half ‘n half stitches (half one color, half the next) in the purl sections. But if you knit all the stitches of one round in the new color, and then start ribbing, you avoid the dreaded split-color purl stitches.

Yesterday it was 93 here. Today’s almost as hot. Much of the United States is suffering under dangerously high temperatures. And I’m writing to you about how to keep your hands warm in chilly weather. Think cool. Knit warm.

Warm hands

I know. It’s June. My first excuse for knitting mittens is that it’s June in Michigan. This year that’s meant we’re still amid a good deal of chilly weather. My next excuse is that I don’t really have seasons for knitting. I knit year round. I knit a lot of accessories. That means you can often find me knitting mittens here in Michigan’s (sort of) “top of the mitt.”

This first pair is Susan Mills great two needle, knit-flat Mitered Mittens. It’s an excellent fun pattern. It was designed for the delightful, now discontinued, Classic Elite Liberty Wool. I totally enjoy knitting these in color-changing yarns. Here’s how the Liberty Wool worked out. This time I used Adriafil Knitcol. It’s a lightweight worsted, even close to a DK weight.

Sometimes it’s fun to see how these multi-colored yarns knit up, this time in relatively short rows of garter stitch.

Here’s a second pair. I used this skein of…brace yourself it’s a mouthful…West Yorkshire Spinners Blue-Faced Leicester DK Print.

And here’s the results.

I knit the second pair, the WYSBFLDKP version, in the small size and the Adriafil in the larger size. Both pair fit my large hands, more evidence of the highly forgiving nature of garter stitch.

The only tricky part of the mitt is likely a function of my well-documented removable stitch-marker disability. I’ve never gotten the hang of using one to mark the position of a decrease. So, instead of using the stitch marker to situate the mitered decrease, this is what I did. I put a “regular” ring stitch marker in place. Then, for the decreases, I slipped the stitch before the marker, removed the marker, slipped the next stitch, knit the next stitch, passed the two slipped stitches over—and replaced the marker before the stitch just knit. It’s a decidedly clunky maneuver, but at least I got all my decreases in the right place.

Next up is a totally fun freebie: Becky Greene’s Granny Glitten’s Mittens.

I knit this first pair in Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash. I’ve always been happy with the stitch definition of this yarn. That’s important in a pattern of this sort, with smallish cables on the cuff and knits and purls forming the various patterns. Granny Glitten’s pattern resulted in a great fitting mitten.

This is a very folksy home-style pattern. It has a few of what I’d call quirks rather than mistakes in it. And a couple of minor errors that you’d figure out easily on your own. But this link is to my detailed Ravelry project notes in case you want to check them out.

Granny Glitten’s Mittens are great fun to knit. For me it’s the fact that the stitch patterns keep changing. No boring repetitions. I finished one pair and decided to knit a second straight away.

This time I used a decidedly unwintry shade of Sugar Bush Yarns Bold.

Again, a great fit.

I really have been on a mitten kick. This next pair is tincanknits Antler Mittens. The pattern calls for an Aran weight. I had a skein of Queensland Collection Brisbane. I was good on the stitch gauge (18 to 4 inches, in stockinette) using the recommended US size 8 needle. But my row gauge was off. As a result, these knit up super fast because I worked only 2 repeats (not 3) of the cable pattern after the thumb gusset even for this large size.

Sweet mitt. Good fit.

Lots of knitters turn to sock knitting for summer when they need a lightweight portable knit. Maybe give a thought to mittens as an alternative. Especially if you work your mittens in worsted weight these are quick rewarding knits.

Working even at a leisurely pace you’d have enough mittens for everyone come the holidays. That’s what I did when I was nine years old, sixty years ago. My mom gave me a pattern for 2-needle mittens and a supply of Red Heart yarn. And one pair of needles. I knit mittens for her, my dad, my two brothers, Gram, Pa, Aunt Joan, Uncle Hank, Uncle Lee, Aunt Dot, Walt, and my cousins. People acted as if they liked them. OK, probably not that boatload of rowdy boy cousins. Later, my mom took me to a real yarn shop and bought me one skein of yellow bulky weight yarn. She found a pattern and taught me to knit cables. I loved the feel of that yarn and those mittens. Something was different about that yarn, for sure. When we washed the mittens and threw them in the dryer I found out what it was. They shrank to ugly felted fists. I had discovered wool and my life-long obsession was set.