Monday, January 25, 2010

Generic Mitten: Decreasing the Top

There are two different ways I typically decrease for my mitten top - depending on which way works best with the pattern I'm using.

Side Decreases
Sometimes I decrease only on the sides of the mitten: decreasing 4 sts for each decrease round. This is my personal favorite: and my friend's mom recently asked me "Why do you do it that way?" She thought it was quite different. Me, I love how it looks! Please feel free to do the decreases for the top of your mitten in whatever manner makes you happy!

Evenly Distributed Decreases
These decreases can be either stacked to make a nice swirling line from the beginning of the decreases to your mitten tip, or staggered to be less visible (apparently, my friend's mom's approach!). If you're planning on using this decrease, knit another 0.5 inches in pattern before beginning your decreases.

Here's my mittens with the Thumb-to-Pinkie-Tip portion and the top decreases finished.

Side Decreases
step 1: where to decrease

I like to have a column of four sts starting when my decreases do and running up to the top of the mitten. It looks nice with a 2sts column too, and that's actually what I'm doing with my sample mitten, since that works better with the stitch pattern. You won't be able to get a column smaller than 2 sts, since it's the left and right leaning decreases that help to define the column. I'd strongly suggest placing a marker at the halfway point. When I don't - I always mess up and have to rip back. So you'll decrease somewhere near the start of your round, twice near the middle of your round and once near the end. The exact place, depends on how many sts you'd like running up the side of the top.

step 2: do it!
This will make a 4sts column
Round 1: *k1, ssk, knit to 3 before marker, k2tog, k1* repeat once more
Round 2: knit
repeat these two rounds until you have half of your original sts. For my sample that would be 54 / 2 = 27 sts. In order to bind-off using a three-needle bind-off or to close the mitten tip by grafting you will need to have an even number of sts. I've decided to go with 30 sts: 15 sts on each needle. And I used a three-needle bind-off.

I'm quite happy that I ended up with 30 sts. Usually I'd get 31 or something, indicating that I'd missed a decrease somewhere. It's probably good you couldn't see me grinning to myself just after I'd finished counting - you might have thought I was just a bit too easily amused!

Even Decreases
step 1: where to decrease

I usually use 6 sts per round for this type of decrease. If you'd like to have a more rapidly decreasing mitten top, throw in a few more per round. Divide your total number of sts by 6: in my case 54 / 6 = 9. This means that I should place a marker every 9 sts on the last round of knitting before the decreases. I should tell you, I don't normally do this. I can usually tell where to place the decreases without placing markers. You know yourself best, put markers in if needed.

step 2: do it!
This will make nicely stacked decreases. For staggered decreases, follow the instructions in the [] as well.
Round 1: *k7, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round
Round 2 and all following even rows: knit
Round 3: [k3, k2tog] *k6, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round [k3]
Round 5: *k5, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round
Round 7: [k2, k2tog] *k4, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round [k2]
Round 9: *k3, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round
Round 11: [k1, k2tog] *k2, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round [k1]
Round 13: *k1, k2tog* repeat from * to * the end of the round
Round 14: k2tog around

Break yarn, leaving tail long enough to thread onto a darning needle. Pass the needle through each of the remaining sts and pull tight. Secure end and trim.

Next: "Generic Mittens: The Thumb."

We're on the homestretch! I hadn't realized when I started these mittens how long this stitch pattern would take. I can normally zap off a pair of worsted weight mittens in 2 or 3 nights. It's a good thing I'm completely in love with this pair or I might have given up and started a worsted weight pair just to finish the tutorial!

1 comment:

Julie said...

awesome info!! And can I say how pretty those mitts are? I love the colours!