Thursday, January 14, 2010

Generic Mittens - The Cuff

My gauge swatch is done. And yes I cheated a bit. I don't have quite 4 inches wide and 4 inches long. It's more like 4 x 2.5. But it's my swatch and I was getting tired of it. So I stopped and measured. I used 2.25mm (US #1) needles. I usually use 2.0mm (US #0) needles for fingering weight yarn, but all my gajillion sets of 2.0mm dpns are deeply involved in other projects.

Stitches per Inch: 6.5
Rows per Inch : 14

This stitch pattern really sucks up the row gauge. I'm hoping that will translate into very warm mittens.

I have no idea what the stitch pattern is called. If you know the name, let me know in the comments! It's a 4 round repeat:

Round 1: With MC (in my case the recycled gray sock yarn) *knit into the stitch below, k1* repeat from * to * for the entire round
Round 2: With CC1 (various warm Phat Fiber Samples) purl
Round 3: With MC *k1, knit into the stitch below* repeat from * to * for the entire round
Round 4: With CC2 (various cool Phat Fiber Samples) purl

Before we begin with the cuff...

step 1: what type of cast-on
Have you decided on what cast on to use? When I make mittens it's usually a case of my-hands-are-so-cold-I-need-mittens-right-now. I've only done a tubular cast-on once, and that was on something I frogged, although not because of the cast-on. So I'd find it takes me a lot of mental power to do a tubular cast on when I want the knitted object NOW. But I do want the cast on to be stretchy, so I use a long tail cast-on, using a needle approximately 3 times the diameter of the needles I'll use for the mitten.

step 2: ribbing decisions
Have you decided on ribbing? I love the way a K1tbl,P1 ribbing looks, although I find K1,P1 to hug my wrist a little bit tighter. Strange, I've always thought. I would have guessed that the twisted knit ribbing would be more elastic, but it seems to stretch out more quickly, although that may be due to a number of factors. I haven't been all that scientific about it. My twisted knit ribbed mittens are made of different yarn that the other pairs I wear and I also wear them more often, so don't take my observations as fact. I like K2P2 ribbing too, but like the knitting rhythm of K1P1 better. So when I want mittens fast, K1P1 it is!

step 3: how many stitches
Finally we are ready to figure out how many stitches to cast on.
If your stitch pattern is heavily cabled or pulls stitches together like cables would, you will want to base your cast-on sts on a stockinette stitch swatch. Just remember to make some increases after the cuff, so that you'll have enough stitches once you begin your cabling. Look back at your sketch where you recorded your measurements. Or you can use my measurements from yesterday - I'd love it if you knit me mittens! Take measurement #1, Hand Diameter, and multiply it by your stitches per inch. For the stitch pattern and needles I'm using, I get 6.5 stitches per inch. So I will cast on:

8.25inches x 6.5sts/inch = 53.625 sts

Obviously it will be pretty tough to cast on 53.625sts, so I round up to the nearest even number for K1P1 ribbing. If your making K2P2 ribbing, make sure you can divide your number by 4. If we rounded this up to 54sts, it would work for K1P1 but you'd need to cast on 56sts for K2P2 ribbing.

How many will you cast on?

#1 Hand Diameter___Your sts/inch___Cast-on sts

Round up to the nearest even number and you're ready for some K1P1 ribbing!

Make your cuff as long as you like cuffs to be. For me that's 3 inches.

Once I have two cuffs that measure 3 inches from the cast on edge, I'll post "Generic Mittens: From Wrist to Thumb".

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