Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Generic Mittens - Getting Started

One of the comments to my Olympic Mini Mittens offers a pattern for sale for adult sized Olympic Mittens. I kind of prefer the one's for sale at HBC and Zellers: something about the color work in that pattern just doesn't have the detail that is my personal preference. I think if I were to make a pair of Olympic Red Mittens for myself, I'd probably embroider the rings and slap on a felt maple leaf as I did for the Minis. I just like the look better. That, and I have never really felt the need to buy a mitten pattern. A want perhaps - Eunny's Anemoi's for example, but then they are some pretty, special mittens. I usually just wing it with the generic mitten pattern that I found bouncing around in my brain. For those of you who weren't born with mitten patterns ricocheting of the inside of your skulls, I thought I'd share my process. Because it really is more of a process than a pattern for me.

step 1: pick your yarn
I've used fingering weight sock yarn, sport weight yarn, worsted weight yarn, handspun, bulky weight yarn. If you like it, use it. The only thing I try to stay away from are yarns that will pill too quickly.

step 2: choose your needles
Check the ball band for your chosen yarn. Note the needle size suggested. Go down a few sizes. I like my mittens to be a bit wind resistance. I use dpns for my mittens; if you prefer another method of knitting in the round, feel free to use that. When I use worsted weight yarn, I usually use US 3/3.25mm needles. For fingering weight: US 0/2.0mm needles.

step 3: knit a gauge swatch
I know, I know - I hate knitting gauge swatches too. But this will really help your mitten to fit your intended recipient. Cast on enough stitches to make a 4 inch wide square. Knit in your intended stitch pattern for 4 inches. For the most basic mitts, I usually use stockinette stitch. If you're already familiar with the gauge you'd get using your chosen yarn, the needles you decided on in Step 2, and the stitch pattern you intend to use, you can skip this step.

step 4: measure your row and stitch gauge
If you're printing these instructions out, grab a pencil and record your measurements here.

Stitches per Inch: ________ Rows per Inch : ________

step 5: trace your hand
Use the back of your printout if you'd like to have everything in one place.

step 6: measure your hand
Note the spots on my hand sketch above. Use a tape measure and record your (or the recipient's) measurements on the same spots of your tracing.

My measurements are:
1: 8.25 inches
2: 3 inches - I like a long cuff!
3: 3 inches
4: 2.5 inches
5: 6.5 inches
6: 2.25 inches

Tomorrow, we cast on. A few things to think about before tomorrow...

What kind of cast on would you like to use? Tubular, long tail, knitted? How long do you like your cuffs? Do you prefer K1P1 ribbing, K2P2 ribbing, cabled ribbing, corrugated ribbing?


Julie said...

what a great idea for the tutorial! I prefer long tail cast on, and k1p1 ribbing (classic, but great!)

Anonymous said...

So far so good, I think this will work. I have searched and searched and cannot find just a plain mitten pattern anywhere!! Thank you many times over.