Sunday, February 08, 2009

Adventures in Mitten Knitting

When it comes to knitting, this has been a disappointing week. Maybe it's nothing more than the February doldrums, but my knitting has been slow, frustrating and very little of it. Granted, it didn't help that my wrist was sore and aggravated by things at work, but still...

I've worked on the Norwegian mittens a bit this week. It's a little on the small side, I'm afraid. Once blocked, it may be alright, but right now, I find this one a little on the snug side. Hmm, that seems to be a pattern this week... more on that later.

I like how it looks; I like the warmth of it; I don't like the fit of it. I'll finish this one and I'll block it, but until then, I won't start the second one. As you can see, all that's left to do is the thumb and then the picot cuff needs to be stitched up.

In my last post, I asked for your input and Nicola suggested EZ's Mitred Mitts from "Knitter's Almanac". Seeing as I just happen to have said book, I looked it up and decided I'd try them. I'm using Noro Silk Garden on 4.0 mm needles. I started with an I-cord cast on, which EZ suggests as an option. I've never tried this cast on before; I like it. It gives the mitten a finished look. I'll have to remember this cast on. (See the end of this post for the how-to.)

EZ (Elizabeth Zimmermann, for those unfamiliar with her) suggests just snipping the yarn where you want the thumb, but in case I decide to frog these (and, yes, I might), I used waste yarn instead. Here, you can see that I've started to pull out the waste yarn, after threading the thumb stitches onto more waste yarn. Why? So I can try this mitten on for thumb placement/cuff length and to see how I like the look and feel.

And the prognosis? Well, first off, again I find the mitten on the snug side. That's alright for the cuff, but not for the hand. Secondly, I have a feeling that the base of the thumb will not be the most comfortable. Can you see how the stitches are stretched apart? I'm afraid the corners of the thumb, especially the outer corner, will become a stress point, making it a touch uncomfortable. One thing I know about myself is that any little thing that causes any kind of irritation will cause me to throw a garment to the other side of the room and never wear it again (I'm the same with scratchy labels in clothes).

*Big sigh* I'm afraid this mitten is destined for the frog pond. Back to the drawing board.

The I-cord cast on... basically, all you do is knit an I-cord. The number of rows in your I-cord should be the same as the number of stitches required for your cast on (in the case of the mittens above, that would be 48 rows). Finish off the I-cord and, with your working yarn, pick up and knit the required stitches from the I-cord. Once your project is complete, sew the ends of the I-cord together. Simple, clean, finished.


  1. Maybe EZ was right when she said we should knit mittens in the summer -that way, we would have them done and ready by the time winter came (and we would have time to iron out any issues too)!
    I just finished some extra warm ones and I haven't really needed them this weekend - so now I'm hoping for a cold snap before spring arrives!

  2. There's another type of I-cord cast on here:

    ...that I might try for these mittens. Funny you should mention them because I looked them up yesterday and was reading through the "pattern".

    I'm with you regarding the scratchy labels - they drive me absolutely batsh*t! I always cut them off amd throw them away. And poor Myria just shakes her head because I have also, of course, thrown away the washing instructions :)

  3. Too bad you can't get them to fit. I like the Mitred ones!