Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Double Knit Mittens

Last winter, when my hands were very, very cold, I spent a few weeks trolling Ravelry for a double knit mitten pattern that I liked.  There weren't a whole lot, and the ones I found either assumed a knowledge of double knitting I didn't have yet, or used techniques (mostly for casting on) that I found needlessly complicated.  So I did the easiest thing I could think of, teach myself how to double knit and write my own pattern.  Yeah, it seemed easier to me at the time.  So, for future reference, and maybe to save someone else a few weeks of work, here it is.

Eventually I will put up some in progress pics to illustrate techniques.

Double Knit Mittens
Sizes:  adult medium

Materials:  Cascade 220—1 skein each in contrasting colours (colour A and colour B)

Needles:  3.75 mm 32” or larger circular needle, or 1 set of 5 DPNs.

Gauge:  4.5 st/inch in double knit

Throughout, I will refer to the number of stitches in one colour; the total stitch count will be in parentheses.

Cast on 28 stitches in each colour (56 total), arrange on circular needle for magic loop—14(28) stitches per needle for magic loop, or 7(14) per needle if using dpns.  Make sure each colour is alternated all the way around. 

Hold the yarns together and move both yarns together. You will need to bring both yarns forward when purling and back when knitting, as one.  Knit the first stitch and all following colour A stitches, purl the 2nd stitch and all colour B stitches.

Continue for 1.5-2 inches, depending on how long you want the wrist of your mitt.  For striped mittens, alternate which colour you are knitting and which you are purling every other round (more rounds for larger stripes.)  When you knit the last 2 stitches on a needle, pull both yarns snugly to prevent a gap.  Do the same after the first 2 stitches on each needle.

Begin thumb gusset—before the last 2 stitches (one of each colour) on your needle, M1L in the front colour, and do a matching increase on the purl side by M1L, but purling through the back loop.  Place a marker to remind you where you will be increasing.  Increase by 1(2) every other round for a total of 12-14 stitches (24-28 stitches total, depending on how large you want your thumb.)  At the same time, increase a total of 4(8) stitches on the opposite side of the mitten, for a wider palm.

Put thumb stitches on a piece of waste yarn and continue knitting until mitt is ½ to 1 inch shorter than your longest finger (the sooner you begin decreases, the pointier the mitt will be.)

Decreases will be done by rearranging stitches so you will have 2 knit stitches followed by 2 purl stitches.  On the right side of the mitt, SSK the knit stitches, and P2tog the purl stitches. On the left side of the mitt, K2tog the knit stitches, for the purl stitches, slip both stitches knit wise,  slip back onto left hand needle (as if to SSK), then purl together through the back loop. 

Video Tutorials:
Two colour long tail cast on:

Double knitting demonstration:

Make 1 Left increase:

Purling through the back loop:

Hoo Boy

Been too long since I last posted, as all the bloggers say.  Have been working on so many things. Will be posting some of those things soon, as well as an actual pattern of my own.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Much Knitting

I'm still trying to stay on purpose with a knitting blog, but, man, Ravelry really is so much more useful for all this stuff: projects and I know that only Rav users will be able to use this link (yeah, I know there is a non-member way to link, but I've totally forgotten it because, well, who's not a Rav member yet these days, huh?) but really, who's reading this blog anyway?

Suffice to say, there has been much knitting, so much knitting that I seem to have given myself an injury and I really should stop knitting, but I'm making socks with stripes now, and the urge to get through "just one more stripe sequence" is car--razy and I'm knitting myself into a repetitive stress injury and am powerless to stop it.

Only thing I can say right now is, thank Sod there are only 3 episodes of Sherlock extant, or I would probably be in a sling right now

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


There has been knitting lately, but no photos, and no blogging, which, these days, seem to go hand in hand.  I'm a crap photographer, have a crap camera, and don't set aside time to photograph my knitting, all very much required for a knit blogger.

But there has been knitting, as I've said, and there has been pondering about knitting, and crafting in general.  I've been putting a lot of thought lately into the process/product argument in crafting.  I'm still not entirely sure where I fall on this spectrum, because, you see, I am more aligned with the form/function end of things.  Specifically, the function side.  I can't say I'm all a product knitter, or sewer, or crafter in general, because I do, deeply, enjoy the fruits of my labours.  But where I tend to fall down is in the aesthetic side of things.  Because I really don't, and in a fairly terminal kind of way, care about how things look on me.  I care, deeply, however, about how they work on me, and about how they make me feel.

Because I am deeply, embarrassingly excited by a multi-colour, clown-vomit, elf-crap variegated sock yarn, endlessly entertained while knitting it, and shamefully happy while wearing it, I can't say that I have no aesthetic sense whatsoever.  It's just not one shared by, well, almost anyone else I know.  What I do spend a large amount of my crafting time thinking about (and far too little time doing, comparatively speaking) is about how the garment will work for me.

I live in a city with one of the coldest, longest winters on Earth (I'm a knitter for a reason, it's not just the soft/shiny happy of yarn shopping that draws me in, and just ask me how warm any fiber is compared to wool, I guarantee you, I know.)  My quest in clothing myself by hand is not to be fashionable, though covering my nakedness is a constant goal.  It's the Quest for Warm that I'm hunting here.  And that's where my mind's been for the last few years.  And I realize that I haven't even begun to document that here, so, while I have some warm weather to relax in for the next few months, that's what I would like to focus on.  Inspired by Kate's Winter Walking Outfit, and the realization that I spend a lot of time outside in the sort of cold that most people would think deathly, while dressed in clothes that just don't quite meet the needs of a Winnipeg Winter, and that I have, amply, the skill to make the sort of clothes that would keep me warm, dry and comfortable, I have formulated a plan for a year round wardrobe for walking and cycling that is both weather and activity appropriate, and, hopefully, not horrible to look at.

First up this month, a summer/fall wrap for chilly nights. Queued up on Ravelry, or on my personal knitting list, is a few more hats, cowls, scarves and mitts for various different temperatures and needs (yes, I really do need a summer night wool tuque here in Winnipeg), and a self-designed shrug for bike riding.  Details to come, hopefully photos of FO's too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Xmas knitting, planning and thinking

There has been much in the way of furious and not entirely satisfying knitting going on around here. With Xmas two weeks away (eek!) I haven't even cleared a space in the living room to put a tree up, and any baking that gets done will probably be ingested long before it's cooled and theoretically gifted. So the knitting is all the signs of Christmas being around the corner in my house.

Pattern:Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt (in Favorite Socks)
Yarn:Araucania Ranco Multy in the most fabulous
green/blue/brown colourway that I can'teven begin to capture here
(bottom 2 photos closest to real colour)
Gift for my eldest niece but one

Christmas is not my favorite of holidays. Nothing particularly against it, it's not like I have a long, painful history of bitter family Christmas's, like some, if not most, of my friends.

Christmas was always very nice for me as a child, if the rest of the year wasn't so much. My family were Irish Catholic immigrants, so Christmas for us was actually what it's supposed to be, visiting with family and the adopted extended family of other Irish immigrants, choir practice, church (lots of church, but there were plays and nativity scenes, and in general much less boring than the rest of the year), lots of food, British candy and goodies sent over from the relatives (I looked forward to my Terry's Chocolate Orange every year), packages of presents and new Christmas outfits. And since it was the birth of Jesus, time of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men, kind of time, actually very peaceful and relaxing. I don't remember my mom going crazy over gifts, any bullshit competition with the neighbors, any crazed last minute mall runs (to give her props, my mom was probably done with the Xmas shopping and crafting by June, and had everything wrapped shortly after finishing the Halloween costumes.)

These days, my family is pretty spread out, I've lost touch with most of the other expat Irish families (many of the parent generation have moved back to Ireland, or out to that other Ireland, Coastal BC), I'm a church avoiding atheist and Christmas to most of the people in my life now is, and always has been, all about the mass consumption of gifts. So the meaning that Christmas used to have for me is gone, and all the season means for me now is that crazed consumption (ok, tried to bring the boy to one of our old churches for Xmas Eve Candlelight mass when he was 6 or so, soooo did not work out well. One of these days I'll recount the "Religion Burns" incident.)

One of the ways I try to make Xmas have some reasonable meaning to me is to focus on family and meaningful gifts, things that I think will make the recipient happy, and also have a happy and significant meaning for me. This year (well, last New Year's) I decided to hand make all my Xmas gifts this year. It was a bit of an over stretch for me, as I've been cutting gifts off the list in the last two weeks, but having decided to do this a year ago, and working slowly but constantly throughout the year, I have a bunch of hand knit items that I'm proud to be gifting, and a slightly refined plan of attack for next year. Like not knitting every single thing on the list, I can sew and bead too, and those are waaaay quicker, more bang for your buck kind of crafts. I can then make more stuff for the people lower down on my list (you know, best friends partner, coworkers new baby), without slighting the people I really want to make something special for.

And right now, as much as I'm looking forward to some non-deadline knitting (and I've been knitting on a deadline for about 10 months now, so I'm looking forward to that a LOT), I've already created the worksheet for next Xmas, and bought myself a copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia, to make some really, really special gifts for my favorite nieces. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crappy FO pics

Despite the fact that I've owned my camera for, like 4-5 years, I never had any clue what that weird macro setting was for, until I started reading knitting blogs. It's funny to me that most of my friends and co-workers think that my knitting is such an old-fashioned, matronly hobby, but I've actually been learning quite a bit about web-site design and digital photography from reading other knitting blogs and the sort of problems and solutions bloggers have encountered in developing their own blogs.

This is a long-winded way of saying that my FO pics still suck, but I'm now encouraged to learn how to actually, you know, use my camera and hope that the pics will improve sometime soon.

Today's mystery object are a pair of Clown Vomit mitts for my youngest niece's birthday, yarn picked out by the fashion maven herself, who I would have thought wouldn't have been caught dead in something like this. She picked out the yarn, and requested an idiot string attached to them. Did I mention she's 15 and two older, very fashionable sisters. Yeah, I'm pretty stunned myself.

The mitts knit up super fast, once I actually sat down and committed to a few hours of knitting on them. Once again I assumed that a project can get completed through a process of knitting 10 stitches or so, then wandering off to look at new, sexier projects on Ravelry, then virtually shopping for yarn in quantities I can't possible afford.

Funny how this is the cheapest, crappiest yarn possible, the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I'm chewing on styrofoam and that I'd avoid at all costs, but the niece loved the mitts so much. Yeah, there's enough left for a hat. Soon to be seen in the Xmas FO parade (sometime around next Thanksgiving.)

Oh, yeah, details, pattern just roughed up on the fly, cast on enough stitches to fit around my wrist, knit till they were long enough. Details, bah, I defy you, careful details!

Ravelled here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Much happenings

There has been stuff going one, knitting and not so knitting. Even a few photos taken.

And then there was some H1N1, still lingering in the Boy, who's been going to sleep at about 6pm every night.

So, between Xmas knitting, winter necessities knitting, and more than a few socks, I have a bunch of projects to share. Hoping to get some sunshine this Sunday to take photos (in between my weekly winter Sunday routine of screaming at the TV, Go Steelers!) And then to have a real post to put up.