With Eldest Mudlets’ Christmas present finished, a wistful Middle Mudlet sighed that it would be nice to get something hand made by me in her stocking. There simply wasn’t time to make both of the younger girls something substantial but after checking the availability of left over yarn, I thought a pair of hand warmers each would fit the bill and wouldn’t take too long.
Decision made, my next task was to find a pattern to work with. A quick look at Ravelry and I soon found a good selection of patterns but closer inspection threw up a problem – all the patterns I found were knitted in the round! Regular readers of my blog will know that the one aspect of garment making I really don’t like, is setting sleeves. However, I can honestly say that I would rather set a dozen sleeves than knit in the round. I just can’t get on with it and don’t enjoy it at all.
Hummmm. What to do? Well I decided that the obvious solution would be to knit each mitt in one piece on normal, single pointed needles, before folding the finished piece in half and sewing a seam down the inside/ thumb edge of each mitt.
I used the Ravelry size guides on the various patterns as a starting point, with 36 stitches and 3.25mm needles for Little Mudlets’ pair and between 40 and 46 stitches on 4mm needles for the other 4 pairs.
To ensure the younger girls didn’t realise that I was making some hand warmers for them, I pretended these were for their big sister and I was making her two pairs so when one was in the wash she had the other to fall back on. This worked a treat, especially as for the most part, I was working them in two different yarns and so it looked like I actually was making two pairs for Eldest Mudlet rather than just two pairs – if you see what I mean.
Once the first pair was completed, I got Middle Mudlet to try them for size “because your hands are only slightly smaller than your sister’s so I should get a good idea of how they will fit her,” I told her.
“I wouldn’t mind some of these,” she said looking at them rather wistfully.
“I’ll make you some after Christmas,” I promised her.
The thumb hole proved easy enough to do as well. After about 3 to 4 inches of knitting (this section was the cuff and wrist covering bit) I cast off 3 stitches at the start of the next two rows, then decreased 1 stitch at each end of next 3 or 4 rows ( dependent on the size of hand destined to wear the warmers) and then knitted a couple of rows without decreasing. Next I simply reversed the decrease instructions and followed them until I had reformed the stitches, I had cast off to create the thumb hole. I then continued to work until I had almost reached the desired overall length of the mitts. Each pair I made was finished with a little lace cuff around the fingers to complete the design. One thing I learned the hard way was to cast off LOOSELY to allow for comfort and stretch.
To finish the mitts I joined the seam at the wrist end from the cast on edge to the start of the decreasing for the thumb. Then with the right side of the mitt facing me, I rejoined the yarn and then picked up knitwise 30 or 32 stitches (again depending on the hand size of the recipient) evenly, working from one open end of the thumb hole to the other.
I decided on a plain stocking stitch for the thumbs as follows:
- R1, R3 and following alternate rows: P to end
- R2: K to end
- R4 depending on 30 (32) stitches:* K3 (K4) K2tog* repeat from * to * until end of row
- R6 depending on 30 (32) stitches:* K2 (K3) K2tog* repeat from * to * until end of row
- R8 & R9: K
- Cast of remaining stitches LOOSELY knitwise.
All that remained was to finish sewing the seams, tidying the loose ends and wrapping for Christmas.
In the end I knitted three pairs in the Wendy Modes left over from Eldest Mudlets’ jumper which went to, Eldest Mudlet, Middle Mudlet and my friend Christine. Little Mudlet got a purple pair made from the King Cole Moods dk I used for my jumper and a final pair was made for Christines’ daughter using more of the King Cole Flash yarn I had previously used for her hat and Middle Mudlets jumper.
Both the younger girls were delighted to find a pair each in their stockings and I enjoyed making them They were a quick project and each pair has a different design so they are truly unique. My only criticism is that I didn’t take into account the two stitches needed for the seam when I worked out the pattern on each pair and so to my eyes the pattern panel is slightly off centre but that is a lesson learned for next time.