Well, it had a been a long time since I touched my needles and yarn.. And after the holidays, I seemed to have missed them so much.. So I thought I’ll pick it up again for a pair of cute little mittens for my cousin’s son..
At first I browsed through Ravelry and went through the patterns in there.. I thought I’ll go with knitting it circular.. So there was this great pattern called “Baby Galway Mitts” there.
You can check it out if you like: http://jenniferhoel.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/baby-galway-mitts/
Me being a die-hard fan of cables and the intricacies, it was no surprise it caught my eye.. So I started it, as per the instructions using DPN’s.
But then, the mitten started turning out really big.. big enough to fit a 6-year olds hands. The kid is just barely 1!!
So I unraveled it.. and browsed through a number of patterns which were done flat then seamed up.
Actually the problem was in knitting with DPN’s which were really long.. see I had to divide the 38 stitches I had cast on between 3 needles.. This was really hard for me, given the length of the needles.. and after going up a few rows.. the work started to become loose.. and wide.. and BIG.
Such a shame, it’s a really great pattern.. and I wanted to do it so bad.. But looks like I still have a lot to learn.. and anyway, I shouldnt have over-reached and gone beyond my abilities for my first pair of mittens.. *hangs head in shame*
Anyhoo, after unraveling.. and browsing through so many other patterns..and a nice hot shower.. (That sure cleared my head)..
I decided I’ll do it my own way..
There was this one stitch I really liked.. the basic “Seed Stitch” which looked something like this:
I have never tried it, though I had come across it many times.
So with a stitch set in mind, I started.
Step 1: The Cast-On
The cast on for mittens, gloves etc. needs to be elastic, if you want it to be in place and not slip off. So I googled for the most elastic cast-on (I didn’t have much luck with the cable cast on).
And I found this! It was really useful:
Its pretty stretchy!
(There’s a long version to the video too.. Feel free to check it out)
I cast on 22 stitches.
Step 2: The Ribbing
A mitten or any other cuff that sits on the hand, usually has ribbing. If you’ve noticed almost all sweaters, have a ribbing. This gives it more elasticity.
Since the mittens are really small, I went with 1×1 ribbing.
The most important aspect to consider for ribbing is.. to use needles which are smaller than the needles you’re gonna use for the body of the project.
I used a needle two sizes smaller (2.5 mm) than the main needles(4.5 mm)
You can work up any number of rows, it depends on however long you want the cuff to be.
Step 3: The body of the project
There is a way to switch the needles from small to big. After reaching the desired length of the ribbing, at the start of the right or wrong side (It doesn’t matter which, both look the same!) ditch the right needle and use one of the bigger needles as the right. Knit as usual and transfer the stitches from the left (smaller) needle to the right (bigger) needle. When you’ve reached the end of the row, and there are no more stitches left, pick up the other bigger needle and start with the body of the work.
This ensures a smooth transition from the small needle to the big one. (the first time I tried, I tried to push the large needle through all the hoops on the small needle, and my yarn was on the verge of snapping!!)
Now for the seed stitch:
A seed stitch looks like that, because you knit your purls and purl your knit stitches.
So if on the row below theres a knit, you have to purl it. If the next stitch is a purl, you have to knit it.
You’re basically doing the opposite of what is on the row below. That is what gives it a beautiful pattern. And the beauty of seed stitch is, there is no right and wrong side!
Now for the Bobble:
Okay, so well after doing two rows of the seed stitch, I wanted to add some pizzazz to it.. and I couldn’t figure out, if I wanted to do cables or something else.. But then, the mitten was too small and a cable would be barely seen.
That’s when I remember seeing a bobble on the Baby Galway Mitten. And suddenly I had the urge to try that out.
I set out on a google quest to find out about bobbles and I was getting nowhere. Most of the bobbles weren’t pronounced and then I hit upon a pdf I had downloaded Eons ago.. and there it was.. the perfect bobble!! It had been right under my nose, and I didnt know it!
I’d like to share that pdf with you guys. I have no idea whose it is.. I If anyone does, I’ll be happy to give the credit.
Here it is: Stitches in knitting
It has a list of all the basic stitches, and its great for a beginner!
To add a bobble I needed to know the centre.. so that I could decide this was the palm and the other was the top. Well, I had cast on 22 stitches, I split them up as 11 each and placed a stitch marker after the 1st 11 stitches. these were the top of the mitten. now I needed to split this up, to find the exact centre to place the bobble. And lucky for me it was an odd number!
The bobble was completely whimsical and its yet another example of how I dont plan any of my projects!
Anyway, the 11 could be split up as 5-1-5.
After doing the first 5 stitches, I knit front and back and front into the next stitch. I made 3 stitches from 1 stitch.
Then I turned my work and knit into only those 3 stitches. Again I turned my work and purled only those 3 stitches. After purling, I slipped the 2nd over the 1st and the 3rd over the 2nd.
I got only one stitch remaining. Same as what we started with.
The bobble after 5 stitches..
Notice how the rest of the stitches are still on the left needle, incomplete.
Now continue the row as usual.
I just eyeballed the thing, and decided I’ll make 3 bobbles.
Step 4: Finishing off the tip
After the 3rd bobble, I did two more rows of the seed stitch, then switched to smaller needles (1 size smaller- I chose a 3.5mm) as explained before.
I continued for another 2 rows.
Then came the decreases:
knit 3, knit 2 together. I continued this throughout.
At first, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to decrease at the wrong side as well..
(Right side: with the bobbles
Wrong side: without the bobbles)
But I went ahead and did it, against my better judgement, and it turned out pretty awesome!
After 2 consecutive rows of the above decrease.. I proceeded with the next decrease..
Knit 2, knit 2 together. And continued across.
I did the same till I ended up with about 7-6 stitches.
Step 5: Bind off and Seaming
I cut the yarn after a length and hooked it up with a yarn needle. I inserted the needle through the 7-6 stitches and tightened it. Then to make sure, I inserted all through again.
After that I turned the mittens inside out and started sewing them up using whip stitch.
Voila, the mittens were finally complete!
The mitten has a nice rounded shape, because I switched to the smaller needles.