Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pattern Notes, or How to Decorate a Mitt

I've been reminded that I forgot to link the pattern I used for the green cowl. It's 'La-La-Love-You' by Sandra Park, available free at the Popknits site (in the link). One warning if you make the cowl: the instructions still contain (as of last week or so) the border sts for a flat knit. So take those out and just follow the chart. I wanted to make a pair of matching mitts, so I used my 'standard recipe' for adding a motif to a pair of plain ribbed mitts.

Heart Motif Mitts
For these mitts, I used 3 vertical repeats of the heart motif from the cowl pattern. BTW, I do the left mitt first. Sandy has small hands, so I started with 36 sts on US4 needles. I like to knit mitts pretty firmly, so I go down at least one, if not 2 needle sizes from the size per the label, and 2 sizes smaller than that for the wrist and top ribbing. I knit pretty loosely, so you may want larger needles.

Knit 12 rows of 2x2 ribbing with US4 needles. Then switch to US6 needles.
To center the motif, here's the math: I try to leave at least 2 sts between the thumb gusset and the beginning of the motif. For this 36-st mitt, the motif took 14 sts, and the 2 sts before and after centered the motif perfectly (14 +2+2 = 18).

Starting from the beginning of the round, knit 2 sts then work Row 1 of the motif, omitting the beginning and ending yo's and decreases on the chart, followed by 2 more knit sts. For the rest of the round follow in the 2x2 ribbing. Knit across the motif sts for the even-numbered rows, then work the ribbing. For the first Row 3, again omit the yo's and the decreases. Follow the chart through one repeat and through the 2nd Row 4.

In Row 5 of the 2nd repeat, begin the thumb gusset, working 2 increases (M1 or Kf&b, your choice) between the 2 purl sts just before the 2 knit sts at the edge of the motif. Work double increases (one on each side) on each pattern row until you have 16 increased sts, working in the 2x2 ribbing. To make this easier to keep in pattern, make all the increases after the first purl st and before the last purl st. You'll be gradually adding 2x2 ribs one st at a time, like this: Row 1, p1, increase 2 sts, p1. Row 2, purl 4 sts. Row 3, p1, incr1, p2, incr1, p1. Row 4 p1, k1, p2, k1, p1. This is fiddly, but comes out looking nice. You can work the gusset in stockinette for simplicity if you prefer.

On the next pattern row, knit the first increase st in the 2x2 pattern, put the next 14 sts on waste yarn, and then knit the last increase st. When you finish the 3rd repeat of the motif, switch to US4 needles and work 5 rows of 2x2 ribbing and bound off in pattern, cutting the yarn.

Then transfer the thumb gusset sts back to US 4 needles, join a new strand of yarn and knit around, picking up 2 sts from the main portion of the mitt, thus having 16 sts (multiple of 4). I knitted 6 rows and bound off. If you have loose sts or open spaces, leave an extra length of yarn when you join the yarn, so you have a bit to weave in to tighten up the holes.

For the right mitt, begin the thumb gusset increases between the 2 purl sts to the left of the motif.

'Recipe Notes'
You can use this 'recipe' to add any motif you like to the back of mitts. Just center the motif over 1/2 of the sts you cast on for the mitt, leaving at least 2 sts between the edge of the motif and the thumb gusset. If you don't want a thumb, you'll stop at the stitch where you would begin the thumb increases, then work back and forth as if flat knitting for however many rows you want the thumb slit to be, then return to working in the round. The thumb slit part I'm winging here, since I almost always put in a thumb.

If you want a larger diameter to your mitt, using more sts (for 2x2 ribbing must be divisible by 4), you'll need to adjust the starting point of your motif, leaving more sts between it and the thumb gusset to center the motif. If you want your thumb shorter or longer, add or subtract rows after you pick up the sts.

Cabled Mitts
For the cabled mitts I'm working on, I cast on 44 sts for a larger mitt. The cable pattern takes up 14 sts, and I've centered it between 2 purl sts on each side, since I think that sets off the cables best. So again I have 18 sts. To put the design in the center of the back of the mitt, I have 4 sts between the beginning of the thumb gusset increases rather than 2 (2 purl sts and 2 knit sts). That gives me 22 sts, half of the total.

Begin the ribbing as k2, p2. Knit as many rounds of 2x2 rib as you want, then at the point where you reach the base of the hand:

Round 1: K2, [P2, 3sts to cable needle, hold in front, knit 3 sts then 3 sts from cable needle] twice, p2, then continue round in 2x2 ribbings. This is an 'outside cable' twist row.
Rounds 2-5: Work 2x2 ribbing around

Inside Cable Twists

Round 6: [K2, p2] twice, move 3sts to cable needle, hold in front, knit 3 sts then 3 sts from cable needle, continue 2x2 ribbing around.
Round 7: Work 2x2 ribbing around, except knit the 6 cable sts.
Rounds 8-9: Repeat Row 7
Repeat Rounds 6-9 twice more.
Knit 6 rows of 2x2 ribbing around; the 6 cable sts should be knitted as k2,p2,k2

Outside Cable Twists
Round 1: Repeat Row 1, except work 2 gusset increase sts between the last 2 purl sts of the round
Rounds 2-5: Repeat Row 7 , working gusset increase sts on the odd-numbered rounds
Repeat Rounds 1-5 twice more.
Continue working 2x2 ribbing until you have 16 gusset increase sts. See instructions for the Heart Motif Mitts for further details of working the thumb gusset.

When you move the 14 gusset sts to waste yarn, change to US 4 needles and knit at least 5 more rounds of 2x2 ribbing. Bind off in pattern. For the right mitt, you can either make the cables the same way or hold the first 3 sts in back, which will make the twists go in the opposite direction. This would make the cables on both mitts twist outward.

Looking at these now, for symmetry, there should have been 2 'outside twists' at the beginning and the end, rather than one and 3. Oh, well. This modification I leave to you, my talented knitter friends.

Of course, if all of this is as clear as Mississippi gumbo mud to you, LMK and I'll try to clarify. Enjoy!!


Cindy G said...

That's not lack of symmetry, it's a "design feature". (G)

Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Sandra said...

I agree with Cindy - design feature is my favourite description...

thanks for the cowl link!!

junior_goddess said...

Just dropped in to say HI!!!

smariek said...

Nice cables. I think symmetry bothers the designer more than the giftee. I make liberal use the term "design feature". Thanks for the recipe notes, I'm sure many people will find this helpful.