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The Perfect Mitts

Last week my hands were cold. I plucked a random ball of leftover Cascade 220 out of my stash and set about making a quick pair of fingerless mitts.

A week later, after obsessively ripping back and fiddling and re-knitting them, my hands were still cold. But I had nearly completed The Perfect Mitts.

Last night I finally ripped back for the last time and re-knit them to my satisfaction. And I have to say, this morning I was quite pleased to (finally) have something warm on my hands before the cabin warmed up.

The Perfect Mitts

As you can see, The Perfect Mitts are knit mainly in 2×2 rib. The gauge is 5 st/inch and 7 rows/inch. That’s a little tighter than Cascade 220 calls for, but I find it’s the perfect gauge for the yarn (unless you’re working cables). I get this gauge on #5 needles, but I knit loosely.

I started with this pattern generator. And indeed, it must be said, this generator will produce a perfectly serviceable pair of mitts. But not Perfect ones.

Here are the features, from bottom to top:

1. 40 stitches cast on using the Old Norwegian cast on. (I tried a few others, but they were either too tight [Long tail] or too loose [tubular].)

2. 30 rounds in 2×2 rib. Then place two markers, one on each side of a knit column. The thumb gusset grows out of a column of knit stitches. This means that, unlike most patterns, there won’t be a stitch in between your first two increase stitches. (Place marker, m1, m1, place marker.)

The Perfect Mitts

3. Increase two stitches every other round, as you usually would. (slip marker, m1, knit, m1, slip marker). Do this until you have 12 stitches in between the markers. Put those stitches on a scrap of waste yarn.

4. On your next pass, ordinarily you would cast on 2 stitches to cover the gap. Instead, m1 on each side of the gap and knit around. Doing it this way makes the holes less noticeable.

5. Work 8 rounds in rib.

6. On the 9th round, p2tog each column of purl stitches. This narrows the top of the mitt, so it fits your hand better and is less likely to flop or sag. (Thanks to Dorothy for both this and the tip in #4!)

7. Work one more round, then use a suspended bind off. (As with the cast on, I tried other methods, but they were either too loose or too firm.)

8. Pick up those live stitches on the thumb, plus one stitch on each side, plus two at the top. Distribute them on your DPNs and knit 6 rounds, then use a suspended bind off. Leave a long tail when you break the yarn, so that you can weave it down and use it to close up the inevitable thumb gaps.

Obviously, this level of detail is far more than you need for a pair of fingerless mitts. But they please me.

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