Long breaks between blogs is getting to be the norm around here. I'm still living in London during the week and back in Norfolk at the weekends. This means that I can't sew during the week.
Instead of buying patterns during the week and dreaming up what to sew (which I was doing a lot of) I decided to use my time more productively. I finally got around to learning to knit properly. By that I mean I no longer look at written pattern and say:
- “What the ….??” after the first few rows of ribbing;
- “Why does knitting have to be so damn complicated”.
- “Why can't they write the patterns in plain English rather than in stupid codes”
With a lot of help from the internet, my knitting book and Ravelry I now understand the “codes”. Sorry for calling your codes stupid knitting designers. I now know that they're not at all stupid. Once you have taken the time to understand them they are stupidly simple!
My first project reading a pattern was the Broad Street mittens by Janis Cortese. This is a free pattern from Knitty.com and also appears on Ravelry. (I tell a lie – my first knitting project reading a pattern was at aged 11 when clever me somehow managed to knit dolls with hair and everything).
There are a few errors in the pattern and I had a lot of help reading this forum post and this Ravelry finished project post.
I also watched on You Tube, in full, a series of videos about knitting gloves in the round. Although the pattern I used was slightly different, I learned from the video how to knit in the round and how to knit the fingers. I also learned how to pick up the stitches when knitting the fingers, including adding one stitch to join with the next stitch when knitting in the round. One great thing about knitting stocking stitch in the round is that it eliminates the need for purl rows as you are always facing a knit row.
In hindsight it was a challenging pattern to start off with. I would say that if you can get past this pattern you are totally ready to knit a sweater. It's not a great leap to turn a glove upside down and understand how a top-down sweater is knitted. The wrist of the glove is similar to the neck and the thumb of the glove is similar to how a sleeve is knitted. Knitting a sweater is exactly what I'm working on now. I'm nearing the end of the second sleeve and I can't wait to show you.
Anyway here are some pictures of my gloves:
Here are the details.
2 x 50g balls of Patons Madella, 83% acrylic, 17% wool. (From my stash)
Changes to the pattern / Clarification of pattern instructions / Corrections to the pattern
Swatch / Needle size
I did a swatch with the recommended needle size but the fabric produced came out way to big (it's supposed to be 28 stitches to 4 inches in stocking stitch. I reduced my needles to a 2.75 mm needles, made another swatch and this came out fine.
The pattern didn't tell you to use a smaller needle for the cuff and the ribbing on the mitten cap. On the second glove I used a smaller needle for these sections. I preferred the look of the tighter cuff and ribbing on the second glove.
The thumb increase on the Broadstreet mitten is unusual in that the increases only happen on one side of the thumb. This means there is no “increase line” showing at the front of the glove. The “increase line” is on the palm side of the glove, supposedly where it will be seen less.
The pattern uses four double pointed needles, two for the palm and two for the back of the hand. From reading Ravelry and other notes about the pattern there was some confusion about the thumb gusset increase.
For the thumb increase (on the left hand) you need to purl in the same place on the second needle and then do your make one increases after that on the second needle until you have 12 stitches. Therefore on the second needle on every other row:
K 13, purl 1, make 1 (twisted), knit to the end of the row (end of the row being the end of the 4th needle where the tail end is.
Then on the normal (non-increased) row in between the increase rows it is just knit all the way round the row to the tail end except on the second needle it is:
K13, purl 1, knit to end of needle.
I'm not sure I was doing the twisted make 1 correctly. The You tube video I found just seemed to be the normal make 1, which I used.
Cast on after separating thumb
After finishing the thumb increases you had to knit around to the end of the second needle (ie at stitch 13 and just before the 14 stitches thumb stitches put on a holder) and then cast on 11 stitches. I did this by turning my work the wrong side (so the purl stitches facing me) and adding the using the cable cast on method.
After knitting up to where the pinky finger starts, the pattern instructions were a bit sparse. Luckily I had already watched the glove knitting videos linked above so I knew what to do. I wrote out the following instructions to fill in the gaps in the pattern instructions at this point:
- After putting the 3 middle finger stitches on a holder the pattern tells you to cast on one stitch on the ring finger side. However the tail end side of the work where you are starting from is on the other side, so you have to knit up to this point and then cast on one stitch. I used the cable cast on again.
- The pattern didn't tell you to knit two stitches together from the two sections like it did for the thumb cast on stitches. I therefore cast on an extra stitch (so two cast on stitches instead of one) and knit the extra stitch together with the first stitch from the back of the hand pinky.
- The pattern didn't tell you to transfer the pinky stitches onto more than one double pointed needle. I found I couldn't knit with just two double pointed needle so I transferred my stitches onto 4 double pointed needles. (With so many needles I felt a bit like Edward Scissorhands at this point).
Middle and ring finger
Instead of picking up 2 stitches from the base of the ring finger (as in the pattern) I picked up 5. I reduced the 5 to 3 on the next round and then the 3 to 2 on the following round. This worked because there are no holes between the fingers. I also cast on an extra stitch on the opposite end of the 2 picked up stitches and then knit this with the first stitch on the needle holding the back of hand stitches. Again this prevents a hole appearing in your work.
The pattern said to pick up 12 stitches along the cast on edge (see “Cast on after separating thumb” above). This didn't seem enough to me. As I was concerned there would be gaps I picked up a stitch every couple of stitches and ended up picking up 17. I then knit one round and during this round I reduced the 17 picked up stitches to 12 and the followed the pattern instructions from there.
I read on Ravelry that people had difficulty with the star decreases on the middle shell. There is a mistake in the pattern and there should be two decreases per needle instead of one.
I wrote out what I needed to knit and decrease on each of the 4 needles and the corrected decrease instructions are as follows:
Starting with 56 stitches in all, on each needle:
Decrease row 1: k5, k2tog. Repeat. (48 stitches) (12 stitches per needle)
Rows 2 to 6: K 5 rounds even.
Decrease row 7: K4, k2tog on each needle. Repeat. (40 stitches) (10 stitches per needle)
Rows 8 to 11: K 4 rounds even.
Decrease row 12: K3, k2tog on each needle. Repeat. (32 stitches) (8 stitches per needle)
Rows 13 to 15: K 3 rounds even.
Decrease row 16: K2, k2tog on each needle. Repeat. (24 stitches) (6 stitches per needle)
Rows 17 to 18: K 2 rounds even.
Decrease row 19: K1, k2tog on each needle. Repeat. (16 stitches) (4 stitches per needle)
Row 20: K 1 round even.
Decrease row 21: K2tog on each needle. Repeat. (8 stitches) (2 stitches per needle)
Row 21A: K 1 round even (my addition)
Row 22: K2tog x 4 (4 stitches)
Row 22: K2tog x 4 (4 stitches)
Row 23: K 2 inches of I-cord on these 4 stitches.
To start the mitten cap, after knitting the ribbing for the mitten cap, you had to pick up 30 stitches across the mitten. The only way I could see to do this was to pick up the second leg of each of the 30 knuckle stitches onto two needles.
Right hand glove instructions
As mentioned above there are no instructions for the right hand. The only differences between the left and the right hand are the thumb increases and thumb decreases.
My notes for the right hand thumb increases are set out below.
For the thumb increase you need to purl in the same place on the third needle and then do your make one increases before that on the third needle until you have 12. Therefore on the third needle on every other row:
Work out where the increases will be on needle 3 by either: noting where you need to purl by looking to see which stitch is purled on the previous row; or counting back from the end of needle 3 the stitches that will be the K 13, purl 1. K up to just before where the purl 1 will be, M1 (twisted), purl, knit to the end of the row (end of the row being the end of the 4th needle where the tail end is).
Then on the normal (non-increased) row in between the increase rows (as above) it is just knit all the way round the row to the tail end except on the third needle it is:
Work out where the purl will be by either: noting where you need to purl by looking to see which stitch is purled on the previous row; or counting back from the end of needle 3 the stitches that will be the K13, purl 1. K up to where your purl needs to go, purl, K to the end of the row.
My notes for the right hand thumb decreases are set out below.
After finishing the increases you have to knit around to the end of needle 2 (ie K 15) and then cast on 11 stitches onto needle 2. At the start of the third needle, after the 14 stitches are put on a holder, there should be 13 stitches left. With the 11th added stitch on needle 2 you join it with the first stitch on the third needle to close up the thumb hole.
Loose bind off for the fingers
When the pattern said “bind off loosely” for the fingers, I thought that meant just don't pull it too tight. I used the ordinary bind off for the first glove. After searching the term on You Tube I found that it is a different method of bind off using purl stitch and wrapping the yarn around the needle clockwise instead of anti-clockwise. Unsurprisingly my bind off has come out much better on the second glove.
The mitten shell has a length of i-cord at the tip for the button hole. By the time I came to my second glove I had read a tip about knitting the i-cord with a smaller needle to make it tighter. I did this and although it was difficult to knit the first few rows it has definitely came out tighter. I preferred the tighter look on the i-cord for the second glove.
I blocked my gloves and then they were ready to wear. It took me a while to get around to sewing the button on. This step was worthwhile as the mitten shells flap around when they are worn off the hand. How cute is the mitten shell? When worn off the hand they're like cute little beanies!
Overall I am really pleased with my mittens and I have worn them a lot at the weekend. They're really cosy and warm!
Now at the weekends I have to force myself to do some sewing! Hope to be back soon with my finished sweater and an easy sewing project I've finished.
Happy sewing (and knitting)!