Whoo-hoo! This is my 100th post... which is pretty exciting! In honor of this event, I'm going to send a small prize to a randomly-chosen (by Bill) person who comments on this post by noon next Thursday (the 12th). Tell us what you're knitting for the holidays?
And here is part of this past week's fingerless mitt harvest. There are at least three different ways to make plain fingerless mitts, and this photo shows two of them
with the tools of the trade, in this instance, double pointed needles. Look closely and you'll notice there's a range of sizes and materials (birch, metal, bamboo) ranging from 6" long to 10 " long. A few knitters were discussing this today and our consensus was that we prefer using 10 inch long double pointed needles to circulars for their versatility. The longer the needles, by the way, the more likely the work in progress will stay where you want it. And a confession - the longer I knit, the less attention I pay to uniformity in size of needle. I'm happy with the results when the needles are more or less in the ballpark of the same size as each other. The yellow and dark purple solid-colored mitts are Kraemer's Mauch Chunky yarn (100% wool, $7.50/100 gram skein/ size 9 needles); the multicolored ones are "Big and Beautiful" ( a hand-dyed-by-me line, 50% superwash merino, 50% nylon, super-bulky, knits like butter, $16/100 gram skein, size 10.5 needles).
Using a long-tail cast-on the Mauch Chunky, cast on 27 stitches on three needles: 10 on the first needle, 8 on the second, 9 on the third. (In the B&Beautiful, cast on 25 stitches on three needles - 8, 8 and 9.) Take the last stitch and move it to the needle with the first stitch. Holding the yarn "tail" with the yarn from the ball, knit those first two stitches together with the doubled yarn, then purl the next stitch with the doubled yarn, continue around alternating a knit stitch with a purl stitch to create a stretchy ribbing. Continue in ribbing with the usual single strand when the tail has been used up.
*** Here is an alternate method for those who don't have, or are daunted by using all those double pointed needles. Knit the whole shooting match on straight needles, adding up all the rows and knitting them in ribbing until the bind-off. You'll shape the mitts in the sewing-together part and you'll get nearly the same result (only you'll have a seam). Using the double pointeds, of course, you don't need a seam. ***
When you're 20 rounds from the cast-on, turn your knitting so the inside faces you and knit three needles back (in the "wrong" direction) with the inside facing you. This is creating the thumb opening. Turn the knitting again and knit three needles the other way. Knit back and forth for 9 rows, then on row 10, continue around on the right side for 8 more rounds. Bind off.
(alternate thumb opening was used in the variegated mitts. At row 22, I bound off 7 stitches, then immediately knitted on 9 using the cable or knitted cast-on method. I continued around the mitt for 8 more rows before binding off. This is essentially creating a large buttonhole opening in the mitt which keeps the base of your thumb warmer. But it doesn't look quite as nice as the first method. I try to remember to use the first method, but I don't always remember, and once you've started that buttonhole bind-off/cast on you're sort of committed.)
These mitts are actually fine as they are once you've woven /sewn in ends. But if you, like me, have some eyelash/novelty yarn left in your stash, it's a neat way to give your mitts a little pizazz. The one mitt already treated here has two rows of eyelash added in loose single crochet.
It takes me about 2 hours to knit a pair of fingerless mitts. They are versatile because you can wear them in semi-cool weather on their own, or over a pair of inexpensive "magic" gloves, even mittens, when the weather is colder. So there's still enough time to make a pair for everyone on your list... or are you holding out for next week's easy cowl pattern?