We are having a Mitten Challenge for the Rez and this is the pattern that I came up with--fast, easy and uses the Magic Loop Method. I'll be posting photos later. My friend, Ann, of Sheep Shots fame(http://sheepshots.blogspot.com/
) added some additional info for DPNS.
REMINDER: the Afterthought Thumb makes a thumb that just sticks out on the side. Kids can put them on either hand and they will fit. If you want to block them with a little steam to keep them on one side or the other, you certainly can. But I figured that the first time the kids went out and played in the snow, their hands would shape the mittens just fine!
Esther Paris of Providence, RI area worked out that you could easily move the thumb to the opposite side by putting the Afterthought Thumb at stitches 10-16. You may want to do the same, especially if you are knitting them for adults. Esther also came up with an easy counting system for the mittens: 20 rows for the cuff, 20 rows for the base, 20 rows post thumb and then the shaping. Then, the thumb is 20 rows too. Easy way not to have to measure all the time! Thanks, Esther! You made my little pattern even BETTER!
MINDLESS CHILD'S MITTENS (c) Anami Love Bremer
Magic Loop method
Size 5 or 6 circ needles. DPNS for thumb.
Worsted yarn or two strands of sock yarn, mostly wool for warmth.
Can use larger needles and bulky yarn for bigger mittens.
BASIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAGIC LOOP METHOD:
When I cast on for Mindless Mittens, I usually knit two rows of K2, P2
before I pull out the loop.
I use the tail of the cast on yarn later to sew those few stitches up.
But when I have those two rows of K2, P2 done, I count to 16 sts and pull
out the loop there. That leaves 16 sts on each needle. I
make sure the ribbing is not twisted (that's the reason I knit those two
rows in the first place!) and then place the 16 sts with the working yarn hanging down on the BACK, and the 16 sts that need to be knitted to join the stitches in a tube on the FRONT needle.
Pull the BACK needle gently until a loop forms on the right and knit across the 16 sts on the front needle. Your yarn will now be on your left.
Turn your work around and hold it in your left hand. You will have 16 sts and
a long cable/needle hanging on the FRONT now.
Push that front cable back through the sts until those 16 sts are on the needle.
When there are 16 sts on the FRONT needle and 16 sts on the BACK needle and you are holding them in your left hand, this is called HOME position.
Then you pull the back needle out to form the loop on the right and knit the front sts again.
Cast on 32 sts.
Divide sts. 16 and 16 for magic loop.
Knit ribbing for 3 inches.
Knit in stockinette stitch for 3 inches.
With a contrasting thread, knit 7 sts, put these same sts
back on the left needle and knit across with main color yarn. For the afterthought thumb.
Continue knitting around for another 3 inches.
Decrease as if to make a toe to finish top.
Row 1. K 1, SSK, knit to within the last 3 sts, K 2 tog.
Return to home position, REPEAT.
You have decreased two sts on each needle of mitten.
Row 2. Knit a complete round
Continue decreasing this way till 8 sts remain on each needle.
Graft with Kitchener stitch to close top.
Thumb: Pick out contrasting yarn and place sts on dpns. Pick up extra sts in corners to avoid holes. K 2 tog at corners to tighten.
Knit around till thumb measures about 2 to 2 1/2 inches, then cut yarn
and thread through all sts twice and pull tight.
It really is easy to do. Try it with some worsted wt. yarn and big needles
to make it easier to learn. Knitting those first two rows of ribbing really
helps to prevent twisting when you start to knit in the round and it only
takes a few sts when you are sewing in the ends to tighten it up.
Hope this helps. I've come to love this way to make socks and mittens! No
DPNS to get lost!
Ann's alternative explanation of above:
Anami has offered us a way to do these mittens using circular needles
(sorry, Anami, it's dpn's all the way for me. I'm an old-fashioned knitter)
When using circular needles, you can use the Magic Loop method (Bev Galakasdeveloped this one) with one very long needle. You pull a loop of the
cord out through the knitting to get it out of your way.
Or you can use the 2 circular method (this is why you "split" the
stitches--half on each needle). Cat Bohrdi (again sp?--why can't designers
have names like Smith and Jones?) publicized this method.
Essentially, you are making a tube, by whatever method makes you happy. *I*
will be trying this one using a set of 4 double points..
Cast on 32. Join. Rib until you can't stand it any more or for 3
inches--whichever is LONGER (we want a nice deep cuff). Switch to
stockinette (knit every round) for another 3".
This mitten uses an "afterthought" thumb--i.e. no gusset. Take another piece
of yarn (about 18" in the same weight, but a contrasting color and knit 7
stitches. Slip these stitches BACK onto the left needle, go back to your
regular yarn and knit them again. (This is where you will add the thumb
later, an afterthought.)
Knit 3 more inches in rounds of plain stockinette.
You now have a 9" tube with a funny little stripe. The first 3" is in
ribbing, the last 6 is plain.
"Make a toe" means (this is how I interpret it) you are going to finish off
the top like you would the toe of a sock.Here's how:
Split the stitches onto 2 needles (if, like me, you are using dpns). On each
needle, k 1, decrease (ssk), knit to last 3 stitches, decrease (k 2
tog--this will form matching "pairs" of decreases), k1. Repeat on other
needle. Knit one round even (no decrease).
Repeat these 2 rounds until 16 total stitches (8 on each needle) remain.
Close up the top by grafting (Kitchener stitch--you can google this and get
pictures and videos) or (another way) draw up the stitches and fasten off
like you would the top of a hat.
Now, go back to your little stripe. Pick the contrasting stitches out one by
one and put them onto your double points. You're going to have 7 stitches
and 6 stitches (13 total) or 7 stitches and 8 stitches (15 total--I forget
which way that works) and you'll want to pick up at least one stitch at each
end to fill any holes that form (you'll see how and why as you do this. This
is a blind faith and trust thing).
Knit the "tube" that you are forming until it's about 1.25" (I'm
guesstimating based on my own thumb to hand-length ratio), knit 2 together
around. Draw up, fasten off.
Make a matching one.
Make another one.