A few weeks ago I was teaching a private lesson after hours in the shop when a nice old guy knocked at the door. He asked if we repaired things for people, and I said we did, but that we were closed and he’d have to come back the next morning. Twelve hours later, there he stood. His name was Bruce and he had a much loved pair of fingerless gloves… but he’d lost one of them recently. He wanted a new pair to replace them. None of our usual contract knitters wanted to do it so I volunteered. This is what I ended up with. The wool is Sirdar’s Town and Country sock wool, chosen because his originals were knitted in a variegated brown-and-white. They were a weird thickness of cotton though, so I had a hell of a time approximating the shape in a completely different guage wool. I also messed up the reverse shaping on the second glove and spent two nights repeatedly frogging it back to the thumb. I got there in the end though. I was worried he wouldn’t like them but he was totally happy, which was a major relief. No more commission jobs for a while, I think. Knitting for other people is too stressful.
Sweet mittens, eh?
So I finally finished my own pair of Broad Street Mittens with just a few weeks of winter left to spare. As you can see, mine are knitted in navy “argyle” sock wool from Heirloom. I basically followed the pattern as written (with a few exceptions based on the error I mentioned in the previous post). And yeah, I embroidered “DUDE” and “SWEET” on the backs of the mitten flaps in a subtle red wool. Heh. Somehow I doubt many of my fellow commuters are going to get the joke.
Broad Street Mittens
As the Snook daily complains about how “frickin’ freezin'” it is in the mornings, I decided to knit him these Broad Street Mittens from Knitty to keep him warm. They’re basically fingerless gloves with mitten shells attached to the knuckles. There’s a loop at the top of the mitten that you slip over a button on the cuff to keep them from flapping around. Cool, huh? I used some of the Bendigo sock wool I got at the Craft Fair last month and they turned out pretty nice. It wasn’t nearly as hard to knit gloves as I thought it would be. I churned these out fairly quickly too, despite the small gauge. (I figure it was about 10 hours or so per hand.) Now to knit some for me!
As usual with Knitty patterns, I ran into a couple snags and at least one outright error. Read on for my (voluminous) knitting notes…First off, the pattern tells you that you’ll need two sizes of double-pointed needles but it doesn’t tell you when to use them. I assumed at first that the smaller size was for the cuff but I wanted to be sure before I spent half the day knitting something too small. In desperation I had the Snook read over the pattern to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and he noticed a tiny line indicating that you’re supposed to use the bigger ones on the mitten shell. Fine, but there’s still nothing that says which to use on the glove. Eventually I just went with the smaller (2.75mm) ones. Whatever.
Okay, so that’s when I hit the major problem with the pattern: sizing. I cast on 48 and as I proceeded through the ribbing I realized pretty quickly that this was never going to fit over the Snook’s hand. After ripping back a couple of times, I finally accepted that I was going to be winging this and settled on 60 stitches for the wrist cuff. (I was actually doing them on two circs, so I had 30 on each one.) Then I did a row of *K5 INC 1* to get me up to 72 for the hand. Okay, so far so good.
(Actually, there’s a mistake in the pattern at this point but I didn’t catch it since I was changing the numbers. If you follow the instructions and use 48 for the cuff, you’re supposed to do a row of *K3 INC 1* to get to 60 stitches. Except that math is totally wrong. If you increase every third stitch over 48, you get 64 stitches. Should’ve been *K4 INC 1*. I only discovered this tonight when working my own smaller glove which uses the numbers from the pattern.)
Okay, so everything else stayed the same through the thumb gusset increases and subsequent decreases. I still had 72 stitches on the needles though so I needed to change the width of the fingers. That number happens to divide nicely by four so I made each finger 18 stitches around (9 from the front, 9 from the back, plus whatever extra I had to pick up or cast on). I changed the length of the fingers slightly too. The pinky ended up 13 rounds, the ring finger 14 rounds, and the other two were 18 rounds. (I had the Snook doing constant fittings, so that’s how I came up with these numbers.) The thumb was worked according to the pattern with a couple rows added for length. That was it for the glove, other than weaving in the ends.
For the mitten shell, I increased the number of stitches to 72 overall (to match the palm of the hand). So that meant I cast on 36 for the ribbing flap. Oh, and I used the larger 3.25mm needles here. Then I picked up 36 across the knuckles and started going around. I was worried at first because no matter how tightly I tugged the working yarn at the DPN joins, it always looked like there were huge ladders and gaps there. It seemed to resolve itself the further I knitted, though. I did the 17 rounds as stated and prepared to start the decreases, but it didn’t look like the shell was going to be long enough. So I modified the decrease pattern slightly. I did the “K to the last two stitches, K2tog”, then knitted a round even. Then I repeated the “K to the last two stitches, K2tog”. Then I added two lines to the pattern: “K6, K2tog. K 5 rounds even.” Followed the pattern all the way down to the last “K2tog on each needle” and realized I still had too many stitches, so I repeated that line again. That left me with the required four stitches for the I-cord. Unfortunately I still think the mitten shell’s a little small. The Snook’s fingers are rather broad and the mitten is a little too pointy, I think. I tried to block it out and was moderately successful. I think it’ll stretch and mold to his hand as he wears them.
One last pattern weirdness: At the end of the directions it says “Stitch the edges of the ribbing flap down along the sides of the hand” but the accompanying photos don’t show this. I wasn’t sure whether to do it, because as it is the flap pulls back nicely and lays flat. If you sew the edges down to the sides, you get a funky stretched bit right there when you pull the shell back. Eventually I decided to try it with some scrap wool and see how it worked. The Snook said he didn’t mind the wonkiness and it seemed to offer a little more insulation, so that’s what we went with. I still think the author could have clarified a bit better.