May 28, 2014

Tutorial: Aunt Janelle's Super-Duper-Easy Fingerless Mitts For The Very New Knitter

Garter stitch fabric, which you will be making, is
extremely elastic-y and Olivia's mitts even fit
my size small adult hands.
Before I send Olivia's finished fingerless mitts off in the mail so that she can shake the package to see if there are any breaking glass or screeching cat sounds inside, I thought there might be someone out there who would like to know how to make them.

These fingerless mitts are extremely easy and fast. They are easily sized up or down, and are also interchangeable, with no specific right or left mitt.

Please read all the directions through once to the end before beginning. It's just like a cooking recipe--and we all know how that can go if we don't read them through first. If you don't completely understand something, that's okay. It will all make sense as we go along. Hopefully.

This is a tutorial. 
(Say that like announcer Ryan Seacrest of American Idol fame, emphasis on the "this." It's much funnier than the zero funny it is right now.)

First, you will need a few things:

-Yarn, just a little bit. We used 43grams/74.39yds(68m) of  a 100g/244 yd(223m) skein of Red Heart Team Spirit Worsted Weight yarn. This included our gauge swatch, which we kept aside and did not reincorporate into the project.

-Straight needles. We used  US8/5mm needles. You can use any appropriate needle size you like (within reason, of course) to achieve the fabric look you want.

-Paper and pen--after all, you are about to create your own pattern. (Don't freak out.) Be sure to write down your personal measurements and progress as you go. It will be very helpful when making the second mitt.

-Yarn darning needle and scissors, and an adult helper, if you need one. No, you do not have to be a child to need this piece. God knows I have needed several adult helpers in my knitting life--and beyond.

To begin, you will need to make a gauge swatch:

Cast on about 25-30 stitches, or what looks like about enough to make a fabric that will be 4-6 inches wide. This is not a critical measurement, but bigger is better. Knit all stitches back and forth for 4-6 inches, or until you have a square.

**note** This tutorial assumes that the reader already knows how to perform basic cast on/bind off and the knit stitch. If you need help with those things, please watch this video from

Bind off all your stitches and secure the final one by running the tail of the yarn back through the last loop/stitch on the end. Cut yarn and set aside.

Measure your hand:

Wrap a piece of yarn around your hand at the widest point--your knuckles are probably the best
spot. Cut the yarn where it meets itself. This piece of yarn represents the circumference of your hand. Let's call this the "gauge yarn."

Amy's finger indicating the spot to cut the gauge yarn.

Next, decide how long you want your fingerless mitts to be. Olivia wanted hers to go from the middle of her fingers down to the "little blue pops on my wrist." She meant the veins in her wrist; she wanted them covered up.

Hold up your gauge yarn lengthwise from the imaginary top to bottom of your intended mitts. Make a knot in your yarn to mark the "end" of the mitts' length. (See photos, left, below) You can keep this piece of gauge yarn to make future mitts for yourself or someone with hands similar                                                                                                     in measurement to yours.                      
Here is our knot to show our intended length.

Determine how many stitches you need for your mitts:

Laying out the gauge yarn onto the swatch.
Lay your gauge swatch on a flat surface. No need to wash it first, or stretch it out, just let it sit there.

Now lay your entire gauge yarn, knot and all, across the center of the gauge swatch. Line up the edge of the gauge yarn with a stitch, be sure the gauge yarn is fairly straight. Count how many little stitches are along the gauge yarn. The stitches look like little smiles, or "u" shapes. (See our photos, right and below.)

This number will determine your cast on number for the mitts.

We counted the "smiley mouths" with a pen tip. Our cast on for
Amy Rose was 17 stitches, and Olivia's was 24.

Begin knitting:

You are done knitting when you meet up with your
know measurement.
Cast on your number of stitches that were determined by your gauge yarn. Knit back and forth on all stitches until your piece of fabric is long enough to meet up with the knot in your gauge yarn. (See photo, left.)

This photo shows how we sewed from each end separately,
ending each seam just before the thumbhole. Here, we are just
starting to do from the wrist, up and we have completed the seam from
fingers, down.

Bind off all stitches, securing the last stitch by pulling the yarn back through.

Look at your fabric. Determine which side you want to be the "right side," that is the "public side."
Fold your mitt in half, with the right side in.

The "wrong side" of the mitts
is facing out during seaming. This
photo shows how you can
continue your seam from the top,
down after leaving a thumbhole

Using your darning needle and yarn, sew up the side however you like, making sure you leave a spot for your thumb to stick out on one end. Holding up your hand to the mitt will easily show you where this should be.

Amy Rose models her mitts. And I think I
REALLY need to cut her fingernails.
Tie knot where your sewing ended and put on your mitt. You might want to wear it while making the second one, just for fun.

**A note on color: we used a self-striping yarn. I helped to determine where the colors began and ended so we got pretty close to the same width in stripes at the top and bottom. You can also use 2 colors separately (even trying some fun fur would be cool!) to achieve this look when you want to get fancy, but solid  or ombre colors would look great too!**

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