I have been knitting the most brilliant, ingenious pattern – designed by my friend Selina Siu (Littlesplines on Ravelry). This is the kind of knitting that makes you giddy, because it’s so smart, and so simple, and yet it’s so unheard of.
Selina doesn’t like to be told she has to do things a certain way, when it comes to knitting. She likes having individual finger-tubes on her fingerless mitts, but she hates having to join a new piece of yarn and work a fiddly tube for each finger. More specifically, she hates – hates, I tell you! – having to weave in all the yarn ends that result.
Let’s back-track for a moment and look at a basic fingerless mitt/glove with separated fingers. This one is a commercial version, but the basic structure is standard for hand-knits too.
Between the first stitch you cast on and the last stitch you bind off, a single mitt of this type has FIVE cast-on ends and FIVE bind-off ends. Plus, you know, mitts usually do come in pairs, right? That’s TWENTY ENDS to weave in for a single project, and that’s about sixteen more than Selina is willing to put up with.
So, here’s her staggeringly brilliant solution:
You start the Platypus mitts just like any standard mitten/glove, working in the round from the cuff, adding in increases for the thumb gusset when needed. Then, using short rows (which are really clearly explained and not at all hard to keep track of), you shape the hand of the mitten so that there’s a curve extending around your palm, low near the thumb and then climbing higher to the fingers.
Next – and here’s where her brilliance really shows – you convert to working flat instead of in the round, and you use double-knitting to work the finger-tubes ALL AT ONCE. You use wedges of ribbing to separate the fingers, allowing you to work back and forth across the entire mitt, instead of working each tube separately.
Here’s a better look at the two types of knitting making up the finger-tubes:
Selina even throws in some more short rows to add height to the finger tubes without making the thumb too long.
When your tubes are as long as you want them (I stopped a few rows short of what the pattern calls for), you work across one row, binding off the palm-side of each finger tube and working the ribbing in between. Then, you work back across the next row, binding off all remaining stitches.
The result? One continuous bind-off per mitten, and only one bind-off end (plus the original cast-on end) to weave in on each mitt.
A really fun pair of mitts that are comfortable, fit well, and are GREAT for scooping up snow for snowballs!
The yarn I used is Colinette Jitterbug in the colourway Fire, which is SO brilliantly red-orange that I actually had to turn down the saturation on these photos or all the detail was blown out by the insanely bright red. I figure this puts me squarely in the ColourRIOT colour-loving mode, and allllmost even satisfies Erin’s love for neon. The yarn was a gift from my friends in the Uptownknitmob, part of a care package they put together for me a couple of years ago when I was ill and in need of cheering. The pair of mitts only used 41 grams of yarn, so I have plenty left for a second pair, or a matching something. The details are over on Ravelry.