50-Below Mittens

What better thing to think about in 100 degree weather (that is Fahrenheit, not Centigrade) than mittens?

014 mitten

I’m one of those people who, in winter, are always cold. And when it is REALLY cold out, or there is snow to shovel, I invariably think, “Why didn’t I knit myself some mittens?

Truthfully, at one time or another, I had knitted mittens for myself. I even knitted and felted a pair. But I never hit on the ultimate mitten, the one that held up under the coldest conditions.

Suddenly, the other day, a vision appeared: it was a vision of a double mitten. I had been sorting through some leftover balls of handspun wool, trying to figure out what I was going to do with it when I had this vision. MUST. MAKE. DOUBLE. MITTEN. I saw how, too. In that blinding flash, I suddenly envisioned exactly what I needed to do.

The first thing was measure the base of my hand right above my skinny little wrist and then around the middle of my hand, just above the thumb. Approximately 6 inches. I like my knitted fabric a little on the stout side for something like mittens, so I studied the yarn and determined it would be 30 stitches on a size 5 needle, going up to 32 above the thumb gusset.I cast on 30 stitches on waste yarn and knitted in the round for 5 rows. I allowed only 7 stitches for the gusset, then slipped it off on some waste yarn. I did not want to double the thumb, but keep it single to allow movement. I did three yarnovers to reconnect above the gusset and kept knitting around until above my index finger where I decreased and rounded off the tops.

I did this, four times, two of the outside color and two of the lining. I turned the liner inside out:

003 mitten

And carefully put the two layers together:

005 mitten

I made sure they lined up exactly where I wanted them:

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Once they were both lined up, I pulled out the waste yarn and reinserted the needles into the live stitches. I then carefully worked my way around and knitted two stitches together the whole round, one from the outside and one from the liner:

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Very carefully drop off the two knitted stitches as you knit them. Here were are with the first three sets finished:

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At the halfway point. Outside and liner are joined for one half of the mitten, the two needles are the other two sets remaining:

009 mitten

A little further, and soon all the stitches are doubled up and you are back to working in the round:

010 mitten

You can work the cuff in any combination of ribbing you like. I also knitted the cuffs long enough to double-up if desired or wear long. It doesn’t take long until the only thing left is the thumb. You need to do the same thing with the 7 thumb stitches, knit them together. Then you will need to pick up stitches around the open to knit your thumb.

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Did I say the only thing left was the thumb? Well, on one mitten, anyway. This was so much fun to concoct there was no “second mitten syndrome” here:

012 mitten

It wasn’t long before I had mittens, lovely mittens, warm wooly mittens of my own devising and my own specifications:

013 mitten

Warm. Wooly. Waiting for Winter. I used up some of the leftover handspun. Husband pointed out that he tends to be the one to shovel snow, so he will get a pair, too, and I will use up more leftover handspun. Double mittens to stay warm in. AND I have long cuffs to tuck up my sleeves so snow doesn’t run down my arms. Does it get any better, even if it IS 100 degrees outside?!

015 mitten

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