A Guided Tour – Gherkin Mittens

Hold the pickle!


When I finished my Elsica Hat in Adriafil New Zealand Print I had only used .75 of one ball – I had another 1.25 balls left. So I set about making some matching mittens. What follows is not sufficiently worked out to be a pattern i.e. I haven’t got measurements of the finished mittens as they’ve been gifted by now and I can’t give you a gauge. So I’m calling it a guided tour of what I did to make them. I knit these mittens from cuff- to-tips, in the round and two-at-a-time on two circular needles. I’ve included some tips for how to do that too.  

..."And now it's time for the Architect's Sketch!"

Adjust gauge so that it fits

Finished Size: To fit a woman’s small to medium hand.  

Yarn: Adriafil New Zealand Print (75% wool, 25% acrylic; 220 yd [201 m]/100g)  – 0.65 of 1 skein needed for these mittens; Colour 021 – blues and greens  

Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm) two sets of circluar needles  

Notions: Two lockable stitch-markers; tapestry needle  

Gauge: Ahem! Mumblemumblemumble… Didn’t quite hear you there. Did you say gauge? Oh… eh… Adjust gauge as necessary, so that they fit! 

You will need…


  • Needle Set-up: You will need two matching pairs of circular needles, of whatever size you need to get gauge. If you have interchangeable needles, you can set up two cables with the needle-size to get gauge on one end and a smaller needle-size on the other. I set up two medium-length cables from my set of Denise Interchangeables with Size 7 (4.5mm) needles on one end of each cable and Size 5 (3.5mm) needles on the other end of each. 
  • Yarn Set-up: The key to knitting two at a time is that you’re knitting from two separate balls of yarn. It seems obvious but I had to have a light-bulb moment before I figured it out! So, before you begin, wind your yarn into two separate balls. Use a weighing scales (preferably digital) to determine when you’ve reached halfway. Don’t try to knit from both ends of the one ball – ask me how I know!
Half of two cuffs cast-on to first needle
  • To Cast-on for two-at-a-time:
    1. Using your preferred cast-on (I used a long-tail cast on; but use anything you like, as long as it’s elastic) and ball A, cast-on half of the overall number of stitches you require for one mitten onto the correct needle size for gauge (see needle set-up above). If you opt for a cast-on that requires a long-tail make sure each tail is long enough to cast-on all of the stitches required for one mitten.
    2. Now forget ball A and take up ball B.
    3. Using the same cast-on and ball B, cast-on half of the overall number of stitches you require for one mitten onto the same needle.
    4. Stick with ball B but pick up the other circular needle.
    5. Let the first circular needle dangle as you cast-on the second half of the stitches onto the 2nd circular needle – as close as you can to where you left off on the first needle. Make sure you’re casting-on to the correct end of your 2nd circular needle!
    6. Now forget ball B and take up ball A again.
    7. Cast-on the 2nd half of stitches for the other mitten – again, as close as possible to where you left off before.
    8. When you start your next round you will join for knitting in the round, being careful not to twist.
    9. And there you’ll be with two mittens on two circular needles – two half-rounds on each needle.
  • Starting cast-on to second needle

Stitch Guide:

S1 to LH ndl:

  1. As you knit to the end of each half-round for each mitten, lock the stitch-marker around the loop of the last stitch and let it slip off your Left-Hand (LH) needle.
  2. As you start each half-round for each mitten, pick up the stitch-marker and use it to replace the loop onto your LH needle. Remove the stitch-marker and lock it around the loop (not the leg) of the last stitch in the half-round.

Right-leaning Travelling Stitch: (T2R) 

  1. With yarn to back, knit into both sts as though to K2tog. Don’t drop sts off left-hand needle;
  2. Bring yarn to front, purl first stitch and drop both sts off left-hand needle.

Right-leaning Travelling Stitch with Decrease: (T2Rdec) 

  1. With yarn to back, knit into both sts as though to K2tog. Don’t drop sts off left-hand needle;
  2. Bring yarn to front, and slip first stitchonto RH ndl as if to purl;
  3. Drop both sts off left-hand needle;
  4. Insert RH ndl into next st on LH ndl and p2tog with first st on RH ndl
  5. 1 st decreased with right travelling stich


Cast-on: 36 sts for each mitten i.e. 18 sts onto each needle with each ball – see Notes above. 
Cuffs: Work in [Ktbl,P2] rib around for 2.5″ (or however long you would like) 
Increase round: Ktbl, M1, p1 around to last st, lock a stitch marker around the next st so that it can be slipped onto LH ndl.
Set-up round: T2R, p3 around to last two sts; then M1 and slip last st onto LH ndl (49sts)
Hands: [T2R, p3] around to last st; s1 to LH ndl
Repeat this round for 3” or until you get to “crook” of your palm then work “EZ’s thumb trick” as follow: Work 4 sts in pattern, switch to spare yarn and knit 7 sts; replace sts just worked in spare yarn back on LH ndl and continue in pattern as though nothing had happened!
Continue with hands until 1.5” before desired length.    

Spiraling towards tips

Decrease for Mitten tips: 

  • Rnd 1: *T2Rdec, P1, [T2R, P2] twice; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 2: *T2R, P1, T2Rdec, P1, T2R, P2; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 3: *[T2R, P1] twice, T2Rdec, P1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 4: *T2Rdec, [T2R, P1] twice; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 5: *T2R, T2rdec, T2R, P1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 6: *T2R, T2R, T2Rdec; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 7: *T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 8: *K2tog, T2R, T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 9: *K2tog, K1, T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 10: *K2tog, K2; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 11: *K2tog, K1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • 9sts are left. Break yarn, thread ndl and fasten off last 9 sts by bringing yarn through each loop as if to purl-through back of loop.
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.
Twirly thumb

Thumb: I did one thumb at a time, using two circular needles, as before. I picked up sts for thumb on wrong side – a minimum of 15 sts initially. Remove spare yarn and bring the ndls through the hole and pull the mitten right-side-out. I picked up one or two more sts at the ends, to minimise holes.  
Set-up rnd: This was a bit of a fudge but generally each ndl had one “set” of sts with [T2R, P2] and one sets with [T2R, P3]. I made sure to have a knit stitch at the start of each ndl and I made sure that the travelling stitch of the main mitten body was not interupted. I used the stitch-marker locked around the loop, as before – see notes – to move the last st onto the next LH ndl .  

  • I knit thumb for 2″, or until it was 0.5″ short of the tip of my thumb.
  • For my first decrease round I decreased such that all “sets” are T2R, P2;
  • Two rounds with no decreases
  • Then decrease each round until 9 sts remain.
  • Finish off as for main mitten top

Finished Mittens


Tuesday’s Choosing – Tough one today

I decided when I had a ball-and-a-bit of Adriafil New Zealand Print left over after the Elsica hat that I could make a pair of mittens to match. Not only “I could” but “I should”. Since I’d missed the deadline of giving my sister her hat for Christmas, I thought it would be cute if I added to the hat with a pair of matching mittens before the next deadline – meeting her again on Saturday, 2nd January 2010. Being me, a week seemed feasible to make a pair up from scratch – without reference to a generic mittens pattern, or a swatch for that matter. I can see you’re already smacking your head saying “when will she learn?”. I’d love to know when I’ll start doing the same thing before I launch straight in, head-long.


It was the visiting MIL, mentioning casually “Are they not a bit wide? Or are you including for the thumb already?” that helped stop me in my tracks. I lied and said I was including the thumb, whereas in reality I had planned to put in spare yarn for an EZ thumb-trick – an afore-thought/ after-thought thumb.

What do you do when you’re up-against-it, time-wise? Ignore the inevitable and keep on going, or stop to change tack and hope to still save the day?

All credit to… swallowing your pride in front of the MIL but I’m opting for “Frog it and knit like the clappers for the next three days”!

Which WIP for the WWKIP

It’s the eve (when I started this) of WWKIP and I’ve fallen out with all of my WIPs.

  • GlenvAAArrgh! (appropriately titled) a.k.a. my rehashing reworking of Debbie Bliss’s cabled cardigan has reached an impasse. I worked out the maths based on 210 stitches around without thinking about how the paring of the cables and ribs (a pattern repeat of 10 stitches) from the sholder seams down means I have to work on the basis on either 200 or 220 stitches around. I join the underarms based on 200 stitches in what, I fear, will turn out to be a rash decision. I am waiting for his nibs to try it on before I continue much further. Off to the hibernation den in the meantime…
  • I agreed with Caroline / Bootie (blog-free) from our Swords Knit-Nights that I’d join her in a mini-kal for some stranded mittens. I’m doing EZ’s Norwegian Mittens and she’s doing Eunny Jang’s Anomoie (sp?). We agreed to cast-on on Sunday or Monday, which I did… sort of. I knit up the i-chord border and started to pick-up stitches and stopped. I need to figure out who I’m knitting these for – me or my dd. I need to figure out some maths if it’s for my dd. I need to be sure of the patterns too. I just need to give these some thought but sitting down and focusing on them is way-down on my priority list.
  • I cast-on some toe-up socks from my new, fabulous, Cat Bordhi book: New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I’m trying the pontoon toe for the first time and not loving it, plus I dropped a stitch, plus the two socks don’t match in their striping at all. I’m tempted to rip back and do the toe from Back to Basics – that was a nice toe – but I’m feeling underpressure time-wise for my SAM5KAL credit. And there I was hoping to knit two pairs of socks in June to try to catch up!!! If I can just find that pesky dropped stitch I think these are my best option for a KIP WIP.

So what do you do when you fall out of love with your WIPs? You cast-on for another one, of course. I started a swatch for my long-promised Tomato by Wendy Bernhard from No Sheep for You. If I don’t knit this soon it will be too cold to wear it for another year.

I was also unable to get stuck into the Scavenger Hunt organised by TIK. I entered and got the list of challenges last Friday. My first impulse was to go for the big points and get in contact with The North County Leader to be interviewed. However, the cold light of Monday morning struck and faced with school-runs, house-work and a lack of a printer for the flyer (that’s meant to feature in each photograph) I never got going.

Instead, I did other Missionary work for the conversion of all to Knitting: the mother of a boy in my dd’s class mentioned that she did some knitting in the past. (In fact, she’s of a very high pedigree in that her mother owned a yarn shop in Edinburgh. I didn’t want to reveal my obsessiveness too early, so I restrained myself from quizzing her up and down about what yarn shop exactly, but I will find out…) Anyway, I admitted to being a knitter and we’ve chatted on and off since about how nice it is. The other day she told me that because of me she felt compelled to take up the needles again and was attempting a scarf but with the only needles she could find: a mis-matched pair. The next time I saw her I gave her the set of plastic needles that I’d bought in Aldi a while back for no better reason than they were for sale. I’d had in the back of my mind to give them to my niece for her birthday but the other part of the back of my mind kept telling me she wouldn’t really appreciate it – not as much as an Averil Lavigne CD, let’s say. This born-again-knitter, on the other, was genuinely thrilled – which gave me a feeling of enormous satisfaction.

I’m giving myself a Knitting Scout badge for my efforts: The “Proselytize Knitting” Badge.  DH more than me has earned the The “MacGyver” Badge (Level Two) for using my metal 4mm double-pointed needle as a depth check when he was putting in the sand blinding for paving he’s doing in our front.