Holiday shopping is now complete.  My cookie list is done and supplies have been purchased.  I turn again to knitting (in between the batches).

My hunter’s mittens (or shooting mittens, or flip top mittens, or convertible mittens) are more than three quarters done.  I’ve finished the first one, and am up to the fingerettes of the second.  I read through the list of patterns that I posted last week, and absorbed some general principles. In specific, I adopted the afterthought thumb and line of purls along the knuckles to make flap attachment easier from this one but mostly I just went along on instinct. 

I’m using a rustic-type worsted weight wool.  This particular bit is left over from a sweater I knit for myself from yarn I bought at a Gore Place Sheepshearing Festival, held annually in Waltham, Massachusetts. I’ve written about my No Math Pullover before.  My normal gauge for this stuff is about 5 stitches per inch over stockinette on US #7s.  For this project I wanted something tighter and more wind-proof, so I ratcheted down to a mix of 2s for the ribbing and #4s.

I worked about five inches of wrist ribbing in K2, P2, switched to stockinette, knit to the thumb point and introduced some waste yarn for the thumb opening.  Then I knit to the knuckle ridge and purled the stitches on the back of the hand.  After about four rows of spacer after the knuckle ridge, I worked some evenly spaced mini-fingers.  Once they were complete, I picked up stitches along the knuckle ridge, cast on extras to go across the palm (I used cable cast-on for that to make a firm edge).   Once I had my stitches for the mitten end established, I did several more rows of ribbing across the palm side to keep the edge from curling and stretching, then finished off the mitten end with a standard sock toe, ending it off with Kitchener grafting.  Then I went back and worked a standard thumb.

The palm side is shown on the left.  You can see the thumb and ribbed edge of the mitten end flap.  The back of the hand is shown on the right, with the mitten flap end folded back to expose the fingers.  I’m pretty happy with the result.

Now, some people have asked how I figure out the sizes for gift knits.  I try to do it by nefarious means most of the time, but for this gift I admit I showed a partially done (and woefully oversized) mitten to the recipient.  I knew I was so far off that the result would be laughable, so I spoiled my own surprise.  

Nefarious means:  For socks, I eyeball the target feet.  I’ve been known to measure footprints in the snow, sneak looks at spare shoes when visiting, or note where the toe and heel line up when their owner is standing on a patterned rug,then return later and measure the interval.  Hats are harder, but since knitting stretches, planning on a 21-inch head circumference to start with, then doing a plus or minus based on whether I think the person has a larger or smaller head than usual has always worked for me.   For mittens, I usually contrive some sort of conversation that leads to a hand to hand comparison between the target and me.   For example, I’ll ask about how comfortable the target finds his/her particular model of keyboard, note that my experiences vary, and posit a hand-size difference.  That usually leads to a palm-to-palm comparison, which gives me a rough idea of size.  I’m sure others have similar sneaky ways to evoke the needed data.  I’d love to hear about them, too.

Side trip – I’ve had a request for the recipe for Oysters.  I posted it last year around this time.  Enjoy!

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