Isn't this pretty yarn? BestFriend gave it to me quite a while ago, in a bag of random yarn balls she got someplace. There's no ball band, so I have no idea what brand it is, or what the fiber content is. I just know it appeals to me and that there isn't very much of it, meaning I need to choose a project carefully when it comes time to work it up.
Well, that day is now. During the winter, my hands get cold when I'm typing at my computer, and I decided (after a particularly chilly day) that I wanted some fingerless mitts to help stave off the discomfort of cold hands on the keyboard. I'm going to make up my own "pattern" for my mitts, and here's how I made them so you can make it up as you go along, too.
Without the ball band, I don't know this particular yarn's recommended needle size, but it looks like a worsted weight and the other worsteds I have recommend a size 7 if not an 8. When knitting mittens or gloves, you want a tight fabric to keep out the cold air, so you should go down a size or two in needles to ensure the stitches are without gaps. I'm using a pair of 5s.
First, I determined how long I wanted my mitts to be. I'm going to knit on two needles, and from side to side rather than top to bottom. Using a long-tail cast-on, I cast on 40 stitches, and with the stitches spread out a bit (not too tight or too loose on the needle, approximating the size of the stitches if they were already knit up) held it up to my hand and wrist to see if I was happy with the length. At this point, I can add stitches if it needs to be longer or take them off if it needs to be shorter, but I think I got it right the first time. When you're making your mitts, you may want them longer or shorter, so adjust accordingly.
To get a ribbed effect on the top and bottom of the mitts, while keeping the hand portion smooth to show off the variegation in the yarn, here is what I did:
Cast on 40 stitches using the long-tail cast-on method.
Row 1: Knit across
Row 2: Knit 5 (this is finger ribbing), purl 25, knit 10 (this is the wrist ribbing).
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you can wrap the knitting comfortably all the way around your hand. For me, that was 57 rows. For you, it might be more or less.
Now fit the mitt to your hand by trying it on and pinning it on either side of your thumb to mark where the side seams will be and where the thumb opening is. Yes, I'm using bobby pins. For some reason I can't find my safety pins, and the bobby pins worked out great. For me, I needed to seam up 9 stitches at the top where my fingers are, and 19 stitches for my wrist, leaving the other 12 stitches open for my thumb. Your mitts might be different depending on how many stitches you started out with and where you wanted your thumb opening to be. Just try it on and figure out what you like, and it's all good. Now make a second one just like it. They're reversible so don't worry about which is the left-hand mitt and which is the right-hand mitt.
Here they are, all finished! My oh-so-pretty oddball yarn is now a cozy pair of oh-so-soft fingerless mitts.
Surely you've got some odd yarn in your stash that could be lovely, cozy mitts for you and your loved ones, right? Go get started!