"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pattern for "Almost Seamless" Hand Warmers - On Straight Needles

I was given a pair of hand warmers about a year ago in October and, along with the gift, my friend gave me the pattern she used. It can be found here. It is a basic pattern, knitted flat and seamed up, leaving a gap for the thumbs. I made three pairs from that pattern, the two black ones for my son (who is very thin and constantly has cold hands - he loves them) and the blue pair for myself. For my pair, I decided to try the same approximate pattern only in the round. When I got to the thumb holes, I went back and forth on the needles instead of circular knitting. Then after the thumb space, resumed circular. I had just learned two-color knitting and wanted to incorporate a bit of that, but had to stop with the thumb hole because I wasn't sure how to do it on the purl side.

Here's how I changed the above pattern for DPN's. I used worsted weight yarn and I believe the recommend US size 4 needle. I cast on 36 stitches (to be multiples of 4, to accommodate the K2, P2 ribbing). I did 6 rows of ribbing, 7 rows K (in which I did the 2- color knitting), 14 rows for the thumb hole, 7 rows of K, and then 6 more rows of K2, P2 ribbing.  I really like them but they could be a bit looser so I would use US size 6 needles the next time.

More recently, as in 2 days before Christmas, my husband was complaining about cold hands so I made him a pair of the same approximate pattern. He has large hands so I used worsted weight yarn, Patons Classic Wool (which is a great wool yarn), color Natural Mix, US size 7 needle and cast on 40 stitches. For length, I just held up the mitts to his hand as I knitted. Since I was knitting with straight needles, it was easy to get the size correct. I did the same thing as I seamed up for the thumb gap.

But for the pièce de résistance, the mitts for which I named this post. I started with a mitt pattern that I had gotten from my local yarn shop called Rings of Warmth Fingerless Mitts. I made them putting a Latvian braid on the first 2 purl rows. (For a look at my Latvian Braid directions, click here, scroll down to the Latvian braid section and on these mitts, I did Rounds 2 & 3.) I was too afraid to try the braid on DPN's so I dug out my 9" circulars - UGH! But after the braid, I switched to the same size DPN's, size 6.

After my first mitts being a tad too tight, I cast on 40 stitches. Some would think they feel too loose, but I actually find them to be warmer than my tighter, more tightly knitted ones. I'm guessing it's because of the extra air trapped inside. Maybe. 

By the way, I used a new Cascade yarn, called Hollywood. Notice on the web site, the sparkles. It is a great yarn, being 87% superwash wool. Very nice to work with.

BUT, the week I did these mitts, I had been doing a lot of sipping coffee and knitting with friends and using the DPN's were hard on my hands. So I decided to try the same approximate pattern, only on straight needles. I did the Latvian braid successfully on straights but was not pleased with the seam area. 

Soooo, I noticed a dear young lady at church on Sunday with freezing hands and decided to surprise her with a pair of my own design, sort of.  TA DA, drum roll, please:

I am very pleased with the end result. The "seamless" part comes in good seaming after casting off.

So, here is the pattern as I did them. But first, PLEASE NOTE that, since these mitts are done on straight needles, the 2 rows of purl bumps will be done with the purl side showing on the front. That means that one of them will be done as a purl row on the front side and the other will be done as a knit row on the back side.


Materials: Lion Brand Yarns Wool-Ease
                 US size 7 straight needles
                 2 stitch markers
                 tapestry needle
                 row counter (or a note pad to jot down where you are)

Gauge:     21 stitches in stockinette stitch (I'm a tightish knitter so maybe cast on a couple of less                          stitches if you are a looser knitter)

Terms:     M1 = make one. I used the bar between stitches but you can do it how you'd like
                PM = place marker

Finished size 8" circumference at wrist. (This fits me great and my wrist is 7" around. I believe there is some flexibility in the finished size. But maybe cast on a few more stitches if you are knitting for large-ish hands.)

CO 34 stitches, using long-tail cast on

Row 1: K across
Row 2: P across
Row 3: (front side) P across
Row 4: (back side) K across
-*Stockinette stitch for next 4 rows
-Do 2 rows with purl bumps on front, as follows:
          Purl (front side)
          Knit (back side)*

Repeat between *'s 2 more times for a total of 4 purl bump sections.

Stockinette stitch 2 rows

Begin Thumb Increases as follows:

*At the beginning of next row (front side) K1, M1, PM, Knit to last stitch in row, PM, M1, K1, M1

Stockinette stitch for next 3 rows.* Repeat between *'s until you have 11 stitches (except that instead of PM, move marker.)
(NOTE: for 2nd mitt, you can reverse the repeats, doing the lesser amount of increases on the last end and the more amount at the beginning.)

Work even in stockinette stitch until piece measures 2¾ " above cuff top, ending with a wrong side row.

On right side, purl stitches on outside of markers and knit stitches between markers.
On wrong side, knit the stitches on outside of markers and purl stitches between markers.
Cast off in knit stitch the first 4 stitches (thumb gusset stitches, removing marker as your CO the last of the 4.
Knit acRoss to last marker and remove it. Hold onto those 7 stitches by pinching and remove the needle, (being careful not to lose track of any of them) and re-insert the needle the opposite direction, as you prepare for a crochet cast off. (For a look at what I'm explaining, click here and scroll down to "Crochet Cast-Off.)

With crochet hook, cast off (without yarn) all 7 thumb stitches, using the 1st stitch of the hand section to complete casting off all 7 thumb stitches. Purl remaining stitches in that row.

*Stockinette next 4 rows.
Purl bump next 2 rows (purl on knit side, knit on purl side)*

Repeat between *'s one more time for a total of 2 purl rows. If you are knitting for long fingers or want the mitt to go closer to finger tips, make the first section of 4 stockinette rows 6 or more. These white ones are 6 rows for that first section. Clear?

Cast off with knit stitch.

Stitch up the seam from the front, using a ladder stitch. Or better yet, watch this wonderful video if you have trouble doing "seamless seams". I learned something from this video. I have done these seams slightly different and hers are even more invisible. :^)

I tried to show the holes from the increases in the
original circular needle pattern but, with the
black, they don't show up very well.

Notice the sparkles in the lovely
Wool-Ease yarn

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