Monday, March 2, 2015

Sea Urchin Mitts (aka Garter Rib Fingerless Mittens)

I was commissioned to make "something" from a single skein of Mini Mochi yarn.  Hmmm.....  In spite of the plethora of patterns out there, nothing appealed.  I wanted something simple, since the yarn is variegated and wouldn't work well with most stitch patterns.  I wanted something easy, since I am lazy.  The yarn is fingering weight and there's not much of it.  Furthermore, it's a single ply yarn and can't take a lot of abuse, either in the knitting or the wearing.

I came up with these garter stitch rib mitts, complete with thumb gusset.  The recipient liked them a lot.  Someone saw them and gave me another skein of Mini Mochi, and I made a second pair.

We noticed that these look good whether they're worn right-side out or right-side in.  The texture reminds us of sea urchins, and thus we are informally calling these the Sea Urchin Mitts.

Sea Urchin mitts (right side out)

I plan to make some from a thicker yarn that isn't Mini Mochi.  I can probably use the same number of stitches for a looser fit.  And of course it is entirely easy to reduce the number of stitches.

Because this is my own pattern, loosely inspired by many existing patterns but my own nonetheless, I am sharing what I did.  I might add this to Ravelry at some point.  I might even turn it into a pdf or a free Ravelry download.  But for now, I'm offering it on my blog.  Do with it what you will.  Well, anything except taking credit for this pattern and/or selling the pattern.

Sea Urchin Mitts (garter rib fingerless mittens)

Yarn:  one 50-gram skein of fingering/sock weight yarn.  I used Mini Mochi, but any sock weight yarn will do.  You'll use about 2/3 to 3/4 of the skein.

Needles:  Uh.....  Use something a size larger than you would for socks.  You don't need an extra-tight gauge.  These mitts fit snugly but with plenty of stretch to them.  The approximate gauge is 7 stitches per inch, but a bit tighter or looser than that is fine.  Feel free to use dpns, magic loop, 2 circulars, whatever.

Both mitts are identical.

Garter Rib stitch pattern

round 1:  *k2, p1*
round 2:  k


Cast on 48 stitches.  Join, being careful not to twist.  Work in garter rib until the mitts are 3" or desired length to gusset.  (I did 36 rounds, which was slightly more than 3".  The rounds are easy to count because all you need to do is count the purl bumps in the garter rib.  So I did 18 purl bumps.)

Start the thumb gusset.  I did the thumb gussets at the beginning of the round because it is easy.  I did k2, p1, then did the increases around the second purl column of the round.

I like to use M1L and M1R instead of the other way around to give a better definition to the thumb gusset.  If you prefer the other way, don't let me stop you.  I did the make-one increase where you put your needle in the running yarn between two stitches and then knit or purl into the back of it.  You are of course free to use whatever kind of increase you like.

Round 1 of gusset:  k2, p1, k2, place a marker, M1L, p1, M1R, place a marker, continue in the k2,p1 pattern to the end of the round.

Round 2 (and all even rounds) of gusset:  k

Round 3: work in pattern to the marker, M1L, k1, p1, k1 M1R, continue in pattern to the end of the round

Round 5:  work to marker, M1L, k2, p1, k2, M1R, continue to end of round.  Notice that the increases in this round are purl stitches, and that will happen every third increase round.

Round 7: work to marker, M1L, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, M1R, continue to end of round

etc., until you have 17 stitches for the gusset (17 stitches between the markers), ending on a k2.p1 round.

If you are using thicker yarn, working for a larger hand, etc., you may want to do more or fewer stitches for the thumb gusset.  This is a pretty customizable pattern.


On the next round (an all-knit round), put the 17 thumb stitches on a holder, cast on 1 stitch over the gap, and keep knitting to finish the round.  You can remove the markers while you're at it.

Continue in the garter rib pattern for another 2" to 2.5" or desired length, then cast off on a knit round.  (I did 24 rounds or 12 purl bumps for one pair, and 28 rounds or 14 purl bumps for the other.)

For the thumb, pick up the 17 stitches from the stitch holder, the cast-on stitch from the hand, plus one stitch from each corner (20 stitches).  This will be a knit round, luckily.

On the next round, a k2, p1 pattern round, decrease away the corner stitches  (I did ssk, p1, k2tog around the stitch that was cast-on, if that makes sense).  Continue in pattern for 1" to 1.5" or desired length of thumb, then cast off on a knit round.  (I did 8 rounds or 4 purl bumps for one pair, 10 rounds or 5 purl bumps for the other)

If you finish the ends neatly, these end up looking good no matter which side is the outside.

For the brown pair, each mitt was almost exactly one full color repeat.  The blue/purple/green pair had a longer color repeat.  I guess the variegation is a bit different from color to color!  I made them a bit longer than the first pair.  It's really easy to adjust that sort of thing.

The mitts are wearing well so far.  The top of the hand is showing a slight tendency to curl.  I didn't block them, so it's quite possible that blocking will take care of the problem.

And at some point, I will fight with Blogger to get the silly photos to show up where I want them to!

I will be correcting errors and typos in the pattern as I find them.  I may also someday give adjustments for those who want to use thicker yarns.  I have done DK-weight fingerless mitts that also have 48 stitches, and found that the ribbing of the mitts helps them fit pretty well.  But I have to check it out for myself!

Sea Urchin Mitts (right side out)

I may well give a more generic form of this pattern someday.  I like to work from templates or recipes rather than fixed numbers.  This is a 3-stitch, 2-round stitch pattern.  Really, it's not at all hard to adjust sizes in this garter rib pattern.  It's also easy to adjust the garter rib stitch pattern -- k3, p1 or k2, p1 or other variations.  But I like this one for now.

Sea Urchin Mitts (wrong side out)