Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Cuff

In my last post, I showed you how to do the special cast-on for my Early Morning Mitts pattern.  Now it’s time to continue knitting the cuff.

The Finished Cuff

Here’s the finished cuff so you can see what it will look like before we go ahead with today’s tutorial.  Notice the garter stitch ridges as well as the gathered stockinette sections in between.

knitting tutorial

Garter Stitch in-the-Round

To knit garter stitch in-the-round, you don’t knit every round like you would when knitting a flat piece. Instead, you alternate knitting and purling:  knit 1 round, purl 1 round, etc.  So for my pattern, I’ve used a 5 row (or round) garter stitch for each of the 3 “ridges”. Purl, knit, purl, knit, purl.

Gathered Stitches

For the gathered stitches, you add stitches and then later take them away again. The extra stitches cause the fabric to pucker or gather in places.  To do this, I doubled the number of stitches with KFB (knit into both the front and back of stitch).  KFB sounds complicated, but is really quite easy! Start knitting a stitch like normal. BUT instead of slipping the stitch off your left needle like usual, you LEAVE the stitch on the left needle and then knit into the back loop of the SAME stitch {and then you can slip it off the left needle}.

knitting tutorialOne stitch has now become two! Pretty neat, huh?  Once you’ve knit into the front and back of all the stitches, you have a total of 72 stitches.

Knit 5 rounds and then it’s time to decrease those stitches back to the original 36 using k2tog (knit 2 stitches together) all the way around. K2tog also sounds more complicated than it really is.  Your right needle goes through the front loops of both the next 2 stitches (from left to right as usual).  Knit them together and the two become one!

knitting tutorial

Shaping for forearm

If you’re making your mitts long like arm-warmers as I am, you may want to consider shaping them with a few well-placed decreases.  Here’s how I do this.

While knitting the 2nd round of both the 2nd and 3rd garter stitch ridges, I decrease twice with a k2tog:  once in the middle of the round and again at the very end.  The first decrease round leaves me with 34 stitches and a second decrease round means I am left with 32 stitches on my needles. [If this seems a little confusing right now, wait until you can see the actual pattern and I think it’ll make sense.]

Once the cuff is knit, it’s time to knit the rest of the way to the wrist.  This part of the mitt can be knit as long or short as you like. {Just be sure to make a note of how many rounds you knit so you can do the second mitt the same!}

QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…the thumb gusset!

In the next post, I’ll show you how to add a thumb gusset to your mitts.

Happy knitting!

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Early Morning Mitts Tutorial: Cast-On

Cast-on time!

My Early Morning Mitts are knit in-the-round. That’s knitter-talk which means the knitting forms a tube without any seams. It’s a super handy technique to know how to do! This tutorial series will help you better understand the special techniques I used in designing and knitting Early Morning Mitts.

I want to explain my pattern’s name before I get started. These mitts were designed when I was up in the middle of the night due to a bout of insomnia. After sketching out and testing my pattern,  I marked down the time right on the sketch:  1:15am!  Early Morning Mitts was the best name I could think of for a pattern created so early in the morning!

My project details:

  • Yarn:  Cascade 220 “Galaxy” colorway
  • Needles: US SIZE #8 double-pointed needles (dpns)
  • Gauge: I think I’m getting about 5.5 st/in while knitting in the round, but I need to double-check it.

My favorite cast-on–the long-tail cast-on–is what I use for most projects. Here’s the great video tutorial on how to do the long-tail cast-on that helped me as a new knitter.

I love her tip about not needing a slip knot! Has saved me a ton of time. Especially if I don’t estimate my tail length correctly and need to re-do the cast-on!

Cast-on
Cast on 36 stitches and divide stitches evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles (dpns)

Using the long-tail cast-on, cast-on 36 stitches to one dpn leaving a tail about 5 or 6 inches long when done. Slip 12 stitches from one end of the needle onto the second dpn and then the next 12 stitches onto the third dpn. {You now have 12 stitches on each needle.}

Join for knitting-in-the-round

Next, the stitches are joined for knitting in the round. I learned how to do this technique by watching this video at knittinghelp.com.

Cast-on

In my pattern, the join is done just a wee bit differently because the first row is PURLED, not knit!

Here’s how.

Being careful not to twist the stitches (that is, check to see that they all line up on the needles), join by PURLING into the first cast-on stitch. Use your fourth dpn and hold BOTH the working end of the yarn and the tail together as you purl the stitch.

Cast-on

Once you’ve purled the first stitch, do another the same way (with both working yarn and tail held together).

Then drop the yarn tail, and with just the working yarn continue purling around all 3 needles until you have purled all 36 stitches. The tail can help you find your beginning of rounds since it’s near the first stitch on dpn#1 (or you can use a stitch marker if you prefer).

Also be sure you aren’t getting gaps between the needles or you’ll end up with “ladders” where you change from one dpn to the next.  Just hold your working yarn nice and snug while knitting the first few stitches of each needle and you won’t have that problem!

Round 2: Knit

As you begin the second round, remember that the first 2 stitches were purled with 2 strands. You’ll want to knit those 2 strands as though they were one.

Cast-on

Cast-on

QUESTIONS? Comments?

Having trouble understanding something in today’s tutorial?  Leave a comment below with your question and I’ll answer it in a future post!

Coming up next…

In the next post, I’ll continue working on the cuff and explain some of the special techniques and stitch patterns I’ve used in my cuff design.

Happy knitting!

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The Votes are In!

Voting is all done

All the votes are in.  Today I am starting the project you, my dear readers, chose for me!  Having you vote has been loads of fun for me. I hope you enjoyed voting as much as I enjoyed reading your comments!

 

And the winning pattern is…

EARLY MORNING MITTS

Early Morning Mitts

 

The final tally:

  • Bellatrix socks 4
  • Early Morning mitts 4
  • Kingdom gloves 3
  • Knotty gloves 2
  • Monkey socks 2

Since there was a tie between Bellatrix and Early Morning Mitts, and because I’m already knitting one pair of socks, I’ve chosen to go ahead and work on a pair of Early Morning Mitts now. I want to finish writing up my pattern so I can have it available soon. Knitting another pair will give me the opportunity to get some nice photos and check the pattern for errors.  Once I finish the Almondine socks, I’ll cast-on Bellatrix and I’ll make Kingdom after I finish my mitts pattern.  See how helpful you’ve been? I know not just my next project, but my next three projects! Oh, and speaking of Almondine, last night I finished the leg portion and knit about half of the heel flaps too. They’re coming along nicely…

Sock knitting

I decided to use the heel flap I’m most familiar with instead of follow the pattern directions.  They look very similar, and since I’m knitting these 2-at-a-time, I’m going with the instructions from the 2-at-a-time Socks book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes instead. If I were knitting these on double-pointed needles, I’d have followed the pattern exactly. But I’m not. So I didn’t. I call that knitter’s prerogative.

Decisions decisions

Now to choose which color of yarn to make into the mitts.  {I think I can handle that decision on my own! In fact, I already know which I want to use!} 🙂  I plan to blog through the pattern step-by-step as a sort of tutorial. If you follow along, you might just learn something! Even relatively new knitters should be able to make these once I’m done showing you the “secrets” of some of the more tricky techniques!

Stay tuned

My next post will be all about the cast-on. It’s rather special, so I will do my very best to explain it well!

Be sure you’ve signed up for email updates if you don’t want to miss any of the project updates! {Scroll up to the top of the page and you’ll find the box where you enter your email address it in the right sidebar. Your email will only be used to send you notification when new posts are published. Or, if you prefer, follow my blog with Bloglovin’ or another feed reader instead!}

As always,

Happy knitting!

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Weekend DIY: Updated Chair

If you’ve read my About Me page, you know I homeschool my kids. And it’s the middle of August now, which means it’s time to get my butt in gear and get ready to start the new school year. And that means getting my school room cleaned up and organized.

Weekend DIY Updated Chair for Schoolroom

While I haven’t had time yet to clean or organize, I have been working on a furniture project for my classroom. Chairs. I have been looking for replacement chairs for months. The seats on the ones we have are all cracked and falling apart. The photo {see below} on the left of my collage shows the one in the BEST condition of the four. Let’s just say they weren’t fun to sit on. At all.

My problem? I couldn’t find any good used chairs for less than $35/piece that were sturdy enough to let my kids sit on every day. But then one day about a week ago I was on Pinterest and the idea just sort of popped into my brain: remove the old cushion covers and make new ones for our old chairs!  And since the metal frames are also worn a bit where they’d been handled a lot, a new coat of shiny paint would be necessary too.

So I went to a local craft store that sells fabrics. I let the boys each choose (within reason) the fabric they wanted and picked out one for myself.  We found spray paint on sale at a local hardware store. They didn’t have the color my 13 year old wanted (his favorite is purple–the color of royalty–I think he wants to be king) so he choose the metallic silver instead. I was SO glad…the idea of purple with the blue with white polka dotted fabric that he choose really didn’t thrill me.

In the collage below you can see chair #1 (the 6 year old’s) is almost done! He didn’t care AT ALL about the fabric as long as the chair frame was going to be red. I picked this one out because it has a little bit of red in it as an accent, but it’s still a calming color scheme. He looked at it ever so briefly and said “yes” to it.  The hardest part of this project (aside from the fact that I have to use my sewing machine…something I  haven’t done in years) is getting the cushions screwed back onto the chair. I recruited Mr. Muscles (aka my hubby) to help with that.  So far he’s done the seat cushion, but we haven’t tackled screwing the back cushion on yet. I hope it goes well…

Chair DIY cover

Chair #1 for our school room updated with new cushion covers and paint!

I’m not certain how long the cotton fabric will last, but even if it’s just for a year or two, I know how to make these chairs look new again and can get some heavier-duty fabric next time if need be.

So even though it’s a non-knitting project, I’m really happy about it and wanted to show off what else is keeping me busy these days.

Now to get those other two chairs finished before we need them for school!

Furniture DIY-ers?

Have you ever updated an old piece of furniture to give it new life?  Tell me about your project by leaving a comment below!

Happy crafting!

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Narrowing the Choices

Too Many To Choose From

After a couple days, I’ve gotten enough votes on this post that I think I should narrow the choices down a bit.  (To help those of you who are as indecisive as me!)  So I’m eliminating the patterns that have no votes yet…thus, narrowing the choices down from 9 to 5.  And just so you know, if someone said they liked more than one pattern, I counted each project as getting a vote.

The tally so far:
  • My unpublished Early Morning Mitts pattern (this photo is of my original and well-worn pair) – 4
Early Morning Mitts

Early Morning Mitts designed by perfectioKnits

All the patterns listed (except of course for my own design) are patterns I’ve wanted to knit but haven’t yet.

Vote now! Vote again!

If you’re reading this and haven’t voted yet, use this list to choose from and leave a comment below!

If you already voted in what I’m now calling the “1st round of votes” and want to vote again, by all means DO!  The old votes still count, we’ll just be adding to them. And I’ll take up to one vote (try to just pick one project this time!) per person per day so that gives you up to 2 more votes if you want to leave comments here both today and tomorrow.  How’s that for making it interesting? 🙂

Monday morning I will reveal which project I’ll be knitting and start with the cast on! I’m curious to see which project it will be.

In the meantime, I’m working on those Almondine socks some more.

Happy knitting!

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FO Friday: Heartland Lace Shawl

Heartland Lace Shawl

Here it is! My Heartland Lace Shawl, finished and blocked!

Just in time to link up with Tami for FO Fridays! Be sure to hop over there and take a peek at the other fantastic FOs from this week.

knitting shawl

  • Pattern: Heartland Lace Shawl pattern by Evelyn A. Clark
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Cotlin (using up leftovers…not sure exactly how much I used, but maybe 3 or 4 balls?)
  • Needles: US Size 8 circular needles (I used Knit Picks interchangeable needles and started with a 32″ cable then later switched to a 40″ cable.)

Now this is my kind of shawl.  It covers my arms to my elbows. Just the way I like a shawl to fit. It will be especially nice to wear with the weather getting cooler already!

Choose My Next Project

Have you had a chance to look at the patterns in yesterday’s post and vote yet?  If not, please take a minute to check out the pattern possibilities sometime before the weekend is done and let me know which project you’d want to see me work on by leaving me a comment there.

Before you go…take a moment and let me know what you think of my shawl by leaving a comment below too!

Happy knitting!

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Tell Me What to Do!

Off my needles

First of all, I am happy to say that I’ve finished knitting my Heartland Lace Shawl;  all I have left to do is block it so I can show it to you on tomorrow. That leaves me with only one project left on my needles…the Almondine socks that I’ve barely knit on in the past few weeks because I was focused on the shawl.

Evelyn Clark pattern

sneak peek of my finished shawl

Help Me Decide What Project to Start Next

Since I knit the same way I read books, I almost can’t stand having only one project on my needles.

Here’s your chance to help me decide what to knit. Whichever project gets the most votes is the one I’ll make. I’d like to be able to start on Monday so vote right away! As I work on the project, I will try to post something every time I’ve had a chance to knit. With more frequent project updates, I’ll take time to tell you about the pattern, the yarn being used, as well as the knitting process.

I can’t afford to buy more yarn right now so I’m limited to using the yarns I have on hand. A few skeins of Cascade 220 in different (but all are rather dark) colors and 2 balls each of 2 different colorways of Patons Kroy Socks are yarns I have and am thinking of using.

EDITED 8.17.2013: I decided to take a photo of my yarn stash (well, the yarns I’m considering using at this time–you don’t need to see all the yarns I actually have) in case that helps you pick which pattern you’d like to see me knit!

Left: 2 colors of Patons Kroy sock yarns Right: 4 colors of Cascade 220

Left: 2 colors of Patons Kroy sock yarns
Right: 4 colors of Cascade 220

I searched Ravelry and the knitting books I already own in hopes of finding a few projects that could be made with these yarn(s). Here’s what I came up with.

  • A pattern of my own design:  another pair of fingerless mitts (I have another pattern that I could knit once more and at the same time make the pattern ready to publish)

That’s NINE project possibilities. No wonder I can’t decide what to do!!!

Most of those patterns are made with sock yarns. There just weren’t any projects (besides my own mitts pattern) for the Cascade 220 jumping out at me and screaming “Make me!” {No, those gorgeous sweaters that I don’t have enough yarn for don’t count.}

Vote Now!

Leave me a comment below and tell me which project you’d like to see me work on! Be sure to share this post with your friends and ask them to vote too…I’d love to get a ton of input!

As always…

Happy knitting!

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