Midsummer Mittens

It has been so hot this summer, I knitted some striped mittens! What you say, is she mad? Well sort of! I have this new (to me) knitting machine that I was just dying to try out, and this project seemed like a good idea at the time. Even though most people were going to the beach!

After knitting my first experimental rows on the machine I was keen to jump straight into a project. I discovered a free pattern one day flicking through Pinterest, the instructions looked straight forward and included photos which were helpful for a newbie like me.ย  Soย Fully Fashioned Machine Knit Mittens by Yarnpix was Project No 1:

pair

I made a test mitten first in some leftover red yarn so I could make mistakes without worry, and what a learning curve that was! From casting on, to knitting stripes, increasing, putting stitches on hold, using waste yarn, decreasing, picking up stitches from the other end – I learnt from scratch, just taking my time, consulting the manual and searching online whenever I needed to. Basically every step of the way!

test

Let’s just say that first mitten took a long time ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of time, these mittens are fully lined. The grey (or red in the above photo) part is knitted first, then stitches are picked up along the cast on edge at the wrist to knit the lining. The lining is a mirror image of the outer mitten, so this pattern is really good for reinforcing what you have just learnt as you get to repeat it three more times!

cuff

Sewing these up took a while too, with quite a few ends to weave in, and I had to refresh my kitchener stitch skills to finish the fingertips.

The end result is a little large. I knitted these using stitch size 7 as the pattern instructed, but I guess every machine is a little different. If I was knitting them again I would tighten the cuff even further as it is fairly loose. They are really a man’s size.

lining

I discovered a problem with my machine when it came to putting stitches on hold, so I ended up placing them on a safety pin while I knitted the remainder of the stitches. This part of the process was very frustrating because I kept dropping stitches – I really need glasses for close work now!

Thankfully the machine problem is now sorted. The (I) or Russell lever was totally stuck on one side, and didn’t stay down on the other. But after a good oil and exercise, they gradually improved. The mechanism for the button that was stuck looked different to the opposite side, but a bit of coercion with the quickunpic soon clicked things into place and it works fine now.ย  Maybe it had been dropped at some stage? The underside of the carriage is certainly rather complex with a tonne of moving parts that do all sorts of mysterious things!

IMG_3447-7
The Russell levers are the white buttons top/outer just below the circular brushes. Both now stay in position when pressed!

I’m super chuffed that I managed to fix this, because it now means I can do short rows which is fairly important in knitting. And I knitted short rows successfully on my next project which you will no doubt be hearing about soon – my first machine knit jumper!

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

5 thoughts on “Midsummer Mittens

  1. Oh, such fun to have a new-to-you machine to tinker with, and a new skill to learn!

    Think of all the lovely garments and accessories you’ll be able to churn out for yourself, family, and friends. They’ll serve well for many years.

    Think of all the neural pathways you are building inside your brain. They’ll also serve you well for many years.

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  2. You could get an illuminated, magnifying headband and you would have both hands free. If you do please blog the experience. Iโ€™m considering getting one for sewing and would like to hear if you like it. Anyone else use one?

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  3. Wow , fantastic mittens! I get so intimidating only looking at your pictures, but I think it is really cool when you understand how it works and then you get such neat work.

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  4. Your creativity knows no bounds Sheryll, you should feel quite clever (just been watching sewing bee, hence my english affectation!). Just a thought… oven mitts?! Love ’em darl, congratulations.

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