The Shape of Mittens

I took a mitten knitting class once.  Taking knitting classes at all is a rare thing for me, but it's a fantastic thing to do once in a while.  In a class about mittens, for instance, you might learn that you've been wrapping your purl stitches backwards all your life, which is why your flat stockinette stitch always looked odd.  A useful thing to know.

Anyway, I took this mitten knitting class, knit one miniature sample mitten and took home the multi-sized and multi-gauged pattern that came with the class so I could forever afterward make mittens whenever I wanted with whatever yarn I wanted for whosoever's hands I wanted.

Then I lost the pattern.

But that hardly matters, because before I had really lost the pattern, I felt like since I'd taken the class (a year or so previously, by this point), I "knew" how to knit mittens, so there was really no need to pull out the pattern.

So, at that point, I knit some mittens for my husband for Christmas, without the pattern.  They are squishy and warm and have very useful flip-tops and some other complexities.  He wears them and they keep his hands warm.  I recently wore them myself while doing a day-after-Christmas ropes course in cold driving rain (it was a bonding experience with our siblings; I believe they appreciated it!) and they kept my hands almost comfortable even though they held the rain like sponges, rivulets running down my wrists and forearms every time I grabbed a carabiner.

The main problem with these mittens is that they are shaped like ping pong paddles. 


This, I finally deduced, is because I had not remembered from the class where the decreases should go.  (It's not that I wanted them pointy.  I know there are mitten knitters that cannot abide a non-pointy mitten and I respect that.  But as a general rule, for me, I like a nice rounded comfy looking mitten, the kind of mitten you think of when you hear, "Good night mittens and goodnight kittens.")

So the next time I made mittens, I figured the decreases had to go in the middle of the front and back of the hand, forcing the sides of the mitten to curve around and meet, instead of at the sides, which just cuts them to shape at their edges.

Thinking the decreases must be paired and every other round (because a series of raglan sweater projects had led me to believe that decreases must almost always be paired and every other round), I thought I'd be clever and do one decrease on every round, alternating the direction of decreases so they would kind of interlace each other, kind of like a zipper.  Furthering the cleverness and thinking it would highlight the zipping decreases, I would carry the simple color pattern through the decreases instead of switching to just the background color.


Terribly clever, except that I didn't intend them to be pointy.  They're very cute for my three-year-old (although she did once refuse to wear them "because I don't want look like a birdy!"), but not Good Night Moon kitten mitten cute.

Pattern still lost, knitterly stubbornness still preventing me from seeking out instruction in any other forum, I cast on another pair, for my son.  I saved myself the fiddly-ness of keeping both colors through the decreases (much more irritating than clever, although on the pointy mittens it does make me think of stars and I rather like that... I thought about writing up the pattern just so I could call them "Starlight Mittens") and did double decreases on both sides in every round.


Finally, a classic cozy, Good Night Moon mitten!  The kind of mitten that rhymes with kitten.