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Question and Evolution of Fingerless Mitts


Previous Entry Question and Evolution of Fingerless Mitts Dec. 15th, 2009 @ 08:49 am Next Entry
It's Question time! (You can make with the clicky in a minute - answer this first, please!) Say that your spouse has given you $150 to spend on sock yarn (accept it as given, and ignore the fact that said spouse is jonesing for more handmade socks. I'm a process knitter, so I don't really care *who* gets the product. :lol:). Do you:

a) Spend it on the more expensive ($20/pair) yarn - that you never buy because it's expensive, but you LOVE the colors/fibers, but just can't bring yourself to spend that much on yourself - and end up with only 7 pairs of socks, or

b) Spend it on the cheaper ($10/pair) yarn, and end up with 14 pairs of socks, that are made of hum-drum yarn that might/might not turn your crank as much (and that you tend to buy whenever you have some spare funds, 'cause Knitpicks is just so darn cheap) ?

I just felt a tremor in the Force, as all the non-sock knitters out there had their jaws hit the floor. YES, I can buy socks at Wal-Mart for 6/$7. HOWEVER...how long do those last? Honestly? I started knitting socks in *2001*, and the oldest ones are just now starting to show wear at the heels. That's *8* years, people - $20/8 = $2.50/year/pair. Commercial socks *generally* don't last a full year...*I* wear socks YEAR ROUND, and I haven't worn commercial socks since I started knitting them. My socks fit my feet perfectly (no "one size fits most, but you're not most" here!), they're in funky colors, and...I like knitting socks. So.....opinions, please.

Now...onto Pictures! (Sorry for the quality - these were snapped on my cell phone this morning.)

Anna started this - she posted the idea that fingerless mitts would be perfect for critter care, and then she shared her first crocheted pair. I have knit a LOT of these, but never for outdoor work - my left wrist is so wonky that I need to keep it warm. (So..I've knit a LOT, but never an actual *pair*. My right wrist is fine. :lol:)

The first pair was super-simple. A tube, with ribbing top and bottom. I cast off 3 stitches for the thumb, knit back a forth for about an inch, then cast the 3 stitches back on and continued on in the round until it was long enough.

Fingerless Mittens v.1.0

These were made for Himself, out of some leftover handspun. They fit..but were a bit too snug. Ah, well - they didn't take long, so I whipped out another pair. I then whipped out a pair in orange/pink handspun for Herself (same "pattern").

Then, Sweet Geek decided HE needed a pair. OK....but a)I didn't want to mess up good handspun by using it in work mitts, and b) I didn't have enough handspun anyway for adult mitts. What to do? Simple - I had a JoAnn's 40% off coupon, so I went and got some Wool-Ease Fisherman's yarn in Oatmeal, and went to work. (CO 40 stitches, size 7 needles)

Fingerless Mittens v.2.0

This pair, I didn't cast any stitches off - I just reversed at the thumb, knit back and forth a couple of inches, and then continued on in the round. They're nice, they're warm...but not quite warm enough for me. So, onto version 3.0. (36 stitches on size 7s)

Fingerless Mittens v.3.0

This pair, I added a thumb. Nothing fancy, I just slipped 5 stitches to a holder, then cast them back on again the next round. Picked them up later, added 6 around the top and sides, and voila! A thumb! I then went back and added a mitten top (I need to add it to the second one, since Himself claimed them.). They ended up a bit too small for me (I started the mitten top decreases too soon :sigh:), but they fit Himself just fine. Only, he wants a convertable thumb top, too. :men!: :lol: Also, the thumb fit, but caused the mitt to shorten overall - my left wrist needs all the warmth it can get..so this pair got scrubbed.

So....OK, on to version 4.0. I knew what I wanted/needed....just needed to *knit* the blasted things.

Fingerless Mittens v.4.0

At this point, I was pretty tired of the oatmeal-colored yarn. I had 2 more 40% off coupons, so I bought some more Wool-Ease, this time in Ragg and Chocolate. I decided I wanted Ragg gloves, and went to town. (36 stitches, size 6 needles)

This time, I added a thumb gusset (for more ease, and to not lose length). Paired increases every other round over 2 stitches until I hit 12, then slipped them to a holder for later. Re-cast on the 2 original stitches, and knit until I hit the middle of my fingers. Went back, and after a LOT of thought, knit a full thumb - the 27* mornings convinced me that it's really too cold to let my poor thumbs hang out without protection. :grin:

For the top, I borrowed an idea from Knitty's "Broadstreet Mittens" - I knit a strip of 2x2 ribbing for the palm side of the top (on v.3.0, the strip was on the *back* of the mitten..messy, and there was a slight gap when the top was closed for wind to get thru. (on me)). I also added 4 stitches for the top - the mitt was on 36 stitches, so the top is 40. (More ease. I was bored. Take your pick! :lol:) I still picked up stitches on the back of the mitt (for no sewing!) - it's not as neat as I'd like, but these are *work* mitts, so I'll live with it.

The chocolate yarn was because I was tired of the ragg...and I think it looks nice. I tried them this morning (29*!) - they are WARM, the tops flip off quickly for door opening/critter feeding, and they're squishy. (The ball band calls for a size 9 needle. THIS pair is on size 6's. :blink:) I think I'll add a button on the back, and a loop on the top - to secure them when I'm using my fingers.

I did NOT knit fingers on these, mainly because *I* can't wear 'em. My left hand tends to swell - and I can't anticipate by how much. The pair I knit earlier with fingers (2 years ago, I think) would fit, then I'd swell, and have to yank them off because I couldn't feel my fingers. Not really useful in 29* weather. :grin: If Sweet Geek talks sweet enough, I might put partial fingers in his next set.....AFTER I finish my Liberty socks. I'm kinda off fingerless mitts at the moment...they only take about 5 hours, start to finish, but they're BORING. :lol:

Current Location: office
Current Mood: happyhappy
spin a yarn
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Date:December 15th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
Go with the good stuff.

Noro Silk Garden is awesome and one ball makes a pair of adult socks. It's a bit on the heavy side for my taste, but if you want socks that are WARM then I throroughly recommend it. (Use at least US #2 needles -- I used US #1 and the fabric is rather firm.)

Some of the artisan hand dyes are fun. Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarn does a great merino tencel blend in all sorts of colours, but there's nothing in her Etsy shop right now. (I need to talk to her about that!)

Trekking Hand Art is lovely.

And so is Zauberball Crazy. I'm working on the purlple/blue/black colourway right now. It's on the fine side for sock yarn (I'm using 1 1/2s and that's as large as I'd be happy with.

Knitpicks is always there and always inexpensive. Splurge a little. After all they're going to last a good few years and always bring a smile to your face when you wear them.
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Date:December 15th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
:giggle: THIS is the type of answer I wanted! :lol:

I haven't tried Noro yet....Discontinued Brand Name Yarn has a bunch of indie dyers for...cheap. (I have a pair started in Fire Lizard Studio's "Joy"..it's on size 2s, and it feels cushy, so far. $16/pair, for price comparison)

Simply Sock Yarn has Noro...they have Trekking XXL for $16.50 (which is a little less than I've seen it elsewhere),the Hand Art for...I wanna say $20? I'll add that to my list...) they have Classic Elite Alpaco Sox Multi for $19.50 (that stuff is CUSHY. I bought 2 skeins of it for His Dallas Cowboys socks...what a waste. :lol:)....Notice that I *still* find discounted yarns, even when I don't have to. :lol:
[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 15th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Nothing wrong in discounts. Ever.

Noro Kureyon is a yarn I have such a love-hate relationship with. The socks are wonderful when they've been through the washer and dryer a couple of times. The yarn is not fun to knit with, it feels hard to the touch and has all sorts of veggie matter and some skeins have knots with big chunks of the colour sequence missing. But the colours are so good and the socks feel so nice on my feet, that I keep coming back to it.

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Date:December 15th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Good to know, since, thanks to YOU, I just blew thru my funds. 7 pairs worth of yarn for $148. 1 ball of Noro Silk garden (I saw the Kueron, but....the Silk Garden was prettier. :lol:), 1 Trekking Hand Art, 2 Trekking XXL, 2 PF Alyeska (CASHMERE Blend!!! For $29/pair! :wow:), and 1 Malabrigo Sock. I haven't tried any of these...(except for the regular Trekking - those are for Sweet Geek, who saw my 2 pairs and LOVED the colors. :grin:)

Now I need to organize the sock yarn stash...it's starting to overflow the basket. Or...I could....KNIT it up. :snicker: Gotta get the CSM working again - it knits socks that fit Sweet Geek to perfection. Faster than I can. Which means..I *need* this yarn to replenish what I'm about to knit up, right? :lol:
Date:December 16th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
I like litleknits.com, she has things like fleece artist nyoni (a new sock yarn) 380 yds for $12. My Kevin has an addiction to crystal palace panda socks, the bamboo content makes sure he doesn't come home with swampy boots, I can get it there for around 8.50 per 50 gram skein. She frequently has really good sales and I have bought it for $3 per skein. Plus, they have good deals on lace weight yarn too.
Date:December 16th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
http://littleknits.com/ *sigh* I can't spell.
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Date:December 16th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
oooh! Hadn't seen them before - Thanks!
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Date:December 16th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
I'd take option #1. It was a gift, treat it as such and use the yarn that makes you happy. :)
Date:December 16th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
I would splurge on ONE pair, but go cheap on the rest. THAT MUCH on yarn? I spent $8 last night on three skiens, and felt like such a spendthrift - so guilty!

(spin a yarn)
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