After making a weird little knit tester, I bravely moved on to making an actual thing on my knitting needles. Since I hadn’t yet tried to knit in the round, I looked for a pattern that I could knit flat and seam up the side, rather than make a jump this early to circular needles. I found this pattern through a Ravelry search. It uses only knit and purl stitches, and is knit flat, so…SCORE!
I pulled out a skein of yarn I had purchased from a yarn shop in NYC when I was up there last year for business – actually, it’s the second skein of that color I purchased…I wound the other into a ball two weeks before, but I can’t find it now – and got to work.
I did have to learn something new for this pattern – the long tail cast on. Once again, Youtube was my trusty friend. Though, honestly, it took me a lot longer to figure out this method than it really should have. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was pretty quick. (The real test will come the next time I need to use it…will I remember how?)
The beginning ribbing on that first piece nearly undid me.
I don’t know how people alternate so quickly between purl and knit stitches, but I am very much not there yet. It felt like I was doing that section of the pattern forever! And, I hate to admit, I might not have done all five rows of ribbing stitch that the pattern called for. I sort of lost count along the way and went ::shrug:: “Looks good enough to me.” By that point, I was anxious to move on to the actual pattern part.
I messed up a little on the second row of “caterpillar” repeats, putting a purl stitch in the wrong place and not realizing until I was at the end, and then not really knowing how to undo that without frogging the whole project, so…that’ll just be a little quirky element of this pair.
I used a stretchy bind off stitch that Mom taught me – don’t ask me what name it goes by…I haven’t the foggiest idea – and VOILA! My first flat piece was done.
I went ahead and cast on the second piece that evening, while Robert showered, and began the ribbing the next day. Much to my pleasant surprise, the ribbing went along much faster that time, and actually looked “right” from the start. The second mitt moved along better than the first one. Part of that, I’m sure, is practice. The other part, I think, has to do with the fact that I made a switch to bamboo needles for the second mitt. [I’m sure seasoned knitters are gasping about now – “No! Surely not! Don’t tell me you actually switched needles in the middle of a project!” Well, I did, and it’s too late to fix that now.] I had noticed that the metal needles were just a little too slippery at times, and the points weren’t quite as fine as I felt I needed to easily slide them under the different stitches. So I made the jump, and I am happy with the change so far.
I made far fewer mistakes on the second mitt, with the shifts from purl to knit and back again coming much smoother and, before you know it, I had finished the second piece. All that was left was to stitch up the sides, leaving a small hole for the thumb.
Even though the long tail cast-on method is supposed to allow for a stretchier bottom edge, I found that the bottom edge doesn’t stretch quite as much as I would like it to. It’s a little bit harder to slip the mitts over my knuckles than I had hoped, but they are wearable. They aren’t nearly as large as some of the other fingerless mitts I’ve made…just enough to cover the wrists and a little bit of the palm. Sometimes, though, the longer cuffs of some other mitts get in the way, so I don’t think this is a problem so much as an observance.
These will now be packed away in some tissue and wrapped as a present for one of my younger cousins.
I have an idea for what I want to knit next, but I won’t allow myself to start it until I cross off at least one more thing from my current list. [Robert’s shirt is almost done, though, as is a crochet hat I’ve been working on, so I anticipate being able to try a new knitting project soon.
NOTE: If you’re wondering why the title of this piece is “Caterpillars”…the pattern I followed is Caterpillar Mitts, which I think is a wonderfully descriptive name for these – it looks like little caterpillars are walking on them.