Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mitten Woes (or a Tale of Gauge)

I shouldn't complain, but I was trying to be "smart" and unwittingly out-witted myself!  My eldest son had lost his mittens, again (And he shall have no pie.  Meow, meow, meow.  No he shall have no pie).  For some reason I thought I had an extra pair stashed away in their closet, but alas no kid-sized mittens were to be found.  So I decided to make some.  How hard could mittens be?  Made my first pair a couple of years ago and they weren't as challenging as fingerless gloves.

first mittens ever circa 2007

The pattern came from Knit Simple magazine (Fall 2007 issue).  And the pattern is versatile since it can be adapted for DK, worsted or bulky weight.  My problem, though, was that my son's hands had grown: Too big for child-size, but too small for woman's size.

So after taking measurements and comparing finished sizes, I opted to cast on for the woman's mitts on size 5mm rather than the recomended 6mm. Then I'd adjust pattern to achieve a shorter length (with some trying-on as I went to check length).  Sound good?  In theory it should have worked.  Instead I got something else :(

wonky mitten

See how pointy it is?  My plan did not work.  In the end, I was caught short--quite literally!  I added a couple of extra rounds before kitchnering the top 'cuz my boy's middle finger was poking out!  Ugh!

So with the next mitten, I just stuck to woman's size as written (as an aside, there is errata for this particular pattern).  The second mitten fit better.

second attempt at mitten perfection

Why did my plan fail?  It boils down to one thing: gauge!!  I'll fess up to making no gauge swatch (only with sweaters do I actually swatch).  But seriously, I doubt a swatch would have saved me unless I'd knit the swatch in the round on dpns.  Generally I'm a loose knitter EXCEPT when it comes to dpn's.  Then I'm much tighter, mainly 'cuz I'm trying to avoid those pesky ladders (I should have known that since I'd just finished a project that required dpn's).  

Still, no harm done.  My younger boy can wear the pointy mittens.  

second mitt in progress
Knit and learn. ;)

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