I see signs of spring everywhere. On Monday I saw a robin, today red-winged blackbirds. Cardinals are happily singing away. Sun is shining. Thermometer touched 50F and is still climbing.
Having lived in Buffalo for a while, I don’t get fooled that easily, though. Every year, robins come ahead of spring and then jump around dumbfounded as they try to find food under snow few days later. I am still thinking winter, snow, cold. Not having much of a winter this year only proves my case.
My husband is an avid photographer. Unlike me, he doesn’t mind getting out in the wee hours, standing in cold and waiting for the perfect light and perfect everything to take a perfect picture. I decided he really deserved decent mittens to keep him warm. I found pattern for flip-top gloves in Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski.
It’s a basic pattern for gloves with a flip-top. The pattern recommends US2 needles and worsted weight yarn. With US2 needles there’s no way to get the gauge I needed. The body of the mitten is twined knit, without actually crossing the yarn in the back. In fact, it’s basic colorwork, using both ends of the yarn ball.
I had worsted weight handspun targhee in Flannel colorway. To stretch is further, I decided to use it along with black Patons Classic Wool.
I had to make several adjustments for the mittens to fit. First of all, I omitted the fingers. They were way too bulky and uncomfortable. I knit the ribbing on US2 using only the handspun. For the body of the mitten I switched to US4 and used both the handspun and the black, with the handspun being carried below the black (when doing color work, the lower floats yarn becomes visually dominant compared to the one that is carried above).
For the flip top I tried to follow the pattern directions. But it asked for the same number of stitches as were in the mitten. There is some bulk to the mittens, due to the worsted weight yarn and twining. Flip top of the same size as the mitten squeezes the fingers and makes the whole mitten very uncomfortable. Instead of fiddling with different number of stitches I decided to go up in needle size. The flip top was cast on US2 needles, then I knitted 2 rows in rib and stockinette, increased 2 stitches and switched to US6 needles.
After several false starts and much of frustration, the mittens of doom are finished. They have been field tested and approved of. Our friend (another avid photographer) admiringly hinted that he might like a pair like that as well.