Knitting – Mittens Two-at-a-Time

Two years ago, I tried knitting once again after numerous unsuccessful attempts through the past 85+ years. This time, I got it – due mainly to YouTube tutorials, free Ravelry patterns and circular knitting needles. I especially like the Magic Loop which is a circular needle with a long cable. One of the features that intrigued me from the beginning was the possibility of knitting mittens (or other small items) two-at-a-time. I’m not a consistent knitter and like the idea of having two items match. Also, I hate to finish an item and then make an exact duplicate of the same thing – boring.

I’ve been doing well knitting two-at-a-time on flat items but had problems when casting on for something in the round – like mittens. There are many YouTube tutorials but the procedure looks and is awkward to do and, in my case, didn‘t produce a neatly ribbed cuff. In searching for a solution, I found a tutorial which worked for me but which I can’t find again to link. It’s basically casting on one cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. Knit 5 rows and removing the cuff to two double-pointed needles, keeping the stitches and yarn exactly the same as they were originally,

Then, cast on the second cuff and repeat as for first cuff, pushing the cuff down and pulling the loop of cable out so there are an equal number of stitches on each side. The stitches on the double-pointed needles are carefully returned to the circular needle and everything is set to go to knit two-at-a-time. I attach a marker to the right hand front edge of the piece nearest the points of the needles to identify it.

This pair of teenage-sized mittens have a nice, neatly ribbed cuffs.

I use a simple mitten pattern that I’ve used many times so I’m not struggling with a pattern. The main problem I’ve had is to forget to drop the working yarn when completing one mitten and picking up the yarn that belongs to the second mitten. This only happens when transferring in the center of the two mittens.

Also, I find it easier to put the stitches for the thumb on holders, complete the bodies of the mittens, and then go back and do the thumbs individually.

I knit a lot of mittens for the Lakota Children of Pine Ridge and it’s nice to be able to do them with this technique.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

8 thoughts on “Knitting – Mittens Two-at-a-Time”

  1. I’m so amazed at you and your knitting! I remember when you started this, and see how far you’ve come. I tried to learn knitting with a mitten pattern, and it was a total fail. I don’t expect to ever pick it up again and try like you have! Your work for Pine Ridge is a wonderful thing, and much appreciated, I’m sure.

  2. Thanks for sharing the information. I always enjoy your posts. I have had difficulty knitting, but you inspire me.

  3. I don’t fully understand the process you describe, but that is okay because I love your finished product anyway. 🙂 My aunt made me some knitted mittens probably 35 years ago. I still wear them every winter, and they still keep my fingers warm. 🙂

  4. I appreciate every comment which has been posted. “Really Ms Lillian, I don’t understand anything you said, but it’s very interesting.” That was my quote to Lucy 🙂 I remember when you started knitting and admire the work you do for Piney Ridge. You’re an amazing lady.

  5. This post gives me hope. I’ve tried to knit numerous times throughout my life, but never successfully completed any knitting projects. Maybe it’s not too late to give it another try.

  6. Lillian, these are all so beautiful! I love the colors! I know they must appreciate it so much! I’ve been trying to crochet a sweater (I can’t knit) for one of my granddaughters and have had to learn some new stitches, which I’m really glad about. I still don’t know if the sweater is going to come out right, but I’m trying! 😊

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