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.
Finally! A summer’s worth of knitting has been washed, dried, tagged and is ready to mail to the children of Pine Ridge. Every fall, there is a special drive to gather enough items to give each of the K-12 school children a warm hat, scarf and mittens. This year, I made 5 large teenage scarves, 9 children’s scarves …
…4 hoods with neckwarmers …
…3 large teenage hats, 1 child’s hat, 2 ear warmers, and 2 pair of mittens
Now, they’re on the way to the Pine Ridge children for the long cold winter in South Dakota.
This summer, my younger daughter and I discovered a charity which accepts all kinds of cold weather items for their children on a Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota. They have very severe winters and say they are under-served at this location, grateful for anything hand-knit or crocheted that will help keep the children warm. Unlike most of the charities we support, they accept not only acrylic but also wool and wool blend items and are currently trying to get enough scarves and mittens to supply each of their children in grades K-12. In August, we mailed some items I had made…four hats, four pr. mittens and two scarves.
As of this date, they have collected enough hats but still need lots of scarves and mittens. Today, I’ll be mailing 5 beautiful pairs of mittens from my daughter …
…two neck warmers ….
This is the link through Ravelry:
I’m a little late reporting on the knitting I completed in March (since it’s almost time for April’s projects), but here are my completions.
I spent a lot of time struggling with a personal project – knitting two pair of socks from the toe up and knitting both socks at once on circular needles. I bought a wonderful video tutorial from Knit Freedom (www.knitfreedom.com) but had a difficult time, mostly because I didn’t switch yarn at the right time and had to unravel many, many times. I thought it would be better if I tried a pair of slipper sox in heavier yarn with bigger needles and as I made mistakes and corrected them, would continue on to a pair in light fingering sox yarn and would do a much better job on them. That didn’t necessarily happen, but I did get both pairs of socks completed. They’re far from perfect but wearable and comfortable.
As a future family member gift, I made a scarf of soft sport weight yarn in a pretty shade of pink. This started out as a washcloth and since it was going well and was the right width, I just kept going, adding a section of plain knitting in the center. I like this scarf very much.
For Easter, I made each of my daughters a tiny basket that would hold one Cadbury egg.
For charity knitting, I tried an easy mitten pattern link (Basic cuff-up mittens on Ravelry.com) and made one pair for Scarf It Up, a group that supplies scarves, hats and mittens to the homeless in northern Kentucky, and the silver/tangerine pair for the Arkansas Special Olympics.
And, of course, more nests for the Wildlife Rescue group (https://www.facebook.com/wildliferescuenests/). I always have one of these going on a spare set of needles.
I’m still enjoying my newfound hobby, although I get discouraged at times with my lack of progress. An old dog can learn new tricks but it’s a much slower process than it would be for a young dog.