Well, I seem to have survived my birthday after all and actually, it turned out not to be as bad as I thought. I got tons of new knitting books and my husband decided I should have a birthday weekend, so the day after, he took me to my favorite yarn store, Webs. The day after that, my son and daughter-in-law hosted a big family party. Lots of fun. Maybe I should just complain about all my birthdays from now on!
On the knitting front, I recently came across this great pattern for some kitten mittens. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make them. The pattern calls for the mittens to be knit from the top down and uses bulky yarn, however, I wanted to make them from the bottom up and use a worsted weight yarn. I also prefer a gusset thumb. It turns out that once I figured out how to make the ears, they were pretty easy to reverse and I think they look very much like the original pattern. Alyssa very graciously consented to allow me to post the directions for my method.
First, you need to find a basic mitten pattern. My pattern is worked in the round and has 38 stitches after the thumb. I used Cascade 220 and U.S. size 4 needles. I worked the cuff in a solid gray and then started my stripes at the base of the mitten. If you haven’t knit stripes in the round before, there is a method for joining the stripes so that they don’t jog. Just do an internet search for “jogless knitting” and you’ll find lots of information and videos. After the thumb gusset, I did a couple more rows of stripes and then switched to solid light gray for the face. Unlike regular mittens where you start to decrease at the top, you knit until you reach the top of the fingers. At this point, I highly recommend that you put your stitches on a piece of waste yarn and embroider the kitten faces. It is so much easier than trying to do it after the top of the mitten is closed!
Here is how I worked the ears. (Remember that my pattern has 38 stitches.)
Knit across the first 8 stitches, then place the following 22 stitches on a piece of waste yarn, then knit the remaining 8 stitches. You want to knit these 16 stitches in the round. I always use the magic loop method, but you can use dpns or two circulars, if you prefer.
Knit 2 rounds even.
Next row, *slip 1 stitch as if to knit, knit the next stitch, and then pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch (psso); knit 4 stitches, knit 2 stitches together, and repeat from *. (12 sts.)
Knit one row even.
Next row, you are going to repeat the decreases as before i.e. *slip 1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog.* 2 times. (8 sts.)
Knit one row even.
Next row, *slip 1, k1, psso, k2tog* 2 times. (4 sts.) Before you cut the yarn to finish this first ear, you want to be sure and leave a couple of yards of yarn so you’ll have enough to work the second ear.
Run the tail through the 4 stitches and draw them up tight, and then run the tail down the inside of the ear. Place the 22 stitches back on your needle(s). You should have 11 stitches on the front and 11 stitches on the back.
Starting with the yarn at the back, graft the next three stitches together (kitchener stitch), so you have 8 stitches remaining on both the front and back needles or 16 stitches total. Now work the second ear just as you did the first.
If you like this pattern, I know that Alyssa would really appreciate hearing from you. You can also find her on Ravelry as "Alyoops".
On a final note, here's a picture of one of my birthday gifts. A pair of sock blockers for children's socks. I really like these little dogs and you can find them here . There are a number of different designs to choose from and they come in two sizes. I don't really block my socks, but they look so nice for taking photos. No more lumpy socks! As luck would have it, I just happened to have a pair lying around to test them out. These are Regia bamboo. A basic pattern with a k3, p1 pattern.