My grandmother makes the best mittens of all time. There is no question. And it was her maid when she was a girl who taught her. Sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it? Well these mittens are anything but fancy. They are comfortable and last for ages. I still have a pair that belonged to my uncle when he was a child and they’ve held up remarkably well. My grandmother is also the only person who can make mittens that will fit my tiny carnie hands. Unfortunately, due to growing pain in her hands due to arthritis my grandmother is no longer knitting, and so my mother and I have taken it upon ourselves to learn all her secrets.
This post is part of the process of learning the magic mitten “recipe.” First we had to learn how to knit with four double-ended needles. Easier said than done. Though she makes it look pretty easy.
You have to keep track of not two but FOUR slippery slide-y needles that will get in your way and cause a ruckus. If you think you can handle that, then we can move on.So you start first with two needles, and you want to cast on ten stitches.Then you want to start to cast on an eleventh stitch, but stop just before you get to the point where you put the stitch on the first needle.Just like that you’re on to the next needle. Stick another needle through that one and start casting on again.Cast on another ten, and then an eleventh and start again on the next needle.On the third needle we’re just going to cast on eight stitches.This next step is very important. You take the dangly bit of wool from the first knot you tied when you started casting on and you tie that firmly to the strand of wool you are working with. What you will see in the below image is incorrect. As you can see, the cast-on rows are all twisted and higgledy-piggledy, and the knot should be flush with the stitched rows so you have a tight triangle.Make sure the rows on all your needles are facing the same way before you tie a nice tight knot.
Now you can start your knitting, and, because your needles are all connected now you can start where you left off and end up in a circle. Start knitting, knit two, purl two, switching from needle to needle as you go through, and you will see the cuff of your mitten emerging.It’s hard at first to adjust to the other two needles just sitting there and getting in your way while you work on the first one but you get used to it. Keep going until the cuff is as long as you’d like it to be.And that, so far, is all I have learned. Stay tuned!