Lynne (still blogless, but not for long, I gather) asked the other day about the “secret” of the thumb shaping on the Rovaniemi mitts. Ain’t no secret. I think I already mentioned the increase ratio earlier on, but I sometimes forget that one little remark like that doth not the whole story tell. So in case anybody is interested, herewith some details. This isn’t exactly a proper formal pattern, as such, but at the rate I’m going it will probably become one eventually.
Oh - I found the ball band for the Shetland, BTW; it’s an antique, but just for giggles, here it is:
Ayr Shetland wool in “Harbour Blue”; a single 1-oz skein made both mitts. “Medium” Weight? I’m not up on my Shetland nomenclature, but it looks and feels like a 2-ply fingering weight to me. US #000 needles, 9 sts x 14 r = 1″.
The main body of the mitt is 66 stitches around (fudged down to 64 for 2×2 ribbing).
The intarsia pattern is 33 stitches, but it pulls in a little, so even with a framing stitch on either side it looks slightly narrower than the half of the tube it represents.
That’s two reps. The > marks indicate stitches to be worked TBL; I’ve used the same symbol that appears in the original Rovaniemi charts but have placed it somewhat differently. Near as I can make out, they mark all pattern stitches that move to the right; in each instance I only mark the stitch that actually needs to be worked twisted in order to make the stitch below it look right. (I could blather on a lot more about this; one of these days I probably will.)
The pattern is centered on one stitch, and so is the thumb - so you’re always working in odd numbers of stitches.
So let’s see. Cast on loosely, 64 sts. Work about 20 rounds (I think - don’t make me count them!) 2×2 ribbing. Work one round plain, sneaking in two increases. Then start working in pattern. I did one rep (i.e. 10 rows, for those keeping score) straight before I started the thumb shaping.
The thumb is built around a single stitch, offset slightly - about 1/2″ - from the edge of the mitt, or 5 stitches to the right (or left) of the rightmost (or leftmost) color pattern stitch. (I’m proud to say I actually did manage to remember, before it was too late, to make the second mitt a mirror image of the first.) I placed a marker on either side of said stitch.
(You could use fancy ones like these or these - me, I just used a couple of my ancient tried and true split rings. Love me some split rings. Is anybody still making these? Probably not. They always discontinue the good stuff. I treasure my little hoard.)
Then I worked paired increases, just inside the markers, in every third row. (I like the raised bar increase, and I have to admit that at this gauge I did not bother making them symmetrical! but of course you can if that is your kind of crazy.) After I’d done this 5 times the gusset was 11 stitches wide and I started the diamond pattern, which is [A] optional and [B] simplicity itself:
I kept going like that (with one plain row between diamonds) until I’d done 12 sets of increases, making the thumb gusset 25 sts wide.
Then I threaded the thumb stitches off onto waste yarn, and used the end of the waste yarn to make three half-hitches, which I used as a provisional cast-on for three stitches to rejoin the round of the main body of the mitt. Worked a round or two and then got rid of the two extra stitches with a pair of decreases on either side of them. Then kept going in pattern till I had a total of 7 reps. Dropped the colors. Decreased 2 to get back to a multiple of 4. Worked 2×2 ribbing for 10 rounds; purled 1 round to make a turning point; worked 10 more rounds reversed 2×2 ribbing (so the k stitches correspond to the p stitches on the first section, and vice versa); worked an integrated bind-off hem.
Picked up the thumb stitches and worked the three provisional stitches: 28 sts. The rest of the thumb is pretty short - another 6 rounds, 1/2 pattern rep - which is just time enough to work the two pairs of decreases that bring it down to 24 sts. I work them above the joins, so again on either side of the 3 provisional sts. (Actually, I think I created 2 extra stitches when I picked up the provisional ones, then decreased those out in the next round - it’s a good way to close up the gaps at the joins.)
Then 10 rounds 2×2 ribbing and a stretchy bind-off - I used EZ’s “sewn” bind-off and made it as loose as I reasonably could.
Then weave in five zillion ends… block (very important!)… and it’s done.
Funny thing is, I still don’t totally “get” the fingerless mitt thing. But now I’ve got a pair, and something tells me these aren’t my last.