Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Reversible Mittens

Wow, life is really getting in the way of getting much done!  Every time I go out to do something, it takes two trips.  One day last week, I was at the kids' school FOUR times. 

One problem with knitted mittens is that they tend to not be dense enough, particularly against wind.  Yes, you can use thicker yarn, but you still can not eliminate the microscopic gaps between stitches.  You can add an inside, knitted layer, but it's still just two layers of knitting.  I began thinking maybe I could try "plating" to get a thick pair of mittens without using a thick yarn. 

Plating (or, some machines call it "plaiting"), is knitting with two yarns in the carriage.  One is held closest to the needles, and one is held further out.  This means that the knit side of the fabric shows up as one colour, and the purl side as the second colour.  If you were to just hold two yarns together, they twist around each other and appear random on both sides.  This is one of the few things that a knitting machine can do that you just can't do in hand knitting. I'd never done anything with it before, but after the seminar I went to in May, I was eager to try.

My first issue...the ribbing.  If I plated it, then converted the stitches, you actually get vertical stripes of both colours.  I finally realized that I could make the ribbing like a big hem.  Start with the inside colour, knit 20ish rows, change to the outside colour, knit another 20 rows, and then convert it all to ribbing.  Then pick up the first row (done with an open cast on), and put it on the needles, and continue on.  Found out you have to cut the first yarn after it's ribbing though, and re-start it after hanging the hem. 

And since the backside is a different colour than the front...what if they were seamed so they can be reversible?  At this point, I really wish I had a mid-gauge or bulky with a ribber, and could have knit the hand without needing to seam.  The knitting didn't take long (well, not if you don't count the first mitten that I made which I had to unravel after I weighed it and found it took more than half the ball of pink, and I had only one ball).  But the seaming...that was a killer. 

I mattress stitched the pink/purl side and it looked great.  Then I tried several options for the knit/black side.  Ended up sort of duplicate stitching.  It didn't really even need a seam on the outside, but my conscience told me to do it.  LOL.

These ended up fitting about a size 5 (Meg is 6 and a big girl, and they don't fit her).  I've listed them for sale in my webstore at $15.  Basically, that means I worked for $0.01 per hour, after taking off the material costs.  Sorry, not worth it!  However, if you'd like a custom knit pair, I'd be tempted to do that, but I won't be knitting these up as "stock".

Yarn In:  14 828gr
Yarn Out:  13 201+ 66gr = 13 267gr
Balance:  1561gr more In than Out
Costs:  $317.59/282 = $1.13/day
(however, I've bought quite a bit of wool sweaters/fleece in the past week!)

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