Fitz Mitts Knit Along

fitz mitts knit along

Hello Knitters!  It's KnitDocDonna. Joining you for our first knit along of the new year and promising it will be a fast fun ride! We're about to craft a handsome pair of cozy mitts on double points in no time flat.

double pointed needles

Never used double pointed needles? Too tough to learn? Not at all! I think learning to wield double pointed needles as being somewhat akin to learning to drive stick-shift car . . . not as scary as you think. It just takes a little practice to learn the basics and easy as pie once you know how! You'll be whizzing from round to round, before you know it! And it is oh soooo worth taking that spin! So, let's get started!

What we are learning learn today:

  • Cable cast-on
  • How to set up and work with double pointed needles
  • How to join for knitting in the round on double pointed needles
  • How to prevent dropped stitches
  • How to repair dropped stitches
  • Easy slotted thumb opening
  • How to reinforce stitches

Ready? Then it's time to find a comfortable spot, grab your tools and materials and get set to cast-on.

Here's the Fitz Mitts Free Knitting Pattern (PDF download)

How to Cable Cast-on

Begin by making the usual slip knot (leaving a 5" tail to weave in later) and cast-on one more stitch using any cast-on method.

Insert the tip of the right hand needle between your slip knot stitch and your first cast-on stitch.

Wrap the working yarn between the needles (as if to knit), draw out a loop between these 2 stitches and place the loop back on the left hand needle.

As you add stitches, continue drawing your loop between the last 2 stitches on the needle, as pictured above, until you have cast-on the required number of stitches.

Knitting Doctor Tip: The secret to this cast-on is to do it a little loosely so your first row moves easily off the needles.

Now that we know how we are going to cast-on our stitches let's look at our pattern and get started!

How to Work the Initial Row

1.  Cast-on 32 stitches onto 1 needle using the cable cast-on shown above.

2.  Work Row straight without joining, this row is just a knit 2, purl 2 pattern.

Knitting Doctor Tip:  When casting-on to 1 double point I often use a point protector to turn this double into a single straight needle. That way, my stitches won't fall off.

Knitting Doctor Tip:  When casting-on to 1 double point I often use a point protector to turn this double into a single straight needle. That way, my stitches won't fall off.

You’ll notice as we've cast-on each stitch our last stitch sits at an angle. This is exactly how it should look and this angle creates the braided edge.  

Dividing and Setting Up the Stitches

Now it's time to add 2 more needles. Yes, we'll have 3 needles loaded with stitches for the remainder of our project.  Here's how we'll start:

1. Begin by sliding 10 stitches (from the end with the working yarn)  onto a 2nd double point.

2.  Slide the next 11 stitches onto one more double point.

We now have our 3 needles loaded and your set up should now look like this. Needle 1: (our original needle) 11 sts, needle 2:  11 sts and needle 3:  10 sts.

Now we're ready to join!

Knitting Doctor Tip: Whenever working a project in the round, whether on double pointed needles or circulars, you will read the caution to make sure not to twist when you join. Working this 1st round as a straight row will help  avoid that dilemma. That bit of length we have on the needle will help us see if our work has twisted around the needle in any way. If it has we can straighten before we join!

How to Join

  1. Taking a look at the image above, lay out the 3 needles in a triangular shape, making sure the needle with the working yarn is the right side of the triangle.
  2. Push the stitches on the left and right needles toward the tips of the needles.
  3. Look at the image above, pick up a 4th (and empty needle), knit the 1st stitch on the left needle of the triangle.
  4. Place a locking (or removable ) stitch marker IN the 1st stitch.  This will indicate the beginning of the round.

Great! Join Completed.

Round and Round

Now check your pattern, this round is also a knit 2, purl 2 so go ahead now and work the stitches for this round.

Knitting Doctor Tip:  Having a small amount of ribbing, when turned under will help our mitts stay in place.

As you work the stitches on this needle you'll start to see that they are starting to fill up that empty needle you started with and we'll be left again with one free needle.

Use the newly empty needle to work the next set of stitches.

So, there you have it. Each time you empty a needle you use it to work the next set of stitches.

Here we are back at the marker, so it's time to count our stitches and look at our join.

Checking the Join

Check out the image above. This is how it SHOULD look.  There is slack between the last stitch of the round the 1st stitch of the next round. Don't worry, this is how it typically looks.  If after knitting the 1st stitch of the new round if there is still slack, gently pull on the yarn tail and that will take care of the matter. 

Note: Be sure the join does not catch around the needle. Of course, it isn't a stitch and if you knit it will throw off your count and cause the next needle to twist. If you count your stitches after the next round, you'll be able to correct any unintended stitch or twisting immediately.

Working the Body

Now we're ready to work the body and that means easy-peasey knit every stitch and every round.  Keep at it until you reach 9 1/4 inches.

All Those Needles AND Wrestling the Octopus

Maneuvering double pointed needles is a skill no doubt about it. But, it's like any other new skill, awkward at first but much easier with practice, and rewarding when mastered.

One of the best descriptions I have heard comes from one of our NobleKnitters. She refers to her double point projects as "wrestling the octopus".  That always makes me smile because I remember that was how I felt when I first learned.

What makes the learning curve less steep are 2 important things I have learned:

  1. You can ONLY HOLD 2 needles at a time. Think about it. You can only hold 2 and you only need to hold 2 needles.  Let the other 2 needles just hang there. Don't worry about them, let them free fall. Trust me, those needles aren't going anywhere!
  2. Relax your hands and let them move away from your body. This is a biggie! It's really amazing, but as you do relax those hands (and your body too) those extra needles will somehow be less in the way, and when they do intrude you can flick them out of the way with a forefinger.  

Still nervous about losing stitches from those extra needles. Well, yes, it can happen, and here is a way to prevent that and build confidence as we continue to work with our double points.

preventing dropped stitches

Preventing Dropped Stitches

This is a very simple but effective way to keep from dropping stitches from the needles not in use.  Just pop on point protectors. Think of them as double point seat belts. With those protectors in place you can focus on working the stitches and build that confidence, while not on losing stitches. Just pop them on and off as you work your way around the rounds.

Repairing Dropped Stitches

So, somehow we have dropped a stitch.  Okay, it happens!  Let's just go fix it quick and move on!

Repairing a dropped knit stitch is really easy.  You can use a crochet hook, one of your double points or a neat little tool called Fix-A-Stitch.  

I'm using the Fix A Stitch so you can see it:

  1. Work up to the point the stitch was dropped and locate the  ladder(s) (or horizontal bar) that our stitch descended through. Make sure the ladder is behind the loop.
  2. Insert the hooked end of the tool into the loop. Hook the ladder and pull it through the loop. Now you have a new loop ready to pop back on the needle. If our dropped stitch has traveled down a couple of rows, grab the next ladder and pull it through, working the way back to the top and the needle.

Can't see the repair can you?! That's the idea. Even better, it doesn't take long to do and wasn't it easy?

At your 9 1/4 inches?  Ok, now we are ready for our slotted thumb. This is a really easy thumb application where you won't have to worry about a gusset that can be too big or too small.

Working the Slotted Thumb Opening

Let's work the steps below to create this opening.

  1. Following round 1 on our pattern, we are going to knit 4 and bind-off 10 stitches, then work to the end of the round.
  2. Following round 2 we are again going to knit 4 and cast-on 10 stitches, then work to the end of the round.

How to Cast-on in the Middle of a Round

Here is how to cast-on these stitches. Let's turn our work around to the reverse side and we'll start to add the stitches with the cable cast-on. Take a look at the image above and you'll see where I am drawing my 1st loop through. When you are through adding stitches turn the work back to the front side and continue on!

Knitting Doctor Tip:  Using the cable or knitted cast-on gives you a tidy edge for a cast-on in the middle of a row or round. Just turn the work to the wrong side to make this cast-on happen.

3. Just knit all away around for round 3.

4.  Now we'll add some shaping to the slit. Check out the pattern for the decrease sequence.  In case you don't have the pattern handy it will be a knit 3, *slip slip knit, knit 8 finish up with a knit 2 together. After that it's just knit until the end of the round.

* ssk if you haven't done them before is merely slipping the next 2 stitches from the left needle to the right, slipping them back to the left needle again and then knitting those 2 together through the back loop.

Knitting Doctor Tip: A small bit of shaping worked on slotted thumb openings will minimize gaping between the base of the thumb and the palm. Using mirrored decreases such as the slip slip knit (ssk) and knit 2 together (k2tog) work very well.

5.  Knit one more round.

Almost There!

Edging and Finishing

1. Only one more task before our Fitz Mitts are ready to wear. We are going to purl 7 rounds.  It is shown as Rounds 6 - 12 on the pattern. Go ahead and get those done.

2.  Bind-off purlwise

Almost Finis!

Optional Enhancement

Here's a little optional enhancement I like to do from time to time, and that's to tighten up the areas I have cast-on! Take a look at the image to see the gaps near these areas.

What to do? Well, how about a duplicate stitch? It's very simple and adds a little extra strength to stress areas of accessories!  I use this to reinforce both sides of any openings!

How to Duplicate Stitch

  1. Cut a small amount of yarn and thread a finishing needle.
  2. Insert the needle from the back to the front and come up at the base of the area you would like to reinforce.
  3. From the right side insert the needle from right to left under the vertical bars of the stitch and draw the yarn through
  4. Enter the stitch at the starting point from the front to the back and fasten off both ends. Voila!

How Do I Follow Along?

All of the posts will be on the here on the  NobleKnits Blog. Add a bookmark! Join the KAL group on Ravelry. Be sure to follow nobleknits on InstagramTwitterTumblr, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #FitzMittsKAL to follow the knit along or post pictures of your progress.

Thanks for joining me today and happy knitting!

- KnitDocDonna

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Donna Pelzar

Donna (aka the Knitting Doctor) is the face behind The New Street Knitter patterns. She teaches knitting instruction for all skill levels in her studio and loves to focus on techniques and interesting stitch patterns. She recently expanded into pattern design and we are thrilled to be able to offer her patterns at NobleKnits. Donna also hosts all of our Knit Alongs.