Wednesday, January 2, 2013

helix fingerless mitts

I asked Sister Suzy if she would like a pair of fingerless mitts.  She was agreeable.  After looking over several patterns I settled on a simple pattern but wanted to make one row stripes.  I started in and ripped it out because making jog-less stripes for one row wasn't happening for me.  I did some research on how to do helix knitting. (I saw the pattern and thought it was cool.)  By using TECHknitter's tutorial and reading Kristin Briney pattern Walking Stripes carefully, I figured out how to do helix knitting on circular needles.  This is a documentation of how to set up helix knitting on a circular needle vs. 4 double-pointed needles.

First off knit your cuff the length you want.  I used Magic Loop and the pattern calls for one-inch cuffs in 1x1 ribbing.  Then to help me visualize the knitting being on four double-pointed needles I placed stitch-markers about halfway on each side.  Then I added the three additional colors I wanted to use between the stitch markers.

By the way, I only cast on 42 stitches instead of the 48 called for in the pattern.  So I had two sections of ten stitches and two sections of eleven stitches. I wanted the mitts to be seven inches around not eight.

The pattern tells you to go to the third needle and pick up the purple yarn in this case and knit to the last three stitches of the blue yarn.   To get to the purple section I slipped the blue yarn back onto the left-hand needle.
Then I knit the purple yarn to the last three stitches of blue yarn.  Slipping the last three stitches.

The directions then tell you to turn the work and knit section two to the last three stitches of the purple yarn.  To get to section two, I slipped everything from the right needle on to the left needle.

Then I knit the yellow yarn to the last three stitches of the purple yarn.

The directions next tell you to turn the work again and pick up the yarn on your first needle and knit to the last three stitches of the yellow.  So I slipped all the stitches on the right needle back onto the left needle and got out a smaller double-pointed needle and slipped all the yellow stitches in section 2 on to the double-pointed needle.

At this point you are asking the question, "Why didn't you just start out on double-pointed needles in the first place and save yourself all this hassle?"  The answer to that question is, I do not have any US #4 double-pointed needles.  I have every other size but those.  That shall be remedied when I get to town and can shop at the Twist for some HiyaHiya needles.

Then you knit to the last three stitches of yellow.

Now you slip the nine stitches remaining on your left-needle on to your right-needle.  You are now ready to pick up the yarn at the end of the row (blue at this point) and start knitting until you are within three stitches of the last color you knitted the round before.  Drop the yarn you are using and slip nine stitches and pick up the yarn at the end of the slipped stitches.  Then rinse and repeat until you are ready to start the thumb gusset.  You are not to twist any yarn in the back like intarsia because this type of knitting does not create any holes.

I tried moving the thumb gusset around on the mitt and I couldn't avoid slipping stitches through the thumb area, probably because I cast-on 42 instead of 48.  I decided to start my thumb gussets where the yellow stripe starts.  I only had to knit one extra round to get all the slipped stitches out of the thumb area.  A note to self: pale yellow yarn doesn't work; it looks like a dirty white with the rest of the knitting.

So this is what the finished mitts look like.

I thought the directions for finishing the helix were pretty understandable as written so I didn't worry about translating them to Magic Loop.  I wish I had made the portion above the thumb about 1/2-inch longer so it covered more of Sister Suzy's fingers.  Nice fun little knit and I learned something new!

Have a good day!



  1. I know that small project like that are good for learning new techniques. That looks... complicated. But pretty. Maybe someday I'll try it.

  2. That's what I thought when I first read the instructions but after some research for a different explanation and pictures...Or a video! Boy do I love a good, clear, precise video! The technique wasn't so daunting. I'm sure it would have been easier with double-pointed needles, too. When you get your sweater finished give it a try.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!


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