Posted by: Kate | January 26, 2008

Alpaca Flip-Top Mittens

Despite the overabundance of bodily fluids and cleaning solutions in my house in recent days, I was finally able to finish my convertible mittens. And oh, they are happiness-inducing critters, yes they are. As warm as simply wrapping an entire alpaca around my hands, but with much more manual dexterity.

Repeated and fervent thanks to Lisa, for the lovely and unexpected gift of a truly artistic skein of handpainted alpaca yarn (with a shout-out to Maple Creek Farm, though it doesn’t seem that you can buy their alpaca online. A tragedy, to be sure). And it’s the gift that keeps on giving; I made three mittens (mitten #2 was afflicted with just about as many mistakes as any one mitten can contain, and it just made more sense to put it in time-out to think about what it had done and cast on fresh) and I still have enough for a scarf. Just need to decide what kind of scarf it wants to be… because it deserves something at least as gorgeous as the mittens.

The underlayer is a fine alpaca-silk mix, Alpaca with a Twist’s Fino, and again I’m left with enough for a complete project despite the fact that the second fingerless glove came out rheumatic and twisted, and a third was necessary. (And, agreed, it’s odd that the first attempt of each type came out fine; one might expect the big mistakes to happen the first time around. Not so, in my world.)

The final product, and I only wish you could pet your screen to feel how soft and warm these suckers really are:

And, since I didn’t find quite the right pattern for what I wanted, I made it up as I went along. BUT, and this is a big deal, I remembered to write things down as I went, so the pairs match each other nicely (once I remembered to actually read what I’d written down, that is). And because having mittens this lovely fills me with a sense of goodwill toward all, I’ll type out the pattern here, too.

This is the first complicated pattern I’ve tried to write out, and I’m worried that my shorthanded scribbled notes might have left something out – please let me know if you see something, or, worse, knit something that seems askew so I can adjust the pattern!

Flip-Top Mittens
.pdf available here
Skill Level
At least intermediate… there’s Magic Loop, cabling with two cable needles (or one cable needle and some cabling-without-a-cable-needle, a tutorial for another time), lots of binding off and picking up… maybe it’s expert.

Materials
Approximately 300 yards of Alpaca with a Twist Fino yarn
Approximately 300 yards of Maple Creek Farm’s 100% Alpaca
US size 0 (2.0 mm) double-pointed needles, set of 5
Stitch markers
3 stitch holders
US size 3 (3.25 mm) 32″ circular needle
1 or 2 cable needles
Darning needle
Four 3/4″ buttons and a sufficiently small needle to attach them

Gauge
Fino: 7 sts and 10 rows per inch on US size 0 DPNs, held double
100% Alpaca: 5 sts and 8 rows per inch on US size-3 circular needle

Liners
Right Hand
CO 48 sts on smaller needles, with yarn held double. Distribute evenly on 4 DPNs with fifth needle for active yarn. Join and place marker.
Work in k2p2 ribbing for 3″.
Switch to St st, k around 2 rows. (Needles 1 & 2 will be the back of the hand, Needles 3 and 4 will be the palm.)
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k 3, pm, k across; Needle 4: k across

Thumb Gusset
Round 1: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k1, m1, k to 1 before m, m1, k across; Needle 4: k across
Round 2: k around all needles
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there are 72 sts on all 4 needles (12 each on Needles 1, 2 and 4, 36 on Needle 3).
If necessary, k around even until glove is desired length to base of thumb.
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k10, place 16 sts on holder, k 10; Needle 4: k across. (56 sts remain)
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k 9, k2tog, ssk, k to end; Needle 4: k across
Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 as above three times, until there are 60 sts on all needles. Remove marker.
K around evenly until 1/2 – 3/4″ above sts on holder.

Pinky
K 7 sts, place next 23 sts on holder. Place next 23 sts on second holder. Arrange remaining active 14 sts on 3 DPNs, and k around for 1″.
BO loosely – I use a Russian bind-off (or something like it): k2, slip both sts back to L needle, k2tog through back loop (TBL). *K1, slip both sts from R needle back to L needle, k2tog TBL. Rep from * around.

Pick up and knit 46 sts from holders. K around even for 2 rows (~1/4″).

Ring Finger
K 7 sts, place next 16 sts on holder. Place next 16 sts on second holder. Arrange remaining active sts on 3 DPNS, plus pick up and k 1 st from base of pinky finger – 15 sts total.
K around for 1″. BO loosely.

Middle Finger
Pick up and k the first 8 sts from first holder and the 8 sts closest to ring finger from second holder – 8 sts remain on each holder. Arrange active 16 sts on 3 DPNs, plus pick up and k 2 sts from base of ring finger – 18 sts total.
K even for 1″. BO loosely.

Index Finger
Pick up and k the remaining sts from holders, plus pick up and k 2 sts from base of middle finger – 18 sts total.
K even for 1″. BO loosely.

Thumb
Pick up and k 16 sts from holder, plus 4 from loose area at base – 20 sts total.
K even for 2 1/2″ or length of thumb.
Dec rnd: K2tog around. Cut yarn with 10″ tail, thread through 10 remaining sts and pull tight. Thread end to inside of thumb.

Left Hand
CO 48 sts on smaller needles, with yarn held double. Distribute evenly on 4 DPNs with fifth needle for active yarn. Join and place marker.
Work in k2p2 ribbing for 3″.
Switch to St st, k around 2 rows. (Needles 1 & 2 will be the back of the hand, Needles 3 and 4 will be the palm.)
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k across; Needle 4: k to 3 before end, pm, k 3

Thumb Gusset
Round 1: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k across; Needle 4: k to m, sl m, m1, k to 1 before end, m1, k 1
Round 2: k around all needles
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there are 72 sts on all 4 needles (12 each on Needles 1, 2 and 3, 36 on Needle 4).
If necessary, k around even until glove is desired length to base of thumb.
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k across; Needle 4: k10, place 16 sts on holder, k 10
Next Round: Needles 1 & 2: k across; Needle 3: k across; Needle 4: k 9, k2tog, ssk, k to end
Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 as above three times, until there are 60 sts on all needles. Remove marker.
K around evenly until 1/2 – 3/4″ above sts on holder.
Remainder of Left Hand is the same as Right Hand.

Mittens
Right Hand
With Maple Creek Farm alpaca and US size 3 32-inch circular needle, CO 48 sts. Mittens are done with Magic Loop method – KnitPicks has a good tutorial here.
Work k2p2 rib for 4″ (or desired length for cuff).

Buttonholes
Round 1: Needle 1: Continue ribbing for 11 sts, BO 2 sts, continue ribbing for 11 sts; Needle 2: Repeat as Needle 1.
Round 2: Needle 1: Continue ribbing for 11 sts, cable cast on 2 sts, cont ribbing for 11 sts; Needle 2: Repeat as Needle 1.
Return to k2p2 ribbing around for 1/2″.
Change to St st for 1 round. Needle 1 will be the back of hand, Needle 2 will be the palm.

Increase Round
Needle 1: kfb twice, (k5, m1) three times, k5, kfb twice – 31 sts total.
Needle 2: K across – 24 sts.

Needle 1: Begin 6-strand cable chart, work four repeats of chart even throughout.
Needle 2: Work St st even for 1 1/2″.

Six-Strand Cable Chart
Adapted gratefully from Melissa Leapman’s wonderful Cables Untangled, Panel 43 on Page 147.

Note: I wrote the chart for 2 cable needles; I did not use two. I placed the first three sts on a cable needle, held to the front or back as appropriate, then reached behind the next 3 knit stitches and inserted right needle into fourth (purl) stitch, pulled four sts off right needle, re-inserted right needle into 3 dangling k sts, slipped purl st onto right needle, then p1, k3, and k3 from cable. It’s less confusing with photos, and I’ll do that someday. I promise.

Thumb Gusset
Needle 1: Continue cable chart.
Needle 2: K1, pm, k1, pm, k across.
Round 1: Needle 1: work in cable chart; Needle 2: k1, sl m, m1, k to m, m1, sl m, k to end.
Round 2: Work even around.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 18 sts between markers – 42 sts on palm.
Work even if necessary until mitten reaches base of thumb.
Next round: Needle 1: Continue cable chart; Needle 2: k1, sl m, k1, place 16 sts on holder, k1, sl m, k to end.
Next round: Needle 1: Continue cable chart; Needle 2: k1, remove m, k2tog, ssk (remove marker), k to end – 24 sts remain on Needle 2.

Mitten slit
Work even for 1/2″ after thumb sts placed on holder. Switch to garter stitch on Needle 2 for 3 rows, then BO 24 palm sts loosely.
Next row: Needle 1: work even; Needle 2: Pick up and k 2 sts, CO 20 sts LOOSELY (I cast on a size-5 needle and slipped sts back to Needle 2), pick up and k 2 sts – 24 sts on Needle 2.
Next 3 rows: Needle 1: work even; Needle 2: Garter stitch.

Continue with cable on Needle 1 and St st on Needle 2 for 2″ past slit, or until cable chart is completed.

Top Decrease
Round 1: Needle 1: p1, p2tog, p1, k3, (p1, k3, k2tog, k2) twice, p1, k3, p1, p2tog, p1; Needle 2: k across.
Round 2: Needle 1: k6, k2tog, (k5, k2tog) twice, k5 – 24 sts remain on Needle 1; Needle 2: k across.
Round 3: Needle 1: k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1; Needle 2: Repeat Needle 1.
Round 4: k around.
Repeat Rounds 3 & 4 until 40 sts remain, then repeat Round 3 only until 24 sts remain. Kitchener Stitch closed.

Thumb
Pick up 14 sts from holder, plus 2 sts from loose area at base. K around for 2″.
Next round: k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k2, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1.
Next round: K around.
Next round: K1, k2tog, ssk, k2, k2tog, ssk, k1.
Next round: K around.
Kitchener stitch closed.

Left Hand
Repeat as Right Hand, except on Thumb Gusset:
Thumb Gusset
Needle 1: Continue cable chart.
Needle 2: K to 2 sts from end, pm, k1, pm, k1.
Round 1: Needle 1: work in cable chart; Needle 2: k to m, sl m, m1, k to m, m1, sl m, k 1.
Round 2: Work even around.
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 18 sts between markers – 42 sts on palm.
Work even if necessary until mitten reaches base of thumb.
Next round: Needle 1: Continue cable chart; Needle 2: k1, sl m, k1, place 16 sts on holder, k1, sl m, k to end.
Next round: Needle 1: Continue cable chart; Needle 2: k to m, remove m, k2tog, ssk (remove marker), k 1 – 24 sts remain on Needle 2.
Remainder of Left Hand is the same as Right Hand.

Finishing
Sew buttons on liners even with buttonholes on mittens. Weave in ends. Insert liners into mittens and button in place. Wear happily.alpaca-flip-top-mittens

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Responses

  1. Wow, I am amazed that people are actually able to create their own patterns. I am good at following patterns, but I don’t think I could create my own yet.
    The mittens are amazing looking! You should be very proud of this.

  2. Those are gorgeous!

  3. stunning. (and oh so soft in real life!)
    you’re a better woman than I am for being able to write out that whole thing, cable chart and all.

  4. Oh so beautiful!!! And :clap: on writing out the pattern, even though I have not a clue as to what you said. 😉

  5. […] yarn. Hope it lives up to the hype! I’m not even sure what to make from it. Socks? Gloves? Mittens? A beret? A lacy little shawl? A […]

  6. I don’t think you’re ever cold, at least not lately.
    If I were about to attempt what you routinely do, I’d add one more instruction, probably at the beginning, “Shoot Self.”

  7. I’ve followed the pattern directions completely and to the letter, but somehow I’ve ended up in Buffalo with a tire iron, inflatable pillow, a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans and no mittens to speak of… wonder where I hooked and looped wrong. : )

  8. Ah, Bob, I left out the part about not doing shots in between each row. Sorry…

  9. Very pretty! However, my eyes are bleeding and I just had a seizure trying to read the pattern 😉

  10. Hi Kate, yet again I’m more impressed than I can say. My knitting skill thus far has only provided me with some scarves and a blanket. Easy stuff.
    I wish I could read the patterns but my mind just wants to sleep the second I look at them!
    I’ll just enjoy looking at your beautiful creations until I can wake it up.. 🙂

  11. Gorgeous!
    I Only Wish I Could Be So Talented.
    Unfourtunately, I’m Not.
    Keep Up The Awesome Work :]

  12. […] is a beautiful Flip Top Mitten that I’d like to make.  Designed by Kate (on the knittyboard), they are […]

  13. Hi – found this on Ravelry and I’d love to try a pair, but I have a question: approximately what size are they? Obviously they’re a woman’s size from the pictures, but are they for hands on the small side, or larger? (I have small hands, so that’s why I’m wondering…)

  14. I love these–thanks for posting. I want to try and make them–what’s the weight of the Maple Creek Farm alpaca? (can’t find any info about it online). Thanks for any info about it! =)

    • Are you on Ravelry? TI always go there first to check out yarns, see what other people got for gauge, etc… it’s a free site, *totally* worth a visit. You can see other people’s efforts at the same project, too, which is always helpful.

      I got 5 sts per inch on this project, and I typically am able to knit reasonably close to the called-for gauge per the ball band. The yarn is officially sport weight, giving an average of 4 sts/inch on US sizes 4-6; given that these were intended for cold-weather use, I opted to go for a finer gauge for warmth.

      Good luck! (I’ve heard that there might be a mistake in the pattern, I want to say around the button-hole or maybe the bind-off/cast-on area where the slit in the outer mitten… it’s been a long time since I wrote it and I’ve been busy with other stuff, so I haven’t looked it over lately. I’ll add it to my list and will try to remember to update the pattern if I do find any errata.)


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