Powder Monkey Mittens

These fine striped mittens were knit for the wee cabin boy's sixth birthday. He specifically requested striped mittens the left one red and black and the right one blue and black. And when asked to confirm his selection a few days later he even held to which hand was which. The pattern however is completely hand independent, despite having the thumb in the palm rather than on the side. I actually knit him 3 mittens in case he lost one over the side in a storm.They were so popular I've figured out three more sizes. One for every size of pirate.

Supplies: Worsted weight wool. Two colors. 20-25g each color for kids mittens 40-50g each color for adult sizes.
size 4 and 6 needles probably dpns unless you're one of those two circular needle fans.

Gauge: 8 rows and 6 sts / inch

Sizes: kids 4-7, kids 8-12, Adult S, Adult L

Specialized Techniques:

Jogless Join: When changing colors you generally get a little zig or notch at the start/end of each color. To fix this, join the new color and knit one whole round. Before you make the first stitch on the second round of your new color, pick up the old color stitch from the row below and place it on your left needle. Then knit through both the old color stitch and the new color stitch at the same time. This is similar to a k2tog but one of the stitches is the old color lifted from the stitch below.
No-bump color change in ribbingWhen knitting the ribbed cuff section to prevent the little purl bumps from showing, knit all the stitches on the first row after each color change. This doesn't negatively impact the look of the ribbing. Even when the ribbing is stretched around a wrist, the edges of your stripes are still sharp.
Not-quite-afterthought thumb Knit a number of stitches on waste yarn, slip them back onto the left needle and knit them again with the working yarn. Later you'll go back and pick out the waste yarn while picking up those now live stitches, two stitches in each corner to knit the thumb.

The whole mitten is knit in alternating 4(5,6,6)round stripes of color. Since you're only going up four rows you can just float the yarn straight up rather than weaving in about a billion ends.

Ribbed Cuff:
CO 24(30,36,42)sts using size 4 needles
Arrange stitches on 3 either 6(6,9,9) sts 12(18,18,24) sts 6(6,9,9) sts
Begin ribbing cuff in k2p1 rib
If desired use no-bump color change to change colors in the ribbing section. Othewise rib normally.
Rib 4(5,6,6) rows MC
Rib 4(5,6,6) rows CC
Rib 4(5,6,6) rows MC
Rib 4(5,6,6) rows CC

Change to larger needles and MC knit even one row
next row increase evenly to 32(40,48,56)sts (k3, m1) (distribute on your needles as 8(10,12,14) 16(20,24,28) 8(10,12,14))
knit 2(3,4,4) more rows even. You will now have 4(5,6,6) rows of your MC.
Switch to CC and knit 4(5,6,6) rows.
Switch to MC and knit 4(5,6,6) rows. (you will now have 3 stripes beyond your ribbing)
Switch to waste yarn and knit 5(5,7,8) stitches.
Switch to CC and knit the first 5(5,7,8) stitches again, and continue to finish the round.
Knit 3(4,5,5) more rows CC.
Knit 4(4,3,4) more stripes alternating MC and CC.

Decrease for mitten top maintaining stripe pattern of 4,5,6,6 rows of each color Round 1: k6 k2tog 28 (35,42,49)sts
Round 2: k around
Round 3 k5 k2tog 24(30,36,42)sts
Round 4: k around
Round 5: k4 k2tog 20(25,30,35)sts
Round 6: k around
Round 7: k3 k2tog 16(20,24,28)sts
Round 8: k around
Round 9: k2 k2tog 12(15,18,21)sts
Round 10: k around
Round 11: k1 k2 tog 8(10,12,14)sts
Round 12: k around

Break off yarn leaving a 12" tail

With yarn needle thread the tail through remaining 8(10,12,14) sts twice and tighten carefully down. bring working end inside and weave ends to secure mitten top.

Not-quite-afterthought thumb:
So, you're to the only almost tricky part of the mittens. For purposes of direction above and below assume the mitten is cuff down and fingers up. You can of course hold it anyway you'd like. I flip mine around all over the place in this process. Take one of your smaller ribbing needles and slip it through the CC stitches below the waste yarn. You should end up picking up 5(5,7,9). Take another smaller ribbing needles and pick up the MC stitches from above the waste yarn. You will end up with 11(11,15,17) stitches on your needle.Techknitting describes it here: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/01/knitted-fabric-knitting-up-vs-knitting.html

Carefully remove the waste yarn. I like to pick out the end stitches, just to make sure I didn't miss picking up a stitch. You can cut the middle stitches and pick out all the little bits if you think that's faster.

Arrange your stitches on 3 needles picking and twist onto your needles up a couple out of the loose loops in the corners. I usually end up with somewhere around 3-4 more stitches than were on the waste yarn. Too many more and your thumb is too big, to few and you end up with a hole in the corner.

Join CC. (or whichever color the stripe above the thumb is) I personally do this by dropping the tail down through the mitten and out the cuff and then cleating it around a spare needle run through the cuff. This lets me get pretty OK tension on the first stitch and is easy to undo when we get to weaving the ends.

Knit 16 (18,20,22) rounds in stripe pattern
Cut off CC with tail long enough to weave and drop/stuff it down the thumb)
Knit 1 row in MC
in MC k2tog all the way around the thumb
Knit 1 row in MC
in MC k2tog all the way around the thumb
Knit 1 row in MC
Cut off a longish tail about a foot or so.

Thread the the tail on a yarn needle through the remaining stitches twice and pull tight (tighten the inside first loop first then the second, don't ask me how many times it took me to learn that one)
Feed the yarn back inside the thumb.
Undo cleated ends (if you bothered)

Turn the mitten wrong side out and weave all your ends.

Repeat the whole process again for your second mitten. You do NOT have to reverse the thumb direction because the top of the mitten is round so the mittens are reversible.

To put your seams on the underside of both mittens, knit the thumb on the last needle instead of the first. (so it might be more important if you didn't do the joggless join) The floats felt into palms after a little wear.

Creative Commons License
Powder Monkey Mitten Pattern by Laura Thomas & Heidi Waterhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.