Way back when, in my first Stitches Midwest class, I made an oven mitt. Once I got home, I made a second one. Made of Lamb's Pride Bulky and knit on huge needles, they started out looking like something for the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk, but after a couple of hot water washes zipped in pillow protectors, they felted down to a reasonable size. They have been in constant use since then, the best oven mitts I have ever had. I am so enamored of them, that when a dear niece got married last spring, I made a pair for her. It is time and past time to replace the original pair. That, and I want a pair in red and one in green for Christmas baking, since that store-bought (hey, I wasn't knitting back then) pair, the ones that only come out for a couple weeks each year, are also dying.
Just one problem. I've lost the pattern. Twice. We got the original as a handout for the class. I lost it. Early in 2013 I contacted the designer and bought a second copy. Lost that one too (apparently the pattern never made it to a downloadable version, otherwise I would have the pattern on my computer). When it came time to make the pair for the niece, I fudged from three other patterns I found on Ravelry (this one, this one, and this one) and the photos I had posted on the blog of the original pair. They didn't any of them quite sync, but I took notes.
Just not, apparently, very good ones. So here I am, trying to recreate the pattern, because when I consider that I paid for it once as part of the cost of the class, and again (the designer charged $10) for the replacement hard copy, I feel I've paid enough. Besides, somewhere along the line, I acquired a hard-copy of the same designer's pattern for felted mittens. I'd feel like an idiot contacting her again.
I've got a picture of the cast-on, it's clearly 36 stitches. I've got pictures of the mitts before they were felted. I'm pretty sure I've got the right number of rows for the body of the mitt. It's the thumb that I can't seem to get right. It looks like I might have 13 stitches held from the thumb gusset. But it might be 11. The mitten pattern says to pick up 7 stitches and then decrease by 4 until 4 stitches remain. 11 = 7 =18, not a multiple of 4. I tried decreasing 2 and then by 4 until 4 remained. The thumb looked like a flattened ping-pong ball - too short and too round.
So I figured I'd try 13, since 13 + 7 = 20. That's divisible by 4. Ripped back. Re-knit. Closer, but the thumb still looks a little short and too wide, at least when I compare it to the original photo.
I figure the next step is to pick up just from the 3 stitches I cast on to bridge the gap over the thumb gusset and hope that I don't end up with huge gaps between the saved stitches and the picked up ones. Or maybe I need to cast on the 7 stitches and then K2tog at the joins. Or I could split the baby and cast on 5 stitches and see what happens. No matter what, I think I have to knit even for more than 6 rows (another direction grabbed from the plain mitten pattern).
I am keeping better notes and by the time I've knit six of these I hope I'll have worked out the kinks. Until then, I guess I'll go back and rip out the thumb again.