The Ugly Mitten

When I first learned to knit, I HATED it.

You know how, for some people, it’s all about the process? Yeah, NOT for me. For me, the process sucked. I just liked having knitted THINGS.

I loved that, somehow, by fiddling with a pair of sticks and some string, I ended up with an actual THING. One minute, I had yarn. The next? I had a mitten!

The first thing I ever made was a mitten. I had a friend who really missed these red chunky mittens that she’d lost and brilliant me figured I would MAKE her a pair for the holidays. The fact that I had no idea how to knit didn’t deter me. I ran out to Michael’s, picked up some red yarn, needles and a how-to book and went at it.

I remember sitting there, brow furrowed, fingers in a death grip around the needles, when my brother said to me, “I thought knitting was supposed to be relaxing. You don’t seem very relaxed…”


Eventually, I ended up with one red mitten. It was a two-needle mitten made from a pattern I’d found on the internet. I did see one for DPNs, but considering the fact that I had no idea how to knit AT ALL, those 4 tiny sticks looked like a nightmare to me. It was a cute mitten and I was proud of it. Soon after, a second mitten followed.

After that though, I decided that mittens took too long to make. By my rough estimate, each one, knit in worsted weight yarn, had taken me about 6 hours.

I wasn’t into the idea of more 12-hour mittens.

So, I went back to Michael’s and bought some REALLY CHUNKY yarn. I think I may have even made a SWATCH! Somehow, my little brain figured out how to alter the two-needle pattern for the chunkier gauge. 2 hours later, I had another mitten.

2 hours! YES!

Chunky mittens became my thing. The only thing I knit for three years was chunky mittens*. I didn’t make them because I *liked* knitting. I made them because I liked chunky mittens. :) (er, well, because I liked mittens. They were chunky because I was LAZY.)

Here are three things you should know about these mittens I used to make:

  1. They were made from acrylic yarn. Duh, Michael’s.
  2. My idea of ‘seaming’ was making sure side A was attached to side B, by whatever half-assed sewing means necessary. This was mostly not pretty.
  3. For three years, I knit through the back loop. Meaning, ALL my knits were TOTALLY twisted.

These were the exact type of mittens I gave my sister all those years ago. The ones she *never* wore.

The ugly mitten (left). A normal mitten (right)

The normal mitten on the right was made using the same yarn and the same pattern YEARS later. The only difference is that I modified the two-needle pattern so I could work it in the round and changed the seed stitch to ribbing. The normal mitten on the right is the sort of size of mitten a normal person would wear. I have no idea who would fit the mitten on the left.

Also? If you ever had any questions concerning the effects TWISTING one’s stitches would have on one’s knitting, I think the answer should be evident here. If not, this close-up should clear up any additional confusion:

Very twisted. Very not cute.

You might have thought I was exaggerating when I said I made my sister some ugly-ass mittens. You realize now that you would have been wrong, yes?


Word on the street is that the sis is loving her *new* mittens, so my knit karma has been restored and all is good and right in the world again. So, YAY!

Completely unrelated, This weekend I am actually going on a BUSINESS TRIP! (secretly, I always get a little jealous of all of you who get to jet off to here or there for work! no fair! I want to go too!) However, the only work I actually have to do on said trip is to ride the plane. LOL.

That’s right, my job this weekend is to *experience* air travel. Tough life, I know.

I’ll be flying out to San Francisco for the day (hey! 1 day is better than no days!), which is good timing as it keeps me from being INSANELY jealous that my co-workers’ “work trip” is a 4-day stay at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Yeah, they still have to wake up at 4am every morning, but boo-f’in-hoo, they’ll be in the BAHAMAS! ;)

Anyway, so that’s that. Hope you all have a kick-ass weekend and thanks for sticking around :)

* and baby booties, but that’s another story. Those were ugly too.

13 Responses to “The Ugly Mitten”

  1. sil Says:

    SF only for the DAY!!! That’s cruel! FYI – is supposed to rain here all weekend, so pack some undies for the travel delay…

  2. laura Says:

    I knit through the back loop too!!! it never occurred to me what wackiness would result as i knit through the back loop knitting and purled during the front loop. teehee.

  3. Laura Says:

    Ok, the first mitten isn’t *that* bad, I think the twisted stitches make an interesting texture. :)

    And I only ever catch the tail end of the Kane show on my short ride to work, so I didn’t hear his wife took the trip bit. I’d want to go to Atlantis too!

  4. Krista Says:

    I think I knit through the back loop (only when knitting in the round) for longer than three years. I’ve knit part of a sweater, one glove, and half of two pairs of socks that way. Now that I’ve learned to knit without twisting every stitch, I don’t have the heart to either rip and redo all those unfinished projects or just finish them off all twisted. Such a sad dilemma.

  5. maya Says:

    Hey, I guess a lot of us started out knitting through the back of the loop! I did that for about a year myself, but I also purled backwards so, my stitches weren’t twisted. I think my grandma might have taught me to knit this way when I was a wee one. It sure produced some tight knitting! :-)

  6. biglug Says:

    That ugly mitten would make a good pot holder.

    Hey I just flew from Philadelphia to Orange County and back in 2 days for work.

    Boy are my wings tired.

  7. Phyl Says:

    Interesting. I could have a job “experiencing” air travel. Oh the knitting time would be lovely! And bonus if you get to experience first class air travel.

  8. Ebony!!!!!!!! Says:

    …i like mittens

  9. Stacey Says:

    Dude…why do you have to go there AFTER I move?!
    That sucks.
    Maybe next time you can experience air travel to Los Angeles :)

  10. mai Says:

    are you going to dress inappropriately and try to get kicked off the plane?

  11. Sarah Says:

    Well, if it makes you feel better, I’m now grounded from air travel and won’t be flying anywhere for several months. And while 1 day in San Fran is better than no days, it’s still not enough time :). Just make sure to hit Artfibers!

  12. Scrapper Says:

    Yay Mittens!
    Hope you have fun on your flight!

  13. dani Says:

    Excellent comeback on the mitten front! My first knit (well, after the obligatory scarf) was a pair of st st mittens, which I still wear to this day. That isn’t to say they’re not heinous…

Leave a Reply