There are pros and cons to making a lot of socks (let’s be honest there are mostly pros). Actually, this is probably a general con of project knitting: you always end up with an awkward amount of yarn leftover in the end. Sometimes it’s an entire skein and sometimes it’s less than a quarter. When it’s a significant amount, you can imagine that you are connecting two people. For example, I finished a sweater for one friend and am planning on using the leftover to make a baby sweater for my coworker. Two people, who will probably never meet connected by yarn. Somehow this makes the second project more special (minus the occasional situation when you’ve knit with something you don’t enjoy for someone you do enjoy, in which case I recommend donating the yarn so that someone else can make the yarn connection).
The con is when you’re left with an awkward amount of yarn leftover and suddenly have to play yarn chicken, which brings me back to sock knitting. The person I complete a pair of socks for absolutely effects the amount of yarn I have left, which makes sense because everyone’s foot is a different size. I’ve danced around with a few different ideas on how to use up the leftovers but have never found a good universal pattern that I can rely on. I’ve worked several pairs from the Knitting Squirrel, but the thumb gusset always works out a little wonky and I often find myself several yards short. There’s also Runners Pocket Mitts, which are awesome if you skip the pocket but fit just a little too snuggly.
This got me thinking about ribbing. 1×1 typically gives me a stiff rib and 2×2 starts to relax more but still has a lot of give to it. I started off this endeavor with nothing in mind but the goal of fingerless mitts with both give a texture. Initially the plan so I was to do something like this:
- [k2, p1] repeat to end
- [k1, p2] repeat to end
Unfortunately, I was talking and playing a board game and when I looked down at my knitting I discovered that I had knit 3 rows in a 3×1 rib. While a cast on and 3 rows of knitting is not enough to commit one to a project, I found myself enjoying the potential stretch and how the subtle ribbing allowed the yarn’s striping to pop.
A couple hours later I had my first mitt done and needed to write down what I did so I could repeat the action on the second mitt. The result is the pattern below, which used about 120 yards of yarn at a gauge of 40 sts and 44 rows = 4 finches (unblocked) on a US size 2. Enjoy :]
Cast on 56
Knit 3, purl 1 for 2 inches
Row 1: K3, P1, M1R, K3, M1L, P1, K3 … knit 3, purl 1 until end of row.
Row 2-3: knit 3, purl 1
Repeat rows 1-3 5 times for a total of 10 sts increased
Row 4: K3, P1, M1R, K3, M1L, P1, K3 … knit 3, purl 1 until end of row.
Row 5: knit 3, purl 1
Repeat rows 4-5 3 times for a total of 6 sts increased
K3, P1, bind off 20 sts, knit 3, purl 1 until end of row.
Knit 3, purl 1 for 2.5 inches