Of all the different considerations I listed in my last post, it’s the length of the mitten that proving most troublesome.

As I mentioned, I deleted 6 rounds from the bottom of the chart before I even began knitting – I suspected the mitten would come out way too long if I hadn’t. This was an excellent beginning, but I don’t think 6 rounds were quite enough.

Overall my mitten seems to be a good length, extending about ½” beyond my longest finger. But I had to smoosh all the decreases into the very tip of the mitten! Both Eunny’s and Jennifer’s patterns instruct us to decrease gradually: first every other round, and then every round, similar to the way sock toes are constructed.

Unfortunately, by the time the beautiful lily allowed room for decreases, I had only about half an inch of knitting to go! So I decreased very quickly, over a very small stretch of space, which led to a rounded rather than a tapered appearance. Plus all the decreases bunched on top of one another formed rather obvious ridges. Do you see what I mean?

(It’s hard to take a photo of one’s hand with a 50mm lens, especially one’s right hand).

As I see it, I now have four options, listed from effortless to most time-consuming:

1. Leave the mitten as is. The extra space to the left and right of the fingertips will prevent finger claustrophobia. And blocking will probably smooth out the decreases.

2. Frog about 2″, re-chart the lily so it’s more squat and start the decreases sooner, working them in more gradually.

3. Leave the lily chart alone, frog to somewhere in the middle of the stem and re-knit it to be more steep, thus moving the lily head closer to the wrist and leaving more room at the tip of the mitten to work in gradual decreases.

4. Leave the lily chart alone, frog to the cuff, bluntly cut off another 6 rounds, start anew.



86 thoughts on “Length

  1. Jómy


    Seriously. It’s a look!

    There are rounder and square-er and more triangular mittens out there.

    What’s wrong with yours?

  2. Bjørgulf

    seconded! I like the round top. More room for the little piggies, and all the goods they pick up at the market.

  3. Sarah

    It actually reminds me of the top on Jared Flood’s Green Autumn / Druid mittens. Those ones are done like a saddle shoulder, so that’s another option.

  4. Laura H

    If the length is good, leave it alone! Authentic it may not be, but pointy mittens always seem weird to me. The patterns are beautiful, but the pointyness is very off-putting.

  5. Elinor

    I would leave it and I’m totally picky about this stuff too. First of all, I don’t think the angle looks bad. If there’s too much room for your taste, you could line it down to just above the cuff. That’s probably what I would do, rather than reknit.

  6. Kristy

    I think it looks totally fine like this, so I support you leaving it as is. Unless, after a good blocking, it still bothers you, and you think it will continue to bother you. Then you should do something else so that you’re totally happy every time you wear your pretty mittens 🙂

  7. Laura B.

    The mitten looks fine as is. But if it is bugging you, my advice is to do something about it. Perhaps curl the stem a bit more so that you can start the top petals earlier and just make the bottom petals smaller? But I would leave it. It looks great to me!

  8. Tracy J.

    I think it looks great as it is, but I understand the perfectionist bent. Given all of the work that you’ve done to this so far, it might bug you if left. Option 2, then, seems to be best. In any case, though, fantastic job – they look amazing.

  9. Amy

    5.) Frog back just to where you started decreasing, shape according to the too-long plan, and revel in the extra inch or so of space. More room for a lining, extra trapped air for insulation, and finger claustrophobia will be at a minimum.

  10. Meredith

    Okay, this may not be possible given that you’re working fair isle, but maybe you could remove a thread about an inch above the cuff (or how ever many rows you need)and put your mitten top on a holder, then frog to the cuff (from the break) and rejoin by kitchener stitch, then just frog to the beginning of your decreases, and do the top of the mitten as you intended. Crazy. . . maybe, but better than knitting a second mitten in a way you really don’t want to. Good luck, it is beautiful.

  11. Bertha

    I always take the route of not frogging, so I would leave it at is no matter what, especially since I actually love the shape and I think the decreases will smooth out in blocking.

  12. zgma - Jen

    I would probably go with option 2, honestly. As it, I think it is beautiful, but the roundness would probably bother me forever. AND I think the lily would look great reworked slightly on the top.

  13. Van

    It looks stunning as it is! However, if you are not too sick of going back to chart and frog, maybe you would do option 2?

  14. Hannah

    I like it as is. You could even consider the shape a feature, because it emphasizes the shape of the lily so well – I think its great that the mitten is shaped to fit the lily rather than the other way around.

  15. Pea

    I prefer the rounded top to the more gradual decreases anyway, personally, but you should (and will, I’m sure) do whatever will make you love them most! If you are going to rip and re-do I’d go with taking out part of the stem or splitting the difference by taking a little from the stem and a little from the flower. I think if too much is taken from the flower it will lose it’s long-legged luxurious beauty!

    Love your blog, by the way. I’m a long time lurker, but I’m not sure I’ve ever commented before!

  16. Gisi

    I would leave it as is. The mitten is very pretty and who will see wonky decreases once you wear it? The Lily design is so beautiful, it should not be cut off anywhere.

    Maybe the next time you can find a yarn a tad thinner to make your perfect mittens? I think anyone who wears mittens should have another pair.

  17. Amy

    I hate to be the only naysayer here, but….

    I would leave this mitten alone – for now. Too often I rip and re-knit, only to discover that my original was truly the best option.

    I would knit the 2nd mitten, and I would make the stem shorter so that the top could be knit more traditionally. I actually like that there’s a little of the background on the top of the mitten that matches the background around the stem – I think it lends balance to the mitten. In addition, I think you’re half-inch might be just a *tad* too short, so you might want to consider making it just a few rows longer.

    Obviously, JMO and I’m *so* impressed that you are capable *and* willing to putz with the pattern as you have!

  18. Amy

    Oops. Forgot to mention that since you’re knitting the 2nd mitten, you can truly compare and decide which you like better – then rip and reknit just one and just once.

  19. dawn

    Block the heck out of it and go with option 1. Its going to get all flattened out as you wear it anyways! And I don’t know about this whole gradual-decrease thing – on my selbuvotter, I decrease every round and they look fine!

  20. SallyH

    Option Five: make the left mitt to match. Block, wear and admire. Redraft the chart to cut out six rows, make the flower more elongated to fit into a pointier tip and add more background pattern at the top, and cast on another pair.

    White on deep periwinkle blue would be very lovely.

  21. Yvonne

    Before I read Amy’s suggestion, I would have picked option 4. While it sucks to frog almost a whole mitten, mittens are small and colorwork is fast.

    But Amy’s idea is worth considering, and I agree with her about having a little of the background pattern at the top.

  22. Sally

    It’s very beautiful, but if you know it will bug you in the future, you better fix it so you will be happy with it.

  23. Diana

    I like the rounded top but I feel like the lily is positioned too close to the end, you know like it’s squeezed into the corner of the mitten, so I would go by option 3.

    Shorten the stem a little and try working the gradual decreases.

  24. Genny

    I love it the way it is! The real question for me though – what shape are your hands? If the ends are rounded like this mitten, then leave it. If you are one of the people with pointy hands, rip it and make it fit your hand shape.

  25. Jacqui

    Everyone’s right – your work is stunning. However, I would try option two. Having read your blog for a while, I don’t think Grumperina the Perfectioknista will be wholly happy unless you amend the ‘flaws’. (Why else would you even think of frogging!)

  26. Erica

    Looks fine from here. If you hadn’t mentioned it, I wouldn’t have noticed the decreases bunching or the rounded tip. But then, I tend to knit my socks with increases on every round, so I guess I might be biased.

    If it’s going to bug you, frog. If you can ignore it, I don’t think anyone else will notice. If you’re frogging, do you think you’ll really be able to make the lily squatter without losing the shape? I would probably lean towards messing with the stem, but that might be because I’m chicken.

  27. Katy

    They look right to me, mittens are not gloves – they are meant to be a bit loose. If you DO think that you are not happy with the fit though, I’d go for option 2 and frog it to just after the down-facing petals and then rechart it a bit and get rid of the few rows that you have before moving on to the up-facing petals.

  28. Marlyce Swinnerton

    I love the look. Leave it the way it is. I much prefer it to the more traditional pointed version. When you’ve finished the

    second one and wear them and if it’s still bugging you, give them away (or sell them) and knit yourself another pair for next year.

    Marlyce in Windsor, Ontario.

  29. CraftyCripple

    Leave it well alone! I really like the shape, I think mittens should be sort of square looking, I didn’t realise until I started looking on the internet that were any other shape than yours.

    I think these mitts are gorgeous.

  30. Meredith

    I’m with Maureen. I’d frog and whack more rows off the bottom of the chart. Everyone else is right that it’s certainly very pretty as it is, but I’d make it conform to my will (knitting sometimes seems like the only thing I have any control over).

  31. Abby

    I’d say option one, but knowing you’re a perfectionist probably option two.

    You can have 50 people tell you it’s fine (it is) but if you don’t like the way it looks it’s going to bother you and maybe even prevent you from wearing your beautiful creation!

    So, I think the lines you’ve draw for the more ‘squat’ lily look fine and would be the (second) best option.

  32. kate

    I would rip and re-knit the decreases at the top to look the way you want, determine how much length you need to cut off at the bottom of the chart, perform surgery by snipping off the cuff, take out the bottom __ rows of the chart and re-graft the cuff onto the mitten hand. Less re-knitting, less ripping and no re-charting.

  33. Martha Marques

    Start the next mitten incorporating whatever corrections you think might be improvements. You have inadvertently knit a partial swatch. Then frog to wherever you decide you need to for the first mitten to make it do whatever you have worked out as the ideal. It’s February after all. Your not going to realistically wear these more than a couple of times until next winter. So you have time to be fussy about the details….which is what you loved about these mittens in the first place.

  34. Karen

    Please, whatever you do, do not crush the lily and its stem to make them squat. One of the beauties of elongated designs (like most of Art Nouveau) is the result of attenuating the elements. Note this is merely an opinion; your work, and eye, is very high quality and will choose an excellent solution.

    Cheers, Karen

  35. Gretch

    I’d leave it – first, it looks good – I’m not a fan of pointy mittens. Second – the ridges will block out – I just blocked some 2-color mittens this weekend, worried about the same thing, ok, and some pucker-iness in a few places, and it all worked out perfectly.

    3rd, sweetie, they’re mittens. You learned stuff to use on your next pair!

  36. prunila

    I like both options, I would prefer to start a second pair with a design as you like. But in general the design is beautiful!!! no important for me if a square or less square…

  37. =Tamar

    My initial reaction was to cut and kitchener, but I have another idea. Keep this as it is, redesign for thinner yarn and more stitches, and do a completely new mitten If you cut more off, you’ll have completely redone the design and squeezed what was supposed to be long and lovely into a too-small frame. If thin yarn isn’t warm enough, work a lining.

  38. Liz Cadorette

    Option One. I think the mittens look much better with a more rounded top; a blocking will almost certainly improve the minor wonkiness created by decreasing so quickly, and I don’t think the lily would benefit from squattier dimension. It’s lovely as it is.

    (Although if you block it and dislike the result, you can always then choose another option. :))

  39. Luci

    Your mitten is terrific. People are going to be looking at the lovely design more than the shape of the end of the mitten. Personally, I would leave it like it is.

  40. Mags

    I think it looks great, but if you don’t like it, here’s another option….give it away. I’ll take it anyday, and if there was a pair, even better…but I’m not fussy, I could knit the second mitt…

  41. Mags

    I think it looks great, but if you don’t like it, here’s another option….give it away. I’ll take it anyday, and if there was a pair, even better…but I’m not fussy, I could knit the second mitt…

  42. Shamiran

    I know you are not afraid of option #4, but I am offering a 5th option… It probably is the best one, but then again I am a little biased. 😉 (In terms of effort, it might be smack dab between options #1 and #2.)

    You like the length, You are not sure if you want to taper off… SOOOOOO…

    Frog to six rows before the decreses… Then decrease with the tapered off look… No need to even fair isle any of this, you are just doing it as a test. If you like the change THEN refrog to the beginning and rechart. You might decide that you like it squat and just reknit those six rows and the decreases.

    Good Luck!!!

  43. Carla

    Amy has an intriguing idea. Against the stream here I think the abrupt, rounded ending destroys the integrity of this lovely design. Yes, take off some near the cuff then begin adding to the end. I think it will be less work in the long run and you will be happier with the design you worked so hard over.

  44. Lisa Dusseault

    You washed the mitten, right? I have been knitting 20 years and I knit and wash swatches, and I still don’t know exactly what the yarn’s going to do when it’s done and washed.

    Wool mittens felt slightly from use. I have had to give away wool/angora gloves that fit me perfectly at first, because after about three times out they had felted to perfectly fit my friend with her smaller hands. Ah well, I love to give away my knits anyway.

    So if the mitten doesn’t grow in washing (in which case I predict you’ll rip back and redesign the top of the motif), you can rip out the last decreases and make the mitten even *longer* to allow for that shrinking-from-usage.

  45. Nicky

    If blocking is one of your potential solutions, why not block it first and see what happens? If it works, great. If not… then move onto another solution.

  46. Lindsey Rose

    Option 2. I mean, I would choose option 1. But finger claustrophobia is sweeping the nation.

    I think Option 2 will make you the happiest. Less frogging and better layout!

  47. Luise

    Option 1 — yes, indeed. It’s a mitten, after all, and it’s beautiful if imperfect. Onward to other endeavors.

  48. Trish

    I agree with pretty much everyone else. Leave the mitten. Work the second the same as the first. Enjoy said mittens and have warm, pretty hands. If you just can’t live with the round top, go with option # 2 – which is the least amount of work. They sure are pretty though! On second thought, I urge you to consider option #5, which is finish the second one and send both to me. I mean really, why not get the offending items right out of the house altogether. I promise not to mention them at all 😉

  49. Sarah

    I like a rounded top on a mitten, but I’d rip back a little and then go ahead and decrease over a few more rounds. The traditional wisdom about mittens (and here I’d cite Selbuvotter and the Fox & Geese & Partridge Feet books) is that they shrink lengthwise with use and washings. Those pointed-tipped Selbu mitts end up looking perfectly rounded; the Maine fishermen used to start with an oversize mitt and then work with it in seawater so that it shrank and fulled and wound up fitting their hand. So I think it would be just fine to start with a mitten that’s an inch too long unless you’re planning to wear it delicately.

  50. Pat

    I vote for 1.

    I like the ability to wiggle my fingers. I cannot see “the ridge,” but I would hate for that amazing mitten to not be fully appreciated because of its perceived lack of taper.

  51. Denise

    I’ve loved reading the posts and comments about these mittens, they’ve made me more aware of design and spacing. Your mitten is gorgeous, and I think what you do depends entirely on your personal preference. My preference-well, while I wouldn’t see a problem with the mitten on someone else, if it were mine, every time I looked it at, it would just seem a bit..unfinished. I differ a bit from the majority here-I actually prefer a slightly pointier tip. Not super pointy mind you, just about the way you drew in the slanted tip in Option 2 would do. After reading that so many preferred the rounded tip, I kept looking at the pics, and I decided that the rounded tip wasn’t really my biggest issue. I agree with those that said the mitten could use a bit of the background design above the lily, for more balance. So, I would try to create more space above the lily for the background pattern, and then use the tip shape (round or pointed) that you prefer. I would not do option 3, as I think making the stem more steep would mess up the overall balance. As for Option 4, well, I actually like where the stem begins now better than the original-I like that it starts wider at the cuff and then tapers to thin. Would cutting off another 6 rounds cause you to lose this? If, so, then I wouldn’t do that, either. If, not, then maybe #4, or a partial #4 (less than 6 rounds) combined with #2 or with Amy’s #5. I would have thought that squashing the lily wouldn’t look as good, but the way you’ve redrawn the swirls in #2 seems to look just fine. Sooo…I would rechart for Option 2 to see how it would really look, then decide between #2 and Amy’s #5 (or, again, a combination). JMO, though, and sorry for the long post. You should definitely do what will make you happy, and, whatever you choose, I think it will look great (it already does).

  52. m. annema

    Have you drawn your handpattern before you started designing?I mean, like in Kindergarten, draw around your hand flat on the paper, then make a fist, are all your fingertops at the same horizontal length? Then you can wear square-rounded mittens, if your middlefinger is longer, you must make pointed mittens.I have never found perfect mittens, they are always too roomy above my little finger and therefore at that place a bit draughty. Only after reading your question I realised the solution, if I want pointed mittens I must knit them into a left and a right hand mitten, like in the diagonal pointed toes in socks. Thank you for unintentionally solving my problem, being in pointed mittens my indexfinger having not enough room and the little too much in squared mittens. Now, next winter will see me wearing diagonal pointed mittens out of real warm sockyarn, knitted by me, because they will no longer disappoint me in anyway draughty or too narrowfitted.BTW I would go for knit the second mitten as you think it should have been and let the best survive, reknit the other one, mittens behave more strangely in washing and especcially after some heavy snowdrenching then socks, which stay comfortably dry (at least from snow or rain) in your shoes, I know, here in the Netherlands biking to school and work 24 km.s each day tells you what snow does to mittens.

  53. janna

    I like the way it looks now — I think it looks good with the lily pattern. And I don’t like mittens that are too pointy — I think they look funny. I also don’t think a little extra room makes it drafty, as long as the fabric is firmly knit (and I live in Iowa where it gets pretty cold at the bus stop!).

  54. Valerie in San Diego

    If it were me, I think I’d rechart the lily and reknit the top 2″ — the reason being that I actually think the lily looks a bit squished, and recharting it to be more slender, with the tapered sides, would remove that illusion.

  55. Sarah

    Leave it and block! You can definitely smooth the ridges out. Also, I’d rather have a blunt mitten than a squished lily, very personal decision 🙂 I love the mitten though!

  56. Emily

    Not too helpful for this one, but in the future, knit your mittens from the top down. Then you don’t have to guess how long to make them (or how wide to make them- you can stop increasing whenever it’s big enough).

  57. Cindy

    The one thing I have learned from knitting is, if I’m going to do it, do it right. EVERY time I have tried to fudge and get away with something, I re-do it, then realize I should have just done it right. So then, I not only have to undo what I have done, but what I did again. I think you’ll be happiest if you take it back to the stem and re-shape the lily so you have an end that you’ll be proud to wear.

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