How to close the top of your mittens with Russian Grafting:
The above samples were knit with Jamieson Aran, washed three times in hot water (top loader machine), and air dried.
Before you wash your mittens, be sure to flatten one of the mittens against a piece of paper and trace the top of the mitten (trace from the end of the ribbing upward – you won’t have enough space to trace the entire mitten on a regular piece of paper). This will help you monitor how much it’s shrinking, and will provide helpful information for making another pair.
Start with just one run through the washer on hot water. It works best to wash the mittens with a medium or small load of towels or jeans in similar colors. Check the size after the first washing. In most cases it won’t be fulled enough at this point – however, yarns that are more heavily processed and are dyed tend to full more quickly. Repeat a second washing (and third, if needed) until you achieve the appropriate size. Finished measurements should be: In most cases, it works well to let the mitten air dry. However, if several washings result in a mitten that is still larger than you want, you can run it through the dryer with the rest of the clothes, checking every 10-15 minutes.
Top loaders tend to provide more predictable and controllable results, but I’ve seen some with front loaders make it work. If you’re using a front loader, use the shortest possible wash cycle and see how it goes. Front loaders are a little trickier, so proceed with caution.
Begin with the stems, using the stem stitch embroidery stitch. The finished look is meant to be rustic, so don’t worry about perfection. The sample below was stitched with Island Fibers sport weight in a rich acid green. Any relatively lightweight yarn, the more rustic the better, will work. This is the transfer paper I have used for embroidery on my mittens.
Trace the poppies onto the transfer paper and trim around the sides, leaving excess. Peel away the paper backing and apply only one flower at a time, working satin stitch embroidery petal by petal. Repeat with remaining flowers, spacing them decoratively around the stems.
Continue until all flowers are completed. The sample poppies were stitched with HiKoo Kenzie from Skacel Knitting in the color Tamarillo.
Trim away the excess transfer paper (taking care not to cut the embroidery).
Add the decorative hash marks to the stems and the dark French knots (sample done with scraps of fingering weight yarn in charcoal). Soak the mitten in lukewarm water (no agitation) for about 30 minutes or until the transfer paper residue has dissolved. Press excess water with a towel and let air dry.
If your mittens take too long to dry, it sometimes helps to place each mitt over the top of an empty wine bottle in a warm place to finish drying and air-out the inside of the mitten.