Introduction: Knitted Fingerless Mittens on a Circular Sock Machine

About: I'm an IT geek during the day who enjoys unplugging in the evening making socks and other knitted items on my antique sock machine.

These mittens are made on an antique circular sock machine that dates back to the early 1900s. I'll be using a P.T. Legare 400 for this project with yarn processed from a local alpaca farm.

Step 1: Supplies

  • Circular Sock Machine - P.T. Legare 400
  • 54 slotted cylinder
  • 36 slotted ribber dial
  • 3 counterweights with stem weighing 5 lbs. for downward pressure
  • Heel forks
  • Setup bonnet for 54 slotted cylinder
  • 220 yards of alpaca/wool/nylon blended yarn
  • Row counter
  • Yarn pick
  • 50 yards of waste/scrap yarn
  • Darning needle
  • Knitting needles (2) size 1

Step 2: Setting Up the Machine

    In this project we will start off making a 2x1 rib. To prepare the machine for this we need to remove every third needle around the cylinder leaving 36 needles installed.

    Install setup bonnet by looping the ends onto each cylinder needle.

    Install the buckle with the counterweights on the bottom of your setup bobbin.

    Thread the waste yarn into the machine and crank about 30 rows. Make sure each needle has a completed stitch on it before proceeding to the next step.

    Cut off the scrap yarn and feed the tail into the middle of the project.

    Step 3: Hanging the Hem

    Thread your project yarn in and crank 3 rows.

    Remove counterweights and use the pick tool to pickup the first stitch created with the project yarn.

    Place this stitch on the needle and proceed with the rest of the stitches.

    Crank 1 row.

    This technique creates a nice scalloped edge around the bottom of the finished mitten.

    Step 4: Creating the Cuff

    Install the 36 slotted ribber dial. Insert the ribber needles in every other slot matching up the slot with the empty slot of the cylinder. Make sure the latches on the needle are in the open position.

    This will make a 2 x 1 Rib.

    Crank 30 rows.

    Replace the empty cylinder slots with needles. Transfer the stitches that are on the ribber needles to the empty cylinder needles you just installed. Do this step for all remaining ribber needles. After complete remove the ribber dial.

    Crank 10 rows with all cylinder needles installed.

    Step 5: Making the Thumb

    Find the center needle in the 6 o'clock position. From the center needle count off 10 needles to the right and raise the 11th needle. Do the same to the left of the center needle. Raise all back needles between these two needles leaving the front 21 needles engaged. We will begin working back and forth to create the thumb.

    Engage the heel spring. This keeps tension on your yarn while knitting back and forth.

    Knit back and forth for 35 rows.

    After about 8 rows you will want to install the heel forks to provide more downward pressure. Continue to move the heel forks up after every few rows if needed. You will start to see your stitches move up the needle and if downward pressure is not applied.

    After completing 35 rows cut of your project yarn. Leave about a 2-3ft tail. This will be used later to finish the thumb.

    Thread the scrap yarn up and knit back and forth for 10 rows. This will keep the live stitches for the thumb safe from dropping. Cut scrap yarn, remove heel weights, hold the bottom of your work and remove the stitches from the machine by cranking back and forth.

    Hang the 21 gusset stitches (10 stitches to the left and 11 stitches on the right of the center needle) to the cylinder needles. After this is complete cut off your project yarn and leave about a 2ft tail. Tuck away the yarn tail and the thumb into the center of your work.

    Step 6: Top of the Mitten

    Engage all cylinder needles to be ready to knit in the round. Make sure each latch is open before knitting.

    Thread up and begin using your project yarn. Reset the row counter and crank 15 rows to finish up the palm of the mitten.

    Install the ribber with needles in every other slot. Transfer the knitted loops on the corresponding cylinder needle to the ajacent ribber needle.

    Reset the row counter and crank 25 rows.

    Cut project yarn and leave about a 2ft tail. Tie the scrap yarn to the project yarn. Thread the yarn through pulling the yarn through just past the knotted scrap yarn.

    Crank 10 rows with the scrap yarn threaded.

    Remove weights and hold your project applying light pressure and crank until project is completely released from the machine.

    Step 7: Finishing the Mitten

    Remove waste yarn from the thumb. Pick up live project yarn stitches with a knitting needle. Bind off all stitches loosely with the yarn tail and sew up the side of the thumb using a whip stitch.

    Do the same procedure for the top of the mitten.

    Wash, block and dry mittens. Wear and enjoy!

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