Published On: July 6, 2023

Let’s talk about thumbs on gradient mitts.⁠

First, this is a very long gradient with subtle shifts. The color change over the course of the mitt is slight, so you could get away without doing this! But it’s a neat trick, so it’s worth talking about.⁠

Usually when I knit a mitt, I knit a tube for the wrist, make the tube wider to make room for a thumb, knit the wider tube until I get to the webbing between my thumb and hand, set stitches aside for the thumb, then go back to knitting the original size tube for the top of the hand. Then I break my yarn and work the thumb. ⁠

So I use one long piece of yarn for everything except the thumb, and one short piece of yarn for the thumb.⁠

If I do that, I’ll use a lot of yarn between when I set my thumb stitches aside and when I pick back up for my thumb (the stitches shaded in yellow on the second picture). If my gradient changes quickly, there’s a good chance I’ll get big color jump when I start the thumb.⁠

There is another way!⁠

I can start the same (knit a tube, make it wider, knit the wider tube until it’s time to separate the thumb). But when it’s time to set the thumb stitches aside, I first calculate how much yarn I’ll need for the thumb, wind that off, and then break my yarn. Then join the yarn back up and knit the rest of the hand.⁠

So I use one longish piece of yarn for everything up to the base of the thumb plus the thumb, and one medium piece of yarn for the part of the hand that happens after I’ve set the thumb stitches aside.⁠

If I do that with, I’ll only use a little bit of yarn between where I break the yarn and where I join back up (the area shaded in orange on the third picture). So my gradient will be smoother.⁠

Mitts pretty much always need two pieces of yarn to make two different tubes (the wrist/hand and the thumb). So you’re always going to get a little discontinuity across that break. But if you do it this way, you minimize it as much as possible.. ⁠

Again, for a gradient this slow/subtle, it’s not a big deal! But it’s a neat trick to have for faster gradients.

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