Monday, 7 January 2008

Part 1 of the 'waste yarn trick' - basic afterthought thumb

The basic afterthought thumb is a very simple way of working the 'waste yarn trick'. It is used for making a simple thumb with no shaping in the hand part of a glove or mitten - an afterthought thumb is also called a 'peasant thumb' and is quite common in multi-coloured knitting as it means that the colour pattern on the hand is not disrupted by extra thumb stitches.

Step 1:Use a 20cm length of waste yarn to knit desired number of stitches (here 6).

Step 2:Slip the stitches just knit back onto the left hand needle.

Step 3:Knit the stitches again, but this time with the main yarn. Continue knitting as normal.

Step 4:Later unpick the waste yarn, placing the stitches onto 2 double pointed needles. There will be an extra stitch on the top needle.

Step 5:To avoid holes pick up a loop between the needles. Knit it together with the first stitch on the left hand needle.

One of the great advantages of the afterthought thumb is that you do not have to cast on stitches in the middle of a round of knitting and then pick them up again later. This makes a very neat join on the inside of the thumb.

A disadvantage of the method shown above is that the number of stitches in the main part of the mitten is the same above and below the thumb, making it unusable if you want to work a shaped thumb.

However with a simple extra the above method can be changed so that you can use it for shaped thumbs too.... This is covered in Part 2 of the 'waste yarn trick'.


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