Flatlay of a pair of fingerless mitts in green with a Fair Isle tulip motif, with tulips in the frame.

Picking Up Stitches for an Afterthought Thumb

The March Flowers Mitts pattern uses an afterthought thumb – similar to an afterthought heel on a sock – to avoid interrupting the colorwork on the mitt and provide an easy, neat finish. The downside of this is that it doesn’t fit as well as a mitt with a thumb gusset. However, I envisioned these mitts as a perfect quick knit to throw on during those chilly spring morning and then tuck in your pocket when it warms up. The afterthought thumb suits my purposes perfectly.

It can be a bit tricky to pick up the stitches neatly once you’ve removed the waste yarn, so I prefer to do it while the waste yarn is still in place. In the photo below I’ve placed the stitches on the two tips of my circular needle. You can see the blue waste yarn in between.

Picking up the thumb stitches with waste yarn in place.

Picking Up the Thumb Stitches

When you pick up the stitches, you need to pay attention to three rows of stitches:

On the bottom you have a row of stitches where the top of the ‘v’ meets the waste yarn: in the middle the row made by the waste yarn, which will be removed in the next step; and on top a row of stitches where the bottom of the ‘v’ meets the waste yarn.

To pick up the stitches, keep the mitt facing up, and insert a needle tip into the right leg of the ‘v’ in the row above and below the waste yarn. You can then safely unravel the waste yarn (if you are using a long circular needle shifting the stitches onto the cable will make this easier), and you will be left with live stitches on the needles.

Picking up Stitches in the Gap

The other tricky thing about the thumb is picking up the stitch in the gap on either side so that you get a neat finish. Since I’m working the thumb in the main color, I created my stitch by picking up a bar of the main color along the edge of the gap and knitting through the back loop. Below you can see the tip of the needle has been inserted into the green bar that will be picked up.

Picking up a stitch in the gap.

I hope this tip helps, and please tag your projects #MarchFlowersMitts and #BullockOzkanDesigns. I love to see your creations!


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