I have a long standing love affair with sock yarn. I have balls of it coming out my ears and every time I’m in one of the LYS I pick up a new ball or three. A comment was made last time I was in Knit-Knackers that I must have a sizable collection of knit socks. Truth is I’ve got 1 pair. Never finished a second pair, just single socks.
I don’t really like knitting socks, by the time I’ve turned the heal I’m board and want to move onto something else. What I do make is mitts. I was surprised that no one else thought of it, I was talking to 5 seasoned knitters and not one of them had seen the potential.
Take your favorite sock pattern, add a cuff of some kind (I generally do 1×1 ribbing) for however long you want your mitten cuff to be (I do 2 inches) then do the sock without the heal, toe and all – the toe decrease is the same as the top of a mitt after all!
To figure out the placement of the thumb measure from your wrist bone to the boney part at the base of your thumb, that is going to be the distance between the top of the cuff and where you want to put the afterthought thumb.
Afterthought thumb 101: bind off enough stitches to equal the width (not circumference) largest part of your thumb (generally the knuckle) then bind off 2 more (or 4 if you’re using thiner sock yarn & smaller needles). On the next row when you get to the bind off, cast those stitches back on, keep going with your patter as if nothing had happened. I generally check the size of the thumb a couple of rows later by trying on the mitt. If it’s a bit big, don’t worry, just do a couple of k2tog (one to either side of the thumb) after you’ve picked up the stitches to knit the thumb, if it’s too small, rip back and bind off more stitches.
I have yet to find a sock patter that wasn’t easily converted into mitts. Lace socks were still meant to have some warmth to them, and they make lovely fall/spring mitts. Or over-mitts, I use them to dress up a pair of vanilla leather gloves. They also make great under mitts for those really cold days where you’re going to have to take your heavy mitts off to do things like show off a transit pass!
Also, if you stop knitting about a half inch before the start of your fingers and then do an inch of ribbing to match the bottom you have a smashing pair of fingerless gloves!
Thumbs and finger decreasing I’ll generally do in stockinette stitch just because it’s easy.