Inspiration: I like the idea of fingerless gloves because they can be worn indoors or out. This is an extremely popular pattern, so I figured it would be safe for a first try. It's pretty, too!
Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath in Knitty.
Yarn: one skein* Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% merino wool/33% microfiber/12% cashmere) in 017 grape from Craft and Save on eBay. I chose the color because it reminded me of Arwen's "Traveling Outfit" in The Return of the King. Silly reason, but true.
*see Notes below.
Needles: US size 6 Bryspun double-pointed needles.
Notes: These were a bit more of an epic than they should have been... I ended up knitting them three times!
The first time was back when I was knitting "backwards". I had bought only one skein of yarn, and I ran out with one round, the bind-off, and the thumb left on the second mitt. So I had to buy another skein to finish the set.
When I discovered my knitting error, I realized that it accounted for the mitts being rather un-stretchy. I was going to be driven crazy by owning un-stretchy, backwards-knitted mitts, so I unravelled and reknit them, this time knitting conventionally. Before doing so I wondered if conventional knitting would use less yarn; it didn't.
It did, however, make the mitts much more stretchy. Too stretchy. I have fairly small hands (about 7" around the knuckles), and they were just swimming. I unravelled my mitts again. This time I cast on only 40 stitches, which made 8 cable repeats. Also, I made the thumb five stitches wide instead of seven. Much better fit. Of course, this version *did* use only one skein. Ugh.
The first time I knit these, I was still dealing with ladders; fortunately, the cable pattern camouflages such problems. Great double-pointed needle practice!
It's also a good project for learning to cable without a needle, which I did on the final version. I watched a few videos on the subject, but the best explanation for me was this one. It's scary at first, but faster and easier.
Before I started, I was nervous about working the thumbs, which was a new technique for me. Fortunately it was quite simple.
One more thing: I hadn't done a picot bind-off before. The first time I did it, I tried to do it loosely, as one is ordinarily supposed to do. For whatever reason, though, a picot bind-off looks much neater if it's bound off somewhat tightly. So I did that on the last pair.
Conclusion: I had a lot of learning to do for such a little knit. At least it's fast! But I like them very much, and am looking forward to making more mitts... there are so many lovely patterns available.