For paired decreases, you make right-leaning decreases on one side of the front of the mitten, and left-leaning decreases on the other side of the front, and repeat on the back, for neatly symmetrical shaping. The right-leaning decrease is always knit-2-together (k2tog), and the period-correct left-leaning decrease is slip 1 knitwise, knit 1, pass-slipped-stitch-over (s1, k1, psso).
Right- or left-leaning refers to the way the decreased stitch lies, not necessarily which side they're on. If you put right-leaning decreases on the right side and left on the left, it creates a continuous line of stitches that frames the curve of the edge. Right-leaning stitches placed on the left side and left-leaning stitches on the right are subtler, as they lean into the edge. The latter is the effect shown in the historical sample, so that's what I'm using.
So onto rate of decrease. There's an inch difference between the top of the pinkie and the top of the middle finger, where the mitten will stop, and each decrease row will subtract four stitches. Let's say I was to decrease every other round. At 10 rounds to the inch, that's 5 decrease rounds, or 20 stitches subtracted from the starting 48. I'd be left with 28 stitches to close, 14 stitches each front and back, and a mitten top just under 2" wide. Too wide, I think. Decreasing every round would leave eight stitches, which should make a more nicely rounded top.
Here is my sequence, then:
Needle 1: K1, k2tog, knit to end of needle
Needle 2: Knit to last three stitches, s1, k1, psso, k1
Repeat for needles 3 and 4
Repeat entire sequence every row until there are 8 stitches remaining (two on each needle).
Or, in my case, forget to keep one stitch before and after each end of the decreases, miss a decrease somewhere, end up with nine remaining stitches, rip back entire section.
|Five mocking stitches where there should be four|
I wonder if Ma wasn't ever tempted just a little bit to swear at her knitting, too.