Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Knit Companion
beauty shot Mary O’Shea


When I first learned to knit, it was all about me—sweaters for me, mittens for me, hats, scarves and gloves—for me. But time went on and I found myself living in Maine, in a nippy farmhouse with a crew of fun-in-the-snow kids, all needing wooly hats, socks, and most importantly, mittens. These latter items were constantly being lost, felted and worn out. My knitting interests shifted from sweaters for me to mittens for them—and I’ve been knitting mittens ever since. (Those kids are now young adults!) Back in those days, I leaned very heavily on Robin Hansen’s designs (Favorite Mittens) and used heavy worsted weight yarns like Bartlettyarns from Harmony, Maine, for many of the mittens I made my children. I’ve branched out now, and while I still favor wool for warmth, I lean more toward sport and DK weight yarns available in wide palettes of color. Inspiration for my designs is often based on the natural world, but is equally prompted by playing with yarns in a myriad of colors. I try hard to keep mitten designs to no more than 8 different colors, which I have decided is really enough for most people. When I first designed this mitten I had access to some closeout yarns from an out-of-business yarn mill. There were over 80 colors, and this mitten was the result of playing with those yarns (though in its original form, I used 15 shades!).

After the Rain uses 8 colors, and is shown in Cascade 220 Sport. The cuff is knit in a corrugated ribbing, which then flows into the pattern on the hand. The stranded knitting helps make these warm, but the lighter weight yarn keeps them flexible. The thumb is my own cross between a gusseted one and a “sore” thumb. Because it is shaped, there is no need for extra stitches on the hand to accommodate the thumb, so the hand fits snugly and comfortably.

While designing this mitten I had a phrase from an old Paul Simon song running through my head—though not quite accurately as it turns out, from a line in “My Little Town”—after it rains, there’s a rainbow are the actual words, but I still hear after the rain, there’s a rainbow, in my head!

spacer model: Caroline, Margaret
spacer photos: Mary O’Shea
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Child Small [Child Large/Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large] Shown in Adult Medium

Hand Circumference: 6.5 [7.5, 8, 9] inches
Length: 7[9, 10, 11] inches, adjustable to fit.



Cascade 220 Sport [100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 164 yds per 50g skein]; 1 skein each of:
spacer [A] Goldenrod (color #7827)
spacer [B] Burnt Orange (color #7824)
spacer [C] Ruby (color #9404)
spacer [D] Dark Plum (color #8885)
spacer [E] Azure (color #8892)
spacer [F] Blue Hawaii (color #9421)
spacer [G] Highland Green (color #9430)
spacer [H] Primavera (color #8903)
Note: The Adult Medium sizes uses approximately 50 yards of each color for the pair.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #3/3.25mm double-pointed needles
spacer 1 US #3/3.25mm circular needle for magic loop
spacer 2 US #3/3.25mm circular needles for two-circulars method

spacer Yarn needle
spacer scrap of smooth contrasting color yarn for a stitch holder
spacer 2 stitch markers



26 stitches and 29 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch over stranded color knitting 


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

This pattern uses 2 colors per row, with only 3 stitches between most color changes, so it is not usually necessary to wrap yarns to avoid long floats. Occasional exceptions occur when you are increasing for the thumb. Some rows require carries of up to 5 stitches. I wrap the yarns around each other in these situations because this pattern makes a snug-fitting mitten. It would be very irritating to get a finger caught under a long yarn float! It is important to keep the stranding loose enough so it doesn’t pucker. I find it easiest to carry 1 color in each hand, but any method that suits you is fine.

Because the colors change frequently, there is no “Main” or “Contrasting” color. I keep it even by always knitting each new color with my right hand, and then moving it to my left hand 3 rows later when another color becomes the “new” one.

Because there are a lot of color changes, and hence a lot of ends, you might wish to weave in each new color for 8 or 10 stitches before you begin knitting with it. It does take more time during the knitting process, but makes the finishing process at the end much quicker.

Corrugated Ribbing
To work 2-color Corrugated Ribbing, leave both yarns at the back. K2 with the first yarn, move the second yarn to the front, p2 with second yarn, and return second yarn to the back.

The charts for this pattern are very large. Each fits on a letter-sized page.
Click the appropriate size below and print the resulting page.

Child smallChild Large/Adult SmallAdult MediumAdult Large

Make 1 Left and 1 Right mitten.

Using color B [A, A, H] cast on 40[44, 48, 52] stitches.

Distribute stitches on needles as you prefer, and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Join color C[B, B, A].

Work Corrugated Ribbing as per Cuff chart, starting with Row 7[4, 4, 1].

Start Hand chart for appropriate size. After increases in round 1, you will have 42[48, 54, 60] sts.

On round 4, begin working appropriate size Thumb Gusset chart in thumb position as indicated. The Right thumb is worked at the end of the round, the Left thumb is worked at the start of the round. Place markers at start and end of thumb stitches as desired.

On round 13[16, 16, 22], slip 12[18, 18, 24] thumb stitches to scrap yarn for holder, and cast on 6 stitches in colors indicated to close thumb gap.

Continue working Hand chart, repeating from row 1 on as needed until mitten measures 5.75[7.75, 8.75, 9.75] inches, or 1.25 inches short of desired length of hand. Finish after Round 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 or 24 of the pattern.

Work Hand Close Pattern chart, continuing color changes as set by hand patterning.

7 [8,9,10] sts rem. Cut yarn leaving an 8 inch tail and pull through rem sts to close.

Note: At this point, I recommend weaving in the ends so they don’t confuse the issue while you work the thumb.

Return 12[18, 18, 24] thumb sts to needles and with RS facing, rejoin yarn. Work across thumb sts in pattern, continuing where you left off, and then pick up and knit 6 stitches in pattern in across cast-on stitches of hand. 18[24, 24, 30] sts.

Continue working in patt until length is to top of thumb.
Continuing with color most recently added, work as follows:
Decrease round 1: K2tog around. 9[12, 12, 15] sts.
Decrease round 2: K2tog 4[6, 6, 7] times, k1[0, 0, 0, 1]. 5[6, 6, 8] sts.
Cut yarn leaving an 8-inch tail and pull through rem sts to close.


Block and weave in any remaining ends.


Mary loves to knit, and design mittens, hats, socks and other small items whenever she gets the chance. She is also a gardener who battles with the Maine climate and wildlife to produce almost all the vegetables her family eats each year. In the last year they put the entire vegetable garden into raised beds, and built a moveable low-tech hoop house to provide winter and early spring greens, and lots of tomatoes in the summer!

She blogs here.