I don't know where to begin. Let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start) because it wasn't far from there that it all started. I've been putting the mittens on and comparing feel and fit and trying to figure out what the difference is. The hands of both mittens were knit from a chart, so there is no variation in the number of rows or stitches there. The mittens are basically the same size, but they fit very, very differently.
The right-hand mitten has plenty of room for fingers, both length-wise and width-wise -- very comfy there -- but the thumb has always been a bit tight. It's not uncomfortable, but it's not perfect. The braid always bothered me a little bit, too; it falls at the bottom of my palm, not at the wrist. Given that this was my first mitten of this sort, I was willing to live with these little things.
But the left-hand mitten has different problems. My middle finger doesn't have enough room -- it keeps wanting to poke out the top of the mitten; the decreases for the top start way too soon and it's just tight, length-wise and width-wise. But the thumb is VERY comfortable and the braid falls right where I want it at the wrist.
Hmm. There's a perfect top on the right and a perfect bottom on the left. There must be something wrong in the middle. And there is. It's the thumbs -- they're different. They're in the middle, but they actually start at the beginning, and I don't think I knit the right one correctly. I think I put the stitches on the holder as soon as I finished with the gusset increases, and I should have knit it straight for a while longer.
What it all means, in a nutshell (what? a nutshell now?? in the fifth paragraph??), is that they're just both wrong and if I want mittens that fit the same, there's a lot of frogging, re-figuring, and re-knitting to do. I could lay some blame on the pattern -- the one that has directions for Women's Medium, Men's Medium and Men's Large and charts for Women's Small, Men's Medium and Men's Large, as well as directions for the pattern and thumb gore for two right mittens, but no left (mostly just typos, but still), and gauge given vaguely as "7 sts = 1 inch" (is that stitches and rows?). I suppose I should have verified said gauge somehow, maybe by knitting a swatch, or just quickly calculating stitches/rows/inches. Truthfully, my gauge is very close.
A small part of me wants to just forget it and move on, chalk it up to experience. A bigger part of me wants to knit these mittens so they fit. I love how they look and they really are fun to knit and I've worked so hard that now I want them. It's like the gauntlet (they're mittens!) has been thrown down. I'm going to have a duel -- and I'm going to win!
Two more nutshells: 1) I was numb 'til nearly 5:00 last night! 2) The upstairs kitchen is looking fine -- very weird since it's empty and hasn't been that way in YEARS. Work will continue there tomorrow.
Have a great weekend (it's very sunny here, but FRIGID).