So I almost finished these mittens at the beginning of September but, after doing one thumb, I chickened out because of how ridiculous they looked and had to bring them along on a visit to Keren for moral support. I almost believed the pep talk that the mitten czar gave me, but I still didn't work up the courage to finish the second one until yesterday, one day before I needed to wrap and give them away.
I think these mittens are a really strong argument for why I need to use a pattern-- even if it's one I've made up. I just started knitting with these and I think it clearly shows. Especially in how weird the thumbs look. And how totally asymmetrical they are. And how the cuffs aren't really cuffs at all. Oh well. When they're on, they don't look that bad. But compare to source of these mittens' color pattern: the sweater I knit last year for my nephew (straight from a published pattern). Relatively symmetrical. Cuffs that function as cuffs. And no weird thumbs.
I will add, though, that this diamond color pattern is so, so much easier to knit in wool (the mittens, made out of Shepherd Colour 4 Me) than in cotton/acrylic (the sweater, Plymouth Wildflower DK). The stretchiness of the wool really does make a difference.