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Let’s Knit some super simple mittens

December 1, 2016

purple-mitten

There is nothing like a nice pair of warm winter mittens . This quick and cozy knit is just the thing to stretch your skills and keep your hands toasty.

First, you will need a pattern so download The World’s Simplest Mittens and then away we go! You can knit your mittens using double pointed needles [casting on tutorial here], or using a single long circular and the magic loop technique [tutorial here]. For this tutorial I am using the lovely Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘princess rockstar’.

Following the directions for your size and weight of yarn:

With smaller needles cast on:
Fingering: 32 (36, 42, 46, 52) sts.
DK: 28 (34, 38, 44, 48) sts.
Worsted: 24 (28, 32, 36, 40) sts.
Chunky: 22 (26, 28, 32, 36) sts.

Place BOR (beginning of round) marker and join for working in the round.

sts-cast-on-and-distributed

Tip: when I use double points I don’t like to use a BOR marker. Instead, I distribute my stitches with 1/2 on the first needle, 1/4 on the second needle, and 1/4 on the third needle. This way I know the BOR is at the start of the ‘full’ needle

Work in 1×1 rib (k1, p1) until piece measures 2.5 (2.5, 3, 4, 4)” from cast on. Switch to larger needles.
Fingering and DK: knit 3 (3, 4, 4, 4) rounds.
Worsted and chunky: knit 2 (2, 3, 3, 3) rounds.

So far so good? Work in 1×1 rib means you are going to work: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1 etc.
This pattern has generous cuffs so if you prefer a shorter cuff you can work fewer rounds here.

ready-for-thumb-gusset

Ready for a thumb gusset!

::: thumb gusset :::

thumbgussethandTake a quick look at your hand. Your thumb sort of sticks out a bit right? Even the part of your thumb that is still a part of your hand. Well, we have to make an extra little triangle of fabric to accommodate that part of your thumb.

To create this triangle of fabric we are going to work some increases. Some patterns specify which type of increase to use and some don’t, it is knitters choice. You can use any increase you like, for this pattern I am going to work some M1 (make 1) increases and to be a little extra fancy we are going to do paired increases, first an M1L and then a M1R (make 1 left and make 1 right). [check out the full tutorial on M1s here]

Set up round: m1, k1, m1, PM, knit to end [2 sts inc]
Rounds 1 and 2: knit
Round 3: m1, knit to marker, m1, SM, knit to end of round [2 sts inc]
Fingering: work rounds 1-3 a total of 6 (6, 7, 7, 8) times, 15 (15, 17, 17, 19) sts between BOR and marker.
DK: work rounds 1-3 a total of 5 (5, 6, 6, 7) times, 13 (13, 15, 15, 17) sts between BOR and marker.
Worsted: work rounds 1-3 a total of 4 (4, 5, 5, 6) times, 11 (11, 13, 13, 15) sts between BOR and marker.
Chunky: work rounds 1-3 a total of 3 (3, 4, 4, 5) times, 9 (9, 11, 11, 13) sts between BOR and marker.

See a pattern forming? We are increasing 2 stitches every third row and you should start to see a triangle forming. Notice how the increases make the thumb gusset distinct by ‘leaning away’ from the mitten? That is because of the paired increase we are using.

thumb-gusset-complete

::: putting thumb stitches on hold :::

thumb-sts-placed-on-hold

Next we are going to put the thumb stitches on hold. For this you will need a darning needle (preferable a dull one) and a small piece of waste yarn. While it is sometimes preferable to put sts on a stitch holder (like a giant safety pin), for a mitten waste yarn has the necessary flexibility.

Thread your needle with the waste yarn and thread it through the thumb gusset sts (the ones between the BOR and the marker). You can now remove your marker.

ready-to-put-sts-on-waste-yarn

sts-on-waste-yarn

Waste yarn has been threaded through the live sts, the marker has been removed, and they are now on hold.

Next we are going to cast on 1 stitch in the middle of the row. Why, you ask? Because the thumb stitches ‘grew’ out of 1 knit stitch, but then we put all the thumb stitches on hold. So we are going to need 1 new stitch to take it’s place.  The cast on method we use is the backward loop cast-on.

cast-on-stitch

::: hand and decreases:::

The hand is pretty simple, just keep knitting every round.

Continue knitting every round until piece measures 1.75 (3, 3.75, 4, 4.5)” from end of thumb gusset.

measure-mitten-from-thumb-gusset

On to the decreases!

Fingering set up: k16 (18, 21, 23, 26), PM, knit to end
DK set up: k14 (17, 19, 22, 24), PM, knit to end
Worsted set up: k12 (14, 16, 18, 20), PM, knit to end
Chunky set up: k11 (13, 14, 16, 18), PM, knit to end

Round 1: (k1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1) twice [4 sts dec]

Fingering: work round 1 a total of 6 (7, 8, 9, 11) times, 8 (8, 10, 10, 8) sts remain.
DK: work round 1 a total of 5 (6, 7, 9, 10) times, 8 (10, 10, 8, 8) sts remain.
Worsted: work round 1 a total of 4 (5, 6, 7, 8) times, 8 (8, 8, 8, 8) sts remain.
Chunky: work round 1 a total of 3 (4, 5, 6, 7) times, 10 (10, 8, 8, 8) sts remain.

If you haven’t worked an ssk or a k2tog check out those tutorials as well. Got your last few sts? Great, almost done!

where-to-cose-the-top

Break yarn, leaving a 6” tail and weave through remaining live sts. Pull tight to close top of mitten.

finishing-mitten-top

::: thumb :::

Place held sts back on larger needles. Knit across these sts, pick up 1 stitch from body of mitten, PM and join for working in the round.

Fingering: 16 (16, 18, 18, 20) sts.
DK: 14 (14, 16, 16, 18) sts.
Worsted: 12 (12, 14, 14, 16) sts.
Chunky: 10 (10, 12, 12, 14) sts.

Once the stitches are back on the needles, you are ready to take out the waste yarn

Once the stitches are back on the needles, you are ready to take out the waste yarn

pick-up-at-thumb

You now have all your thumb stitches on your needles.

Knit every round until thumb measures 1 (1.25, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” from pick up.

Next round: k2tog around

Break yarn, leaving a 6” tail and weave through remaining live sts. Pull tight to close top of thumb.

You are closing the top of the thumb exactly the same way as the top of the mitten. You may have a small hole where you picked up. Just use your yarn tail and stitch up the hole before weaving in your ends on the inside of the work.

Weave in your ends and block your mittens. You are ready to wear them out!

finished-mittens


Check out our many other the fabulous free patterns sized from baby to big, and get started making modern seamless knits for the entire family!  Like our work?  Get our email updates and we will let you know about new patterns, tutorials, and events.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. sandi0203 permalink
    January 21, 2017 7:44 pm

    Never thought the day would come when I would actually knit my very own mitten—just finished ONE of two and am very impressed with how well I followed along with your awesome step by step photos and instructions. Thank you so much, you have a new fan

  2. Marjorie Yacobucci permalink
    January 21, 2017 7:42 pm

    My very first time attempting to knit mittens, just finished my first one—took a while and I can see some boo boo’s but am very pleased with the outcome. Thank you for the wonderful step by step instructions, you have a new fan.

  3. francesca borg permalink
    January 17, 2017 10:02 pm

    I know this will sound like a silly question but I am a complete beginner! What length DPNs do you suggest I get? I am using chunky wool. I would like to get a length that I could use for other projects too if possible. Eg. the addi colibri 4mm comes in two lengths: 15cm and 20cm. Appreciate your advice. Thank you!

    • January 19, 2017 9:47 am

      Hi Francesca – I like a shorter needle, 5″ or so, but if you are a beginner get some longer ones, maybe 6-7″ (it’s strictly a question of choice, there is no wrong answer!)

      • francesca borg permalink
        January 20, 2017 3:24 am

        Thank you so much!

  4. Carol permalink
    January 17, 2017 10:45 am

    thanks so much

  5. Mary O'Shea permalink
    January 16, 2017 7:14 am

    The way I read the pattern, once you finished the last round with thumb gusset increases, i put the thumb gusset on waste yarn. Which means the m1 stitches are the ones on the waste yarn. When I am ready to put those stitches back on the needle to finish the thumb, I always have a hard time getting them on. I am thinking of doing 1 more round of knitting before putting the gusset stitches on waste yarn to make it easier. Do you think that would work?

  6. tallytune permalink
    January 9, 2017 6:21 pm

    Hi,
    I have a quick question about the slant of the increases for the thumb gusset. When I have knit mittens and such before I always do the M1R 1st and then M1L for my gusset. In your tutorial about M1’s you do suggest doing a M1R after a stitch marker and a M1L before, which makes sense with what I have always done, but in this one you say to do the opposite and I was wondering if there was a reason for this? Thanks and sorry if it is a silly question!

    • January 9, 2017 11:39 pm

      Hi – not a silly question at all! Either way is fine, there is no right answer. I would suggest trying it both ways and seeing which way you prefer (I prefer the left then right)

      • tallytune permalink
        January 11, 2017 6:44 am

        Thanks! I am trying it this way and love how it is looking!

  7. Emily permalink
    January 5, 2017 8:17 am

    Hi there! I’m fairlying new to knitting. My swatch is 18 stitches and 24 rows using a 4.5mm needle with worsted yarn. I guess I knit loosely. Should I follow the directions for worsted or chunky? Thanks so much for the pattern!

    • January 5, 2017 10:05 am

      Hi Emily – I would swatch again on smaller needles. You want a bit of a tighter gauge for mittens than say, a sweater.

  8. Irma Gold permalink
    December 24, 2016 9:34 am

    I am in the process of making these mittens and under decreases I am a little confused. I am using DK yarn and it states to K19 (my size) Place marker knit to end. Great now Round 1 (k1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1) twice. If I keep doing around I have one marker so I am only getting the decreases on one side, I am confused. Please help???

    • December 24, 2016 11:57 am

      Hi Irma – you have a BOR marker and a second marker, that makes 2 markers, a decrease on either side of each marker is 4 decreases. Does that help?

      • Carol permalink
        January 16, 2017 1:01 pm

        Where do I have a BOR marker? I’m knitting on 3 double points. So would the first stitch on the first needle be where the second BOR marker should be?

      • January 16, 2017 1:45 pm

        Hi Carol – there is only 1 BOR marker (beginning of round), if you are working on double points, I always put 1/2 my sts on the first needle so I know the first stitch of the ‘full’ needle is my BOR. You can, however, distribute your sts however you like, with the BOR in the middle of a needle etc. You can also you us a locking stitch marker placed in the first stitch so you know where your BOR is.

      • Carol permalink
        January 16, 2017 5:01 pm

        Thanks for your quick response. I’m sorry I didn’t mean two BORs. My first and 3rd needle has 8 stitches each. My 2nd needle has 12 stitches. For my size it says k14 pm knit to end then round 1 2x’s. So do I start the second decrease of found 1 right after that marker?

      • January 17, 2017 9:29 am

        Hi Carol – So you have 28 stitches, you are going to place your marker after 14 sts, then you will have your BOR marker at the beginning of the round. Your decreases come at either side of the hand.

  9. Leah permalink
    December 19, 2016 6:57 pm

    Okay, I take it back. I re-read it and now understand that I need to ssk, k2tog, ssk, k2tog 😑 In that order. Oooooops.

  10. Leah permalink
    December 19, 2016 6:48 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for this pattern, I’ve already whipped out one this afternoon and I think I can get the other one done before bedtime. I am hoping for a clarification for the decreases at the top of the mitten, The pattern states I should end up with four stitch decrease for each round, but I think I may be missing something. Should there be another ssk at the end of the round? Right now I’m only decreasing three stitches per row with one ssk and two k2tog. It’s totally possible I’m incorrectly reading the pattern. Thanks again!

  11. Jacqueline permalink
    December 9, 2016 7:54 am

    Love the pics! I’ve always wanted to knit mittens. Now I think I can!

  12. Luzmin permalink
    December 2, 2016 2:07 pm

    Just what I was looking for for quick holiday presents! Thank you so much. You have made learning to knit for me so much more enjoyable and easy. So kind.

  13. deb permalink
    December 2, 2016 11:30 am

    Wow great photos, great instructions and can’t wait to try this simple pattern :) Do you have a similar one for thrummed mittens ?? Thanks!

  14. Barbara M permalink
    December 1, 2016 4:23 pm

    Love these mittens and the colours you’ve used.

  15. Barbara permalink
    December 1, 2016 2:58 pm

    Love, love this idea and pattern. Thank you for the great tutorial also.

  16. Carol Ann permalink
    December 1, 2016 10:49 am

    Your free mittens and wonderful tutorial are amazing. Thank you so much. I’m a real fan!

    • GeniaKnitz permalink
      December 2, 2016 12:01 am

      Agree, agree, agree! Taught myself to knit mittens, and if one hasn’t done many before, I haven’t found them to be as simple as they look. Thank you for that great tutorial.

  17. Catherine Martin permalink
    December 1, 2016 10:00 am

    And what is that gorgeous pinky-red yarn?

  18. Pat permalink
    December 1, 2016 9:46 am

    Thank you so much!! You guys are the best!

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