Skip to content

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.

Adorable mitten patterns to try:


antler mittenLoch Mittenssitka spruce mittens

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

63 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2017 8:34 pm

    I’m agreeing with the previous post. I have made this pattern twice and both times came up short on the number of stitches when starting the hand decreases. (It would help if the directions indicated the number of stitches we should have at different intervals) Please explain why a KFB is not an appropriate way to increase stitches…..it does create one extra stitch. How does that cause a loss of 2 stitches?

    • October 9, 2017 10:30 pm

      It doesn’t cause a loss of 2 sts, it just causes 2 sts to be in the wrong spot. This is because a KFB uses a stitch to create a stitch, you knit into the front and back of 1 stitch, creating 2 sts. In a m1 increase, like a bar increase, you are using the bar between 2 sts to create a stitch, so you are creating a stitch without using a stitch to do it.

  2. September 5, 2017 5:21 am

    I don’t think my problem had been mentioned so here goes: After placing gusset on a waste yarn, I have 3 stitches fewer on my front magic loop needle. After 2 attmepts and ripping it apart, I remedied by casting on 3 stitches to the back needle with working yarn and then sliding 3 stitches at the loop end from the back needle to the front needle so each needle again has 18 stitches. I started with 36. This works, but why am I coming up 3 stitches short when you only seem to come up 1 stitch short after M1, K1, M1? Does it have to do with DPN vs Magic Loop?

    • September 5, 2017 12:33 pm

      Are you possibly using a KFB to make one? You will need to use a different increase. KFB is a special one that uses a stitch to make a stitch so you need to either use a different m1 method or factor that in.

  3. Maria N. permalink
    August 23, 2017 9:34 am

    I’m sooooo nervous to try this pattern, but sooooo excited at the same time! I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit mittens and this is *the* perfect pattern. I’ve read through it twice and have read all of the wonderful comments, and think I’m ready to take a stab at it. Thanks so much for the wonderful step-by-step instructions AND photos to follow along. Now… wish me luck!

  4. Marion O'Neill permalink
    August 12, 2017 2:54 pm

    Hi, I am making my first mitten ever. I don’t understand the set up for the thumb gusset. It begins with m1, k1, m1, PM , etc. How do you make 1 at the beginning of a round?

  5. Kathy Fields permalink
    July 18, 2017 5:29 am

    After the gusset the directions give 5 measurements to knit for the hand length. Does the 1.75 apply to fingering? What size? Is 4.5 for chunky yarn? What size?

    • Kathy Fields permalink
      July 18, 2017 5:37 am

      I get it, the numbers are for the size. Senior moment.

  6. Linda Richarfson permalink
    June 21, 2017 6:29 pm

    I have knit over 61 years and made mitten sets. I always used something to mark the beginning row is brilliant. 50/25/25. Sts. Now why didn’t I think of that. Thank you.!

  7. Emma permalink
    June 20, 2017 3:07 am

    This was the perfect pattern for me to try as my first unsupervised knitting project. All the info I needed to learn the necessary skills.

  8. thyme4dreams permalink
    May 30, 2017 7:36 am

    My personal preference for knitting socks, mittens, etc. – two 24″ circular needles. I knit on and teach DPNs, Magic Loop, and 2 circs but my all time personal choice is to use 2 circs.

  9. Medlomuddler permalink
    May 26, 2017 4:34 am

    fantastic pattern. just grab yarn and needles. No fussing around trying to find a pattern with the correct gauge, they are all here together !!

  10. Helen permalink
    March 11, 2017 4:39 pm

    This is confusing to me also. The directions do not state to PM at the beginning of the set up round.

    • March 12, 2017 11:42 am

      You have a beginning of round marker (placed at the very beginning of the mitten, after the cast on) and then there is a place marker in the set up round for the gusset.

    • Linda Richarfson permalink
      June 21, 2017 6:33 pm

      As she states in the beg comments. Place 50% of your std on 1st needle, then 25% on each of the next two needles. You don’t need to mark your beginning needle as it’s always the one with the most std on it. Brilliant.

  11. Lori permalink
    February 24, 2017 3:10 pm

    I’m going to risk showing my complete ignorance by saying the instructions for the thumb went right over my head. I’m not sure how to knit across the row, pick up a stich, and join this all together for knitting in the round now that I’ve cut the yarn. I would really appreciate any pointers. Also, if I somehow manage to do the above, should I k2tog to join? Thanks so much for this pattern and for the tutorial.

    • February 24, 2017 9:49 pm

      Hi Lori – you need to join new yarn to work the thumb, no need to k2tog to join

  12. February 16, 2017 8:43 am

    Would it be just as easy with magic loop? I’m not familiar with double pointed.

    • February 16, 2017 9:09 am

      Hi Jo – as far as I know anything you can use DPNs for you can magic loop

  13. February 15, 2017 5:10 am

    Hi there,
    I’m new to the knitting scene but obsessed and inspired. You have such a great website. Love the patterns and tutorials.
    So re. The decreases 😬, I’m confused about the “knit until 3 before marker” directions because I end up running out of stitches on one side way before I’m down to 8 stitches (kid’s size) to finish it off. I’m I supposed to be adjusting the marker?
    Confused, Laura

  14. Ellen permalink
    February 12, 2017 2:43 pm

    I love your pattern! Can you clarify the decreases. I guess it’s the marker that is confusing me and how to get the 4 stitch decrease per row. Where does the round end and begin again?

    • February 12, 2017 10:34 pm

      Hi Ellen – at the decrease set up round you will have a BOR marker and then you are placing a second marker, you are decreasing on either side of these 2 markers.

  15. Lori permalink
    February 2, 2017 9:52 pm

    Thank you so much for this pattern and tutorial! I’m a little confused about where to cast on after putting the thumb gusset stitches on hold. Do you put the new stitch on the empty 4th needle or the needle the needle that originally had the thumb gusset?

    • February 2, 2017 10:32 pm

      Hi Lori – I would cast it on to the empty 4th needle and then proceed with that needle

      • Lori permalink
        February 3, 2017 2:42 pm

        Thanks so much! This is my first time making mittens so I truly appreciate all these tips!

  16. Nancy powley permalink
    February 1, 2017 10:02 am

    I don’t know how to use double pointed needles. I just know two needle. Are there any mittens I can knit using two needles

    • February 2, 2017 12:57 pm

      Hi Nancy – we don’t have any seamed mittens (although I’m sure there are lots of simple seamed mitten patterns out there). Are you sure you don’t want to try double points? They will open up a whole new world of knitting!

  17. Nicki permalink
    January 29, 2017 6:05 pm

    Help! I’m getting ready to start the thumb and I’m confused…where do I get working yarn from once I put the stitches back on my needles and take out the waste yarn?

  18. Jude permalink
    January 29, 2017 3:59 pm

    I must be misreading the pattern because no one else has had my problem! When I start to increase for the thumb gusset I am on track, but the pattern says to work rounds 1-3 a total of 4 times, ending up with 11 stitches between the BOR and marker. I think I’ll end up with 15. ?? Can you tell guess at what I’m doing wrong??

    • January 29, 2017 11:32 pm

      Hi Jude – you are working rounds 1-3 a total of 4 times so you are adding 8 sts to the original 3 from the set up round. That makes for 11

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

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

    thanks so much

  23. 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?

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

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

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

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

    Love these mittens and the colours you’ve used.

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

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

  34. 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.

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

    And what is that gorgeous pinky-red yarn?

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

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

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: