Make Your Own Basics: Mittens and mitts

Make Your Own Basics: Mittens and mitts

The thing I love most about “basics” — i.e. a simple, hardworking pullover, or stockinette hat, or a mittens pattern like this one — is that they’re the perfect blank slate, begging to be personalized. Mine might be plain as day, while someone else’s might be purple or striped or covered in Fair Isle motifs or any textured stitch that matches pattern gauge. Pretty much every pattern I’ve featured in Make Your Own Basics is immensely adaptable, which to me is the whole point. The mittens pattern above, Knits for Everybody Mittens by Jenny Williams, is written for two weights (worsted and fingering) and 12 sizes, and would not only lend itself to whatever you want to do in terms of color and fiber, but would also be very simple to convert to fingerless mitts: Just stop short of the shaping for the fingertips — on both the hands and thumbs — and work a few rounds of ribbing before binding off. Same goes for Purl Soho’s free Arched Gusset Mittens, which also includes toddler, child and adult sizes.

(For even simpler handwarmers, see my Super Simple Mitts and Stadium Mitts — free patterns.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The hat

7 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: Mittens and mitts

  1. For us Canadians, mittens (or mitts, as they are generally called here) are often the first thing we learn to knit. They were for me when I was still quite a small child. They were always wool, and in our house they were inevitably made from the leftovers of larger projects. For many years I kept a pair that had been knitted by my great-aunt out of leftovers from a lopi sweater. They were treasured. Here, where our winters are brutal (-20C is common), one seldom wears a single layer. My preference is for a lightweight pair of knitted gloves covered by a densely knitted pair of fairisle mitts for wind and waterproofing. And I prefer rounded fingertips, worked in the same way as a star toe on a sock, to the slightly squared tips in Jenny Williams’ version.

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    • Mittens were my first project as well. My mother taught me the basics, and then put me in the back seat of the station wagon with a skein of Redheart, a set of needles and a pattern, and I knit mittens all the way across the country and back, from Ohio to California. By the time we got home, I had figured out most of the basics, added stripes, and learned to make a cable. Hooked for life on knitting, but I rarely make mittens now.

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  2. Mittens were my second-ever project, and I’ve made dozens of pairs. I crank them out like some knitters crank out socks. A good basic mitten pattern is always useful.

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  3. I just checked out Beth’s Tin Can Knits pattern and favorited it on Ravelry. It uses any left-over yarn. I could knit these in the helical knitting process that is described in A Year of Techniques. Fun for in-between projects.

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