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How to Knit Mittens: a Step-by-Step Guide for Cozy Hands (2024)

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Ready to knit your own cozy mittens? This tutorial will guide you through the process, from selecting the right materials to casting on stitches and knitting the body and thumbs. Follow these steps to create a pair of mittens that will keep your hands warm and stylish.

First, gather the necessary materials**: yarn, knitting needles, scissors, and a tapestry needle. Choose a yarn weight and needle size appropriate for the project, typically a medium-weight yarn and size 7-8 needles.

Next, cast on the required number of stitches, typically around 40-50 stitches, depending on the size of your hands. Knit the cuff, then work your way up to the hand portion of the mitten, shaping the thumb gusset as you go.

Once the hand is complete, knit the thumb separately, then attach it to the mitten. Finish by binding off the stitches and weaving in any loose ends.

Remember to check your gauge and adjust the number of stitches as needed to ensure a proper fit. With patience and practice, you’ll be able to create a beautiful pair of handmade mittens that will keep you cozy all winter long.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right materials, including yarn, knitting needles, scissors, and a tapestry needle.
  • Cast on the required number of stitches, typically around 40-50 stitches, depending on the size of your hands.
  • Knit the cuff and work your way up to the hand portion of the mitten, shaping the thumb gusset as you go.
  • Finish by binding off the stitches and weaving in any loose ends.

Materials

Materials
To knit mittens, you’ll need a variety of materials. Start with 100 meters of worsted yarn and circular knitting needles with a size of 4.00 / US Size 6. Additionally, you’ll require scissors, a tapestry needle, a measuring tape (optional), and pins for the knitting process.

Worsted Yarn (100 Meters)

Worsted weight yarn is a medium-thick yarn with a yarn weight symbol or number 4. It’s thicker than light yarns like Double-knit/Light yarn and thinner than bulky yarn. You can find it in lengths of 100 meters.

When knitting with worsted weight yarn, you’ll typically use needle sizes between 3-4mm for beginners. Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles are highly recommended for their quality and versatility.

For mittens, you’ll need circular knitting needles of size 4.00 / US Size 6.

Circular Knitting Needles (size 4.00 / US Size 6)

Circular knitting needles in the US Size 6 (4.00 mm) are a popular choice for knitting projects. These needles are versatile and can be used for various stitch patterns and yarn types.

They are available from different brands, such as Knit Picks, ChiaoGoo, and Knitter’s Pride, among others. The cost of these needles can vary, with some sets priced around $10.00, while others may be more expensive.

When choosing circular knitting needles, consider the length and material you prefer, as they come in different lengths and materials like bamboo, laminated birch, and stainless steel. You can find these needles on websites like Amazon, Etsy, and specialized yarn stores.

Scissors

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Scissors are an essential tool for knitting, especially for yarn cutting in projects like fingerless gloves or mittens. Here are some tips on how to use and care for your scissors:

  1. Sharpening: Keep your scissors sharp for better cutting performance. You can sharpen them using a sharpening stone or take them to a professional for sharpening.
  2. Care: After each use, clean your scissors with a soft cloth to remove any residue or debris. This will help prevent rust and keep the blades in good condition.
  3. Oiling: Occasionally, apply a small amount of oil to the hinge of your scissors to keep it lubricated and prevent rust.
  4. Storing: Store your scissors in a dry place, away from direct sunlight. Use a scissor case or holster to protect the blades and keep them organized.
  5. Cast on: When starting a new project, use scissors to cut the yarn to the desired length for casting on stitches.
  6. Fingerless gloves and dpns: Scissors are also useful for cutting the yarn when using double-pointed needles (dpns) for projects like fingerless gloves.
  7. Bind off: Use scissors to cut the yarn when binding off stitches at the end of a project.

Tapestry Needle

After snipping your yarn with scissors, grab your tapestry needle. It’s your secret weapon for weaving ends and sewing mittens with that invisible mattress stitch, making every yarn color pop.

Measuring Tape (optional)

Determining your gauge is a pivotal stage in knitting, particularly when undertaking ventures such as mittens. It aids in guaranteeing that your stitches are of appropriate dimensions and tension, which is paramount for the completed article to fit suitably. A measuring tape is an optional instrument that can be employed to measure the girth of your hand, which is imperative in ascertaining the requisite number of stitches for your project.

To determine your gauge, you must knit a sample utilizing the designated needle size and yarn. The sample should be a minimum of 6 inches in height and sufficiently wide to accurately measure the girth. Upon completion of the sample, lay it flat and ascertain the number of stitches across the center using a ruler or measuring tape. Divide the number of stitches by 4 to obtain the number of stitches per inch. This will provide you with your stitch gauge.

Subsequently, determine the number of rows that occupy 4 inches in the same manner. This will yield your row gauge. If your stitch and row gauges correspond with the recommended gauge in your pattern, you may proceed. Conversely, you may require adjusting your needle size to attain the desired gauge.

When measuring the girth of your hand, position the measuring tape around the broadest section of your hand, excluding digits. This measurement will assist you in determining the number of stitches necessary to encircle the girth of your hand in your selected knit stitch.

Pins

Pins are an essential part of knitting, especially when working with double-pointed needles (DPNs) for projects like mittens. They help keep your stitches organized and prevent them from slipping off the needles, ensuring a neat and tidy knitting experience. When storing your projects on DPNs, you can use pins to secure the stitches in place, making it easier to transport your work without worrying about dropped stitches.

To use pins effectively, you can store your four needles in a parallel line and wrap the working yarn around the project. Use needle stoppers, corks, or rubber bands to prevent the needles from sliding off. This method helps maintain the tension and organization of your knitting, making it easier to pick up where you left off.

When seaming your mittens, pins can be used to hold the pieces together while you work on the seam. Once you’ve finished seaming, you can remove the pins and weave in the remaining tails to complete your project.

Figuring Out Your Size

Figuring Out Your Size
To guarantee a snug fit for your mittens, it’s essential to determine your size before you start knitting. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Knitting Swatches: Start by knitting a swatch using the suggested yarn and needles. This will help you measure your gauge, which is key for sizing your mittens accurately.
  2. Yarn Recommendations: Select a yarn that’s appropriate for mittens. Multi-ply non-superwash wool is a common choice due to its moisture-absorbing properties and insulation.
  3. Needle Size Considerations: Experiment with different needle sizes to reach the desired gauge. Remember, the needle size influences the size of your stitches and, as a result, the size of your swatch.
  4. Swatch Measurement Techniques: Measure the circumference of your hand at its widest point and the number of stitches needed to cover 2 inches/5 cm on the swatch. Use these measurements to calculate the number of stitches to cast on using the formula: (stitches/5 cm) x (hand circumference) x 0.90.
  5. Laddering: To avoid laddering, maintain even tension when switching needles and pull tight after the second stitch on each needle.
  6. Thumb Hole: Remember to take the thumb hole into account when calculating the number of stitches to cast on. You’ll need to add a few extra stitches for the thumb.
  7. Backward Loop Increase: Use a backward loop increase to create the thumb stitches.
  8. Stockinette Stitch: If you’re using stockinette stitch, make sure to knit the swatch in both directions to see how your stitches will look.
  9. Upcycling Sweater: If you’re upcycling a sweater, you may need to adjust the needle size and yarn weight to achieve the desired gauge.

Knitting the Body

Knitting the Body

  1. Cast on stitches using a single needle and distribute them evenly onto four needles.
  2. Knit 10 centimeters (4 inches) in stockinette stitch and 10 centimeters (4 inches) in 2×2 rib stitch.
  3. Repeat rows 3-4 four more times to create the body of the mitten.

Knitting the body of your mitten is a key step in creating a cozy and stylish accessory. Start by casting on stitches using a single needle and distributing them evenly onto four needles. Then, knit 10 centimeters (4 inches) in stockinette stitch, which is a smooth, flat stitch pattern, and 10 centimeters (4 inches) in 2×2 rib stitch, which creates a stretchy, ribbed texture. Repeat rows 3-4 four more times to create the body of the mitten. Remember to maintain even tension and keep your working yarn untangled for best results.

Knitting Thumbs

Knitting Thumbs

Knitting mittens is a delightful process, and the most fundamental part of this project is knitting the thumbs. The thumb placement, size, and shape are key factors to keep in mind when creating mittens. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Thumb Placement: Choose between a palm-thumb or a side-thumb. The palm-thumb is ideal for kids as it allows for ambidextrous mittens, while the side-thumb, with the center of the thumb-base on the side ‘seam’ of the mitten, is suitable for adults.
  2. Thumb Size: Measure the length of your thumb from the base (where it meets the hand) to the tip. This measurement is essential for glove projects and serves as a foundation for establishing thumb gusset dimensions in mittens.
  3. Thumb Shape: Consider the shape of the thumb gusset. It can be shaped through paired increases, with the gusset worked at the end of the round.
  4. Thumb Closure: Knit the thumb in 2×2 ribbing, creating stitch by knitting into the front and back of the last thumb stitch. Then, join the last thumb stitch to the hand stitches and redistribute the thumb stitches onto two needles.
  5. Thumb Embellishments: For a more personalized touch, you can add embellishments to the thumb, such as different colors or patterns.
  6. Tutorials: There are various tutorials available online that can guide you through the process of knitting mittens, including how to knit thumb holes and avoid holes where the thumb meets the hand.

Tips for Knitting Mittens

Tips for Knitting Mittens
To knit mittens, it’s essential to maintain even tension when switching needles, pull tight after the second stitch on each needle, and slip stitches back and forth to prevent loose stitches. Additionally, fold the four needles into two parallel lines, wrap the working yarn around the project, and place the project in a project bag for safekeeping.

Maintain Even Tension When Switching Needles

When knitting with double-pointed needles, maintaining consistent tension is essential for a smooth changeover between stitches. As you exchange needles, pay attention to the tension and make adjustments as necessary. Use a stitch marker to monitor your progress and guarantee a regular pattern.

Pull Tight After the Second Stitch on Each Needle

To maintain tension and prevent loose stitches, pull tightly after the second stitch on each needle while knitting mittens. This technique guarantees that your stitches stay secure and your project stays safe during storage, especially when the needles are arranged in parallel lines.

Slip Stitches Back and Forth to Prevent Loose Stitches

Slip stitches back and forth to prevent loose stitches and maintain tension during needle changes. This technique helps prevent ladders and gaps in your knitting, ensuring a cohesive and seamless fabric.

Fold the Four Needles Into Two Parallel Lines

After slipping stitches to prevent gaps, it’s time to store your needles neatly. Here’s how to keep your mitten project travel-friendly and compact:

  1. Align needles side-by-side.
  2. Form two parallel lines.
  3. Make sure needle care is secure.
  4. Maximize space with saving techniques.

Wrap the Working Yarn Around the Project

Wrap the working yarn around the project to prevent ladders and maintain even tension. This technique involves wrapping the yarn around the project before starting a new round or switching needles. By doing this, you make sure that the yarn is evenly distributed and doesn’t bunch up, which can cause ladders. This also helps in managing tension and preventing stitches from becoming too loose or too tight. It’s important to keep the yarn taut and avoid pulling too tightly on the first stitch of a new needle, as this can cause tension issues and lead to ladders. Instead, focus on maintaining even tension throughout the project.

To make the process more enjoyable and relatable, let’s use a table to illustrate the steps:

Step Action
1 Wrap the working yarn around the project before starting a new round or switching needles.
2 Make sure the yarn is evenly distributed to prevent ladders.
3 Maintain even tension by keeping the yarn taut.
4 Avoid pulling too tightly on the first stitch of a new needle.
5 Focus on maintaining even tension throughout the project.

Place the Project in a Project Bag for Safekeeping

After wrapping your yarn, it’s time to tuck your mittens into a project bag. This isn’t just about tidiness; it’s about mitten safety and needle protection. Consider:

  1. Project storage keeps your work secure.
  2. Needle protection prevents accidents.
  3. Long-term storage or a travel companion, your project bag’s got your back.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use circular needles instead of DPNs?

Yes, you can use circular needles instead of double-pointed needles (DPNs) for knitting mittens. In fact, many knitters prefer to use circular needles over DPNs for various reasons. Here are some key points to reflect on:

  1. Easier to try on as you go: With circular needles, you can easily try on your hand or foot at any time, which is particularly useful when knitting gloves or socks. This is because circular needles allow you to knit in the round without the need for multiple needles, which can be more convenient for fitting and adjusting the size as you work.
  2. Less likely to have ladders: When using DPNs, the change in tension at the points where two needles meet can cause loose stitches, resulting in visible ladders in your knitting. Circular needles can help eliminate this issue, as they provide a more consistent tension throughout the knitting process.
  3. Magic Loop technique: The magic loop technique is a popular method for knitting small circumference items like gloves and socks on a single circular needle. This technique involves using a long circular needle and joining the stitches in a loop, which can be a more efficient and less fiddly way to knit these types of projects compared to using multiple DPNs.
  4. Portability and flexibility: Circular needles are more portable and flexible than DPNs, as they’re designed to adapt to both flat and in-the-round knitting. This can make them a more convenient choice for knitting mittens.
  5. Different needle types: Depending on the type of yarn you’re using, you may prefer one type of needle over the other. For example, if you’re knitting with a sticky or slippery yarn, you might find that smooth nickel-coated brass or steel DPNs provide better grip and control.

How do I choose the right yarn type?

To choose the right yarn type for your mittens, consider the following factors:

  1. Fiber Content: Wool is a popular choice for mittens due to its warmth, natural oils that make it semi-waterproof, and stitch definition. Other options include wool blends, cotton, bamboo, and acrylic.
  2. Superwash vs. Non-Superwash Wool: Non-superwash wool can be hand-washed and felted to make the fabric denser, warmer, and more durable. Superwash wool, on the other hand, is machine-washable but may not have the same qualities as non-superwash wool.
  3. Yarn Weight: Choose a yarn weight that suits your project. For mittens, worsted weight yarn is a good choice, as it provides a balance between stitch definition and fabric density.
  4. Stretch: Consider the stretch of the yarn. Merino wool, for example, is soft and flexible, while Shetland wool has a coarser texture but can be softened through a wash/dry process.
  5. Color and Pattern: Choose a yarn that complements your stitch pattern and color preferences.

What are the best cast-on methods for mittens?

For mittens craving stretch and durability, the German Twisted Cast On and Cable Cast On are your go-tos. They’ll hug your wrists snugly, ensuring your mittens are both comfy and built to last.

How can I adjust the pattern for larger sizes?

To adjust the pattern for larger sizes, you can follow these steps:

  1. Measure your hand circumference at its widest point, including the thumb.
  2. Calculate the number of stitches needed to cover 2 inches (5 cm) on a swatch in 2×2 rib stitch.
  3. Multiply the number of stitches by the hand circumference and then by
  4. Round down to the nearest number divisible by
  5. Cast on the calculated number of stitches plus 3 selvage stitches.
  6. Knit 10 centimeters (4 inches) in stockinette stitch, then 10 centimeters (4 inches) in 2×2 rib stitch.
  7. Repeat rows 31-32 four more times.
  8. Knit 4 centimeters (12 rows) in 2×2 rib stitch.
  9. Bind off all stitches loosely.

Remember to maintain even tension when switching needles and pull tight after the second stitch on each needle to prevent laddering. You can also use stitch markers to identify the start of the round and switch to new needles as needed, maintaining even tension.

What techniques prevent the thumb from twisting?

To prevent the thumb from twisting while knitting mittens, maintain even tension, pull tight after the second stitch on each needle, and slip stitches back and forth to prevent loose stitches. Use a stitch marker to identify the start of the round and switch to new needles as needed, maintaining even tension.

Conclusion

Ready to knit your own cozy mittens? This guide will lead you through the process, from choosing the right materials to casting on stitches and knitting the body and thumbs.

Follow these steps to make a pair of mittens that will keep your hands warm and stylish. Remember to check your gauge and adjust the number of stitches as necessary to make sure they fit well.

With patience and practice, you’ll be able to create a beautiful pair of handmade mittens that will keep you cozy all winter long.

References
  • sewingfromhome.com
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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of sewingtrip.com, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.