In The Knitters’ Almanac, Elizabeth Zimmermann writes that mittens made in winter are often ill-considered and that it is “better not to make mittens in a hurry.” Let’s take her advice and make mittens now for holiday gift-giving. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.
First, if you’ve never made mittens before and would like to learn, consider taking Carla’s Swirling Mittens class, which covers the basics. If you can knit in the round, you can knit mittens! If you’d like to make a different kind of fingerless mitten and step up your game a little bit, consider Carla’s Beaded Gauntlet class.
Second, I’d be remiss in quoting the great Elizabeth Zimmermann without recommending her Mitered Mittens pattern in The Knitter’s Almanac. I loved making these, and they’re an especially good choice to break up any pooling that may occur in variegated yarn (like Malabrigo), plus they are stunning in handspun yarns. I shied away from EZ’s afterthought thumb and used the modifications from the Kathryn Ivy blog to make the gussets.
For a good, basic mitten pattern, try Ann Norling’s Basic Mittens on 2 Needles and Basic Mittens on 4 needles. Both of these patterns cover multiple sizes and multiple gauges, so you can make mittens for the whole family out of any yarn you choose. Remember, all loose patterns like these are 50% off in July as part of our Holidays in July celebration!
When I asked the staff to recommend free patterns, the “trifecta” of fingerless glove patterns from Knitty came up over and over again: Broad Street, Fetching, and Dashing. Broad Streets are convertible, flip-top mittens that use fingering-weight yarn; we recommend Noro Silk Garden Sock for some true stunners, although everything looks great in this pattern. Fetching is a dainty pair of cabled fingerless gloves that take minimal yarn and minimal time to make. Dashing is the more “manly” version; both use worsted weight yarns and are a great way to experiment with worsted weight luxury fibers like Alpaca with a Twist Highlander, Shokay Yak yarn, or Pagewood Farms Tundra (a silk and camel blend).
We hope these ideas will inspire you to make enough mittens to warm the hands of your entire family this winter!