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Best Yarn for Knitting Mittens -Complete Guide for Yarn Selection (2023)

If you are planning to make a pair of mittens but are unsure which yarn to choose keep on reading! I give you a few tips on what kind of material to use and how thick should the yarn be. And if you don’t want to spend all your time browsing webshop catalogs at the end of this article you find also a few good options and links where to buy them.

Fiber Content

In my opinion, the best yarn for knitted mittens is multi-ply non-superwash wool. Wool is best for mittens because it absorbs moisture away from the skin and is insulating which makes it a perfect material to keep your hands warm during the winter.

If you have sensitive skin you can use soft wool such as merino but for adult’s mittens, I recommend something a bit more rustic because merino pills and is not as durable as the “woolly” wools. Babies are an exception because they usually have more sensitive skin and their mitts get less wear so soft wool works well for baby mittens. In the end, this is a matter of taste: if you prefer softness over durability then by all means use merino wool.

Synthetic fibers such as acrylic and plant-based fibers such as cotton and bamboo are not a good choice for mittens because unlike wool they hold the moisture next to your skin and in cold weather, your pair of mittens quickly turns into a pair of icicles.

Yarn Construction

The yarn used for mittens does not have to be as durable as the yarn you use for socks which means that you can use something that is not as tightly spun or does not have nylon as a reinforcement. You can use even single-ply yarn if you buy wool that you can felt to make the fabric stronger.

Superwash vs Non-Superwash Wool

  • Superwash wool can be machine-washed and it resists felting. However, the manufacturing process is not always environmentally friendly and the wool loses in my opinion some of its best qualities and becomes less elastic and warm as well as water and dirt resistant.
  • Non-superwash wool needs to be hand-washed but it has all the great qualities that make wool such a popular fiber for sweaters. The non-superwash wools felt so you can use that property to your advantage and with the help of warm water and soap, you can make the fabric denser, warmer, and more durable. Because wool is naturally dirt resistant hand washing small accessories every now and then is not a big deal.

Yarn weight (the thickness of yarn)

In general, yarns can be divided based on their thickness roughly in the following categories:

How many yards there are approximately / 3.5 oz / 100g:

Yarn weight (from thinnest to thickest)Yards / 3.5ozMeters / 100g
Fingering (super fine)360 – 460330 – 420
Sport (fine)300 – 360275 – 330
DK (light)240 – 290220 – 265
Worsted (medium)200 – 220180 – 200
Bulky110 – 142100 – 130

Basic mittens made of fingering and sport-weight yarn are quite thin and I use them mostly in spring or autumn (sometimes in Finland you need them also during summers). My kids wear them underneath their commercially produced winter gloves to absorb moisture and bring some extra warmth. If you have sensitive skin you can make a pair of thin merino wool mittens to be used under a thicker pair of mittens. Worsted and bulky mittens are quite thick and warm and I use them during winter.

Stranded knitting and cables for instance make the fabric thicker so even with fingering or DK weight yarn you can produce quite a warm pair.

You might also be interested in: How much yarn do you need for a pair of mittens

Best Yarn for Knitting Mittens

Below I have listed a few good yarn options that you can use to make a warm and durable pair of basic mittens. 

KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted

This yarn has excellent stitch definition and heirloom durability for every day accessories.

This yarn is also available in sport and bulky weights.

  • Weight: Worsted
  • Fiber Content: 100% Non-Superwash Wool
  • Care: Hand wash

Cascade 220

There’s almost no project that Cascade 220 is not suitable for except socks. The yarn is very similar to the Wool of the Andes worsted but it is sold on skeins instead of balls and one skein weighs 100g instead of 50g.

There’s plenty of colors to choose from and in addition to solid ones, there are also beautiful heathered colors.

  • For a thinner sport weight version of this yarn check out the Cascade 220 Sport
  • For a superwash version of this yarn check out the Cascade 220 Superwash (the superwash version comes in balls so you don’t have to to wind the yarn)
  • If you have sensitive skin check out the Cascade 220 Merino

  • Weight: Worsted
  • Fiber Content: 100% Non-Superwash Wool
  • Care: Hand wash

Novita Suomivilla

Finnish wool is ideal for mittens because it’s warm and durable. I absolutely love the heathered natural shades of this yarn.

Another great option for Finnish wool that is probably more widely available worldwide is the TukuWool DK.

  • Weight: DK
  • Fiber Content: 100% Non-Superwash Wool
  • Care: Hand wash
These mittens are knitted with Novita Suomivilla. Free knitting pattern for Lumi mittens available here.

Let me know your favourite yarn for mittens by dropping a comment below!

One Response

  1. Regarding the best yarn for knitting mittens, I really like your blog post. It was really educational and useful; in particular, I appreciated how various yarns were carefully compared, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each. It was also quite helpful to have the information on weights and fibres. If you’re seeking for advice on how to pick the best yarn for knitting mittens, this blog post is generally well-written.

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