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Universal Mittens Recipe
Universal Mittens Recipe
No Swatch, Any Stitch Count & Yarn
This is an interactive pattern that helps you make a perfectly fitting pair of mittens of any size with any yarn without swatching and it doesn’t require you to do any math either. I hope it inspires you to try some new yarns and make warm gifts for the important people in your life!
The pattern consists of a collection of interactive patterns that will do the math for you. The mittens you knit with this pattern are worked top-down. You can select from 3 different top and thumb patterns and mix and match them as you like.
With this pattern, you can make a pair of basic mittens of any size. You can make them based on your own measurements or this hand size chart for knitting.
Gauge, notions, needles
This pattern works for any gauge.
This pattern is written for the magic loop method (for long circular needle) but you and adjust it for the double pointed needles as well.
The pattern guides you through needle selection.
Tapestry needle, scissors, mitten blockers (optional), stitch markers (optional)
This pattern works for any yarn. Here’s a guide that helps you to select suitable yarn for your project.
Here’s a guide that helps you to buy the right amount of yarn based on your hand size and yarn thickness.
Below I have listed some of my favorite good-quality yarns
1. Taking measurements
In this section, I explain how to measure your hand (or how to estimate the measurements based on age or gender) and then decide what size mittens you should make.
If you are not able to measure the circumference or the length of the hand (for instance because you are going to gift the mittens) you can use the size chart for knitting mittens to determine the average size of mittens based on age and gender.
Take the measurement above the base of the thumb.
Base of the thumb to tip of the finger
The second measure you need is from the base of your thumb to the tip of your longest finger.
Calculate the dimensions of your mittens
If you are going to make a peasant thumb without a gusset or if you wish to wear something (gloves or thinner mittens) underneath your pair I suggest that you make your mitts wider and a bit longer than your hand. Otherwise, for a close-fitting mitten, the circumference of your hand and the mitten can be the same.
2. Selecting the needles and the yarn
I prefer making mittens with wool or wool and nylon blend. The yarn used for mittens does not have to be as durable as the yarn you use for socks. In addition, mittens don’t need washing quite as often as socks which make non-superwash wools a good option.
After you have picked your yarn it is time to pick the needles. This pattern is written for the magic loop method (for long circular needle) but you and adjust it for the double pointed needles as well. The important thing here is to find needles that get you a good gauge. I like to make my mittens with quite dense fabric and basically with the same gauge that I knit my socks with.
The gauge is, however, a matter of taste and you may also knit with a looser gauge if you prefer softer fabric over more long-lasting and warmer mitten. Usually, fabric knitted with wool also relaxes a bit after you have given it a soak and dry so knit rather with a bit too tight gauge than a bit too loose.
Below you can find the most common gauges mittens are knit with. The more stitches there are / 4″ or 10cm the more durable and warmer the mitten will be
For instance, I knit my mittens usually with gauges 32 sts (Fingering), 28 sts (sport), 23 sts (DK) and 21 sts (Aran), 20 sts (Chunky) / 4″ (10cm).
|Yarn weight||Stitches / 4″ (10cm)|
From the table below you can check the typical needle sizes that are used to knit mittens. If you are a loose knitter you should select a smaller needle size than if you are a tight knitter.
3. Making the top
Select a top shaping you like and then work your mitten until it covers your hand from the tip of your longest finger to the base of the thumb or according to the measurement A on the size chart.
The top is your swatch! If the fabric seems too loose frog your work and take smaller needles or if on the other hand your fabric seems too dense frog your work and take bigger needles (if you are unsure about the fabric density read the previous article).
The increases are distributed evenly around the mitten in four sections and worked every round until you reach the desired width. Increase lines form a star-like shape.
4. Thumb and hand
Your mitten should now cover the top of your hand from the tip of your longest finger to the base of the thumb (see image) or if you are using the size chart the measurement should equal to the measurement A on the schematics.
Peasant thumb without a gusset
This is probably the easiest thumb pattern. Because there’s no gusset for the thumb your mitten should have some positive ease meaning that the circumference of your mitten should be larger than the circumference of your hand.
Basic triangle gusset
This is the most commonly seen thumb gusset on basic mittens. It looks like a small triangle. The gusset decreases are made every other round on both sides of the thumb.
The decreases are worked only on the other side of the thumb every round. The gusset follows the form of the “life line” of your hand.
If you use arched gusset you can make quite close fitting mitts.
5. Cuff and finishing
The mitten should now cover your whole hand from the tip of your longest finger to the beginning of the wrist or according to measurement B on the schematics . Now you are ready to make the cuff.
I usually knit the cuff of my vanilla mittens with 1 by 1 ribbing and then I bind-off using the tubular bind off method. You can use also 2 by 2 ribbing. Work ribbing according to the measurement D or desired length and bind-off. See this article for elastic bind-off methods.
Your pair is now ready but I suggest that you use a bit extra time for finishing and block them. Blocking makes the fabric usually softer and more even. See instructions on how to do it here. For the blocking process you can use specifically designed mitten blockers but you can do it also without them.