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Traditional Mittens

If you're craving a creative project and some of the old-fashioned comfort that comes from starting something from scratch, you'll be well rewarded by reaching for your knitting needles this winter. These mittens  are straightforward to make (the stockinette stitch is king here), and the patterns are readily adaptable -- just alter the styles and sizes to suit the wearer. You'll enjoy the pleasure of knitting (and the guilty pleasure of not working) and the satisfaction of donning winter woollies you made yourself.
Martha Stewart Living, November 2010

If you're craving a creative project and some of the old-fashioned comfort that comes from starting something from scratch, you'll be well rewarded by reaching for your knitting needles this winter. These mittens and scarves are straightforward to make (the stockinette stitch is king here), and the patterns are readily adaptable -- just alter the styles and sizes to suit the wearer. You'll enjoy the pleasure of knitting (and the guilty pleasure of not working) and the satisfaction of donning winter woollies you made yourself.

Finished Size: Women's medium

Tools and Materials

  • Yarn: 2 skeins (50 grams) sport-weight yarn in desired colors, using about 150 yards from purlsoho.com
  • Needles: 4 standard double-pointed needles in size U.S. 5 (3 3/4 mm). Adjust needle size as
    necessary to obtain correct gauge (gague: 6 stitches and 8 rows equal 1 inch in stockinette stitch)
  • Additional materials: 8 inches scrap yarn in contrasting color, tapestry needle

Traditional Mittens How-To

1. With double-pointed needles, cast on 39 stitches. Divide stitches among 3 double-pointed needles, and join in a round (see how to knit in the round).

2. Rounds 1 through 57: Knit.

3. Round 58: Using scrap yarn as your working yarn, knit 7 stitches off the beginning of your next needle. Now slip these stitches back onto the needle they came from. With your main yarn, knit across the scrap-yarn stitches as well as the rest of the stitches on that needle.

4. Rounds 59 through 83: Knit with main yarn until length of mitten reaches the tip of your ring finger.

5. Next round: Decrease (see how to decrease) for entire round.

6. Next round: Knit only.

7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until 5 stitches remain.

8. Snip yarn to 6 inches. Thread through tapestry needle; pass through remaining 5 stitches. Tug on the yarn, pulling toward the inside of the mitten. Weave in ends.

9. Make the thumb:

a. Carefully remove scrap yarn. As you do, a hole will form with a series of loops above and below. Slip 1 empty double-pointed needle through the top 7 loops and another needle through the bottom 7 loops. With a third needle and a new piece of mitten yarn, knit 7 from the bottom set of loops, then make 1 (by picking up 1 stitch from the side of the hole). Rotate your work, and knit 7 from what is now the bottom row, then make 1 (by picking up 1 stitch from the other side of the hole).

b. Divide the 16 stitches among the 3 needles; join in the round. With a fourth needle, knit rounds until work reaches tip of your thumb. 

c. Next round, decrease (knit 2 together) for entire round.

d. Knit entire round.

e. Repeat steps C and D until 4 stitches remain.

f. Snip yarn to 4 inches. Thread through tapestry needle and slip through the 4 stitches; tug yarn toward the inside of thumb. Weave in ends.

10. Repeat process to make a set of mittens.