Do you have some leftover yarn that is too pretty to throw away or give away, but you do not know what to do with it? Is your office or laundry room too cold or drafty to work without covering your hands? Then why not make a pair of fingerless mitts?
Mitts are a great little accessory to make for so many reasons: they use very little yarn, they are quick to knit, they make great gifts, and you can do countless different motifs in the stitch patterns so they can be as fancy or as simple as you would like them. Most importantly, fingerless mitts are becoming more and more useful as technology progresses; in the age of smartphones, text messaging through mittens and gloves is no longer a possibility, since there are no buttons to feel for the correct letter or number. Mitts are very warm, and they still allow you the dexterity of your fingers.
There are hundreds of fingerless mitt patterns available to the knitter, ranging from free to about six dollars, using yarns from lace-weight to super-bulky, and difficulties ranging from beginner to advanced. If you like to knit socks but do not feel like making hexipuffs, fingerless mitts are a great way to eat up your little balls of leftover sock yarn. What is better is that since they are not necessarily a "seen" accessory, like a hat or garment, they do not necessarily have to match each other.
The easiest fingerless mitt pattern ever involves knitting a swatch in garter stitch until the piece is long enough to wrap around your hand. In other words, whip out your needles and about a hundred yards of worsted-weight yarn. If you knit with thinner yarn, you will need more yardage; with aran, bulky, or super-bulky yarn, you will need less yardage. Also keep in mind that the thicker the yarn, the more cumbersome it can be on your hands. If you need to type at your computer, super-bulky yarn may not be the way to go.
Cast on anywhere from six to eight inches' worth of stitches, or approximately 1.5 to 2 times the number of stitches indicated on the gauge chart on the ball band. This does not have to be an exact science if you are just hoping to knit through some pretty yarn you have. Knit your stitches in garter stitch (knit every row) until your piece is six inches long. turn it on its side and wrap it around your hand, with one edge resting just above the webbing of your fingers. Not enough ease, or stretch? Then keep knitting.
When the piece is as long as it needs to be to go around your hand, bind off and seam the top and bottom edge together, leaving a gap for your thumb in the seam. Then make another one. It really is that easy.
If you prefer patterns, or you want to use the option as a fashion accessory and have plenty of yarn, your options are limitless. If you want a gusset for your thumb, try the Passing Places Fingerless Mitts by Helena Callum. If you like sock yarn, then the Shar Pei Fingerless Mitts by Leyla Alieva might be more your speed. The Fingerless Mittens by Fiona Morris are a relatively simple pattern for worsted- to aran-weight yarn. If you like colorwork, you can try Anne Iverson's Goldfish Fingerless Mitts pattern. For cables, a good pattern would be the Princess Mitts by Jennifer Hagan.
Whatever your fancy, since fingerless mitts are a quick knit, you can make several pairs and leave one pair at the office, one in the car, one next to the bed, and anywhere else you want so you have warmth literally at your uncovered fingertips at all times.
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