Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A few months ago a man named Jack contacted the Indianapolis Knitting Guild looking for someone to knit him some mittens.

Well usually people who want something knitted run away when you tell them how much it costs, but the email he sent mentioned that they used to have a sheep farm and he had yarn from his sheep.  It seemed like there was a better than average chance that he'd know what he was asking, so I met with him.

He brought me a couple pairs of these mittens that he and his wife had had knit from their wool 25(?) years ago. 

They were awesome.  Double thick, soft, and warm.  And you could definitely tell that they had been loved for 25 years.

So Jack gave me some of his really lovely yarn (millspun Finn blend), and we agreed on some terms and I sent about remaking his mittens.  He wanted to surprise his wife for Mother's Day and I finished them in the nick of time. 

If you'd like your own pair of double thick mittens, here's how I made them:

Yarn: about Aran weight.  I don't know the yardage used, however the finished mittens weighed 6.5 oz.

Gauge: 4.5 stitches per inch

Needles: I used size 8 DPNs but you could use magic loop or 2 circs.  Use needle size to get gauge.

Note: Since when these are finished the inside is entirely enclosed, you will want to weave in all ends as you go.  

Cast on 4 stitches.  Slide stitches to other end of needle (as you do with i-cord).

Round 1: KFB of every stitch, and split stitches onto 3 needles (2, 2, and 4) if using DPNs.

Round 2: KFB every stitch (16 sts)

Round 3: *K2, m1, repeat from * (24 sts)

Round 4 and remaining even rows: Knit every stitch

Round 5: *K3, m1, repeat from * (32 sts)

For larger mittens work an optional round 7: *K4, m1, repeat from * (40 sts)

Continue knitting every round until mitten measures 5 inches from tip (or desired length.  Take this opportunity to weave in the yarn from the fingertips. 

Thumb: Knit 7 stitches and place onto waste yarn.  Knit rest of round.  Cast on 7 stitches over thumb hole.  Continue knitting every round for an inch or 2 and then go back to work afterthought thumb.

Either use another set of needles or put main mitten stitches on waste yarn and use the same needles to knit the first thumb. Put thumb stitches on needles, and with new working yarn pick up and knit 11 more stitches around thumb hole.  (18sts)
*SSK, k5, k2tog, repeat from * (14 sts).

Knit every round until thumb measures about 2 inches or as long as desired.  K1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, repeat from * (8sts)
K2tog every stitch (4 sts).  Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches.

Weave in both ends from thumb before continuing on with mitten body. 

Knit every round on remaining stitches until mitten measures 18 inches.

Work second thumb hole in same manner as first (place 7 stitches on waste yarn and then cast on 7 stitches in the next round.  Knit even for an inch or 2, then work second thumb as first one.

Continue working down fingertips 3.5 inches from second thumb (or same length as palm on other side). Weave in ends from second thumb. 

If you worked the larger size start with *k3, k2tog, repeat from * for 1 round, and then knit 1 round. (32 sts)

Decrease round 1: *K2, k2tog, repeat from * (24 sts)

Round 2: Knit

Round 3: *K1, k2tog, repeat from * (16 sts)

Round 4: K2tog every stitch around. (8 sts)

Break yarn and run through remaining stitches.  Pull tight. 

It's kind of strange to weave in the last end from the outside, but you can kind of run it through a few places to make sure it won't unravel.

Push 1 hand inside the other hand.  Voila!  A double knit mitten.

Complete second mitten as first one.

This pattern is completely not tech edited or test knit, I just thought I'd share my notes.  If anyone finds a mistake please let me know!

These could really be modified quite easily to be worked with almost any yarn.  Keep working the increases until the hand is the size that you want, and adjust the number of thumb stitches accordingly.  When it's time to start the second hand, measure the distance from the thumb to the end of the increases on the first hand, and knit the same distance from the second thumb before starting the decreases.

I know it's free but this pattern is still Copyright Mandie Harrington.  You may knit as many pair as you'd like and sell the finished product if you can find someone willing to pay you for them, but please don't sell or give away copies of the pattern.


  1. Neat!
    What a cool way to make extra-warm mittens.
    Thanks for sharing, Mandie!

  2. How great to find someone who really understands the value of handknits! I'm glad you were able to knit those. And congratulations on the coils you showed a couple days ago. I don't spin, but I am super impressed by spinners. Good work!

  3. Thanks for posting the pattern! Those mittens look awesome... I might have to make some. :)

  4. Ohhhh! What lovely mittens! Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Excellent idea! If I make them (the winters aren't that severe in my part of KY), I think I'd make the "outer" part slightly larger than the "inner" mitten. Hmm...

  6. Thank you for posting the fantastic pattern!
    Will be making some for family so we can endure the Ottawa winters.

  7. I love these! I have a pattern for a double knit hat that these will go great with!!

  8. My husband has a pair of these that he made a huge hole in this winter. I promised him I'd make him a new pair. Not making the first pair, I wasn't sure how, but was determined to find a way. Thank you SO much for posting this. Makes my search so much easier. :)

  9. If you want really warm mittens try thrumming them.

  10. My brother in-law is deployed in Afghanistan right now, and I hear the winters are cold. I've been wondering what to send him, and I think these would be the perfect way to let him know that those at home care about him. Thank you soooo much for making the pattern accessible to everyone!

  11. What does 'Thrumming' mean?

  12. Do you design patterns. I would like a pattern for a cap with a chin warmer for a 2yr old. The chin warmer looks like a beard and mustache. can you design it.

  13. Thrumming is inserting roving stitches as you knit. Makes the inside of the mitten feel like a woolly sheep. So warm.

  14. I love well worn and well loved hand knits. I have a pair of black fingerless gloves that I knitted 28 years ago now and I only had to retire them and knit a new pair 3 years ago!!! They are so handy for hanging out washing on a cold morning, but I had darned them one time too many! These mittens look fantastic and from REAL WOOL!!!!thank you for sharing! Lyndel(Australia)

  15. Okay, I have been knitting for a long, long time. But I have never seen SSK in a pattern, can somebody enlighten me please.

  16. SSK is slip 1 stitch (as if to knit) slip another stitch (as if to knit) then put the left needle through the back loop of the 2 stitches just slipped and knit them together. It's a left leaning decrease, and is more like k2tog than SKP but if you don't care too much about symmetry you can just k2tog.

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  18. It is about -30 degrees outside right now, so warm mitts are essential where I live. I am looking forward to making these, and adapting the sizing for my children. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thank you so much! My grandma use to make them when we were young. We really loved those thick mittens, they sure kept us warm!!!!

  20. What is meant by example round 3 K3, m1 repeat What is m1?? Love to try these but a little confused by m1?? Please Advise

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  22. Sandy m1 is make one. It's an increase, you can use any increase that makes a stitch where there wasn't one before, though probably not a yarn over. I like to lift the bar between stitches, and knit into the back of that. If you search knittinghelp.com for make 1 you will find a video. HTH

  23. Was his wife pleased with her new mittens? I hope she gets to see 25 years in this pair, too!

  24. I have some beautiful alpaca fiber that would be ideal for this - they are so awesome. One question - my fiber is probably dk weight. Would it make more sense to double it or use smaller needles and expand the pattern a little? TIA Wendy

  25. I’ve made these mittens for almost 40 years, and sold hundreds when I was a member of a craft cooperative in upstate NY. The only difference is that I make them on a knitting machine - 1 hour to knit them, 1 hour to sew them up. I got the pattern in the 70s at a knitting machine workshop from a lovely woman whose name I can’t recall. I still make them for family, and to sell at the one craft show I attend every year.

    1. Thanks joann! I know I got all those double knit mitten,hat,slipper patterns from the machine knitting years! Rose in NJ.

  26. Beautiful, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  27. Thanks for your generosity in sharing this pattern and making the mittens. How fun to work on these and show them to my knitting friends before pushing the inside one in, imagine the funny comments? What, WHAT are you doing?

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  29. Great double mitten pattern. One question: once you have knit the first mitten, thumb and cuff and then have continued with the second mitten cuff up to the thumb, shouldn't we have to increase the stitch count back to 32 stitches before continuing to complete the mitten/finger portion of the second mitten? I don't think I am seeing that in the instructions and the cuff portion back up to the thumb only has 25 stitches.

  30. Oh - I just realized that the 7 stitches that are cast on at the thumb make up the additional stitches back to 32 - so, all is well with this fantastic pattern! :o)