by Delta Discovery Staff
Don’t you love the look, feel, and warmth of homemade knitted mittens? They are so cozy and nice, and the fact that they are homemade gives them that special sentimental significance worthy of cherishing. And since it is so cold outside, now is a good time to make some.
Here are some easy instructions for some medium ladies size mittens so that you can qilak (knit) some this winter for your loved ones so that their hands don’t freeze while living here in our beautiful cold climate. You will need to have some basic knitting skills to help you: casting on, knitting and purl stitch, and knowing how to count rows.
4 knitting needles, double pointed, large size (preferably)
Yarn (you can combine two different balls of yarn for a thicker mitten)
safety pin (or an extra knitting needle)
yarn sewing needle (to weave in the ends)
Cast on 8 stitches onto each needle
Rounds 1-10: Knit one, purl one all the way around
Before you knit row 11, place 12 stitches on one needle and 6 and 6 on the other two needles
Round 11: Knit one, increase one on your needle that has 12 stitches on it. On the first needle that has 6 stitches, knit one and then increase one. So now your needle that had 12 stitches now has 13 and your second needle now has 7. The last needle will still have 6.
Rounds 12-22: Knit with reckless abandon.
Round 23 (for left side mitten): This is your thumb hole round. Knit all 13 stitches and then put the last 6 stitches in a holder, like a safety pin. The thumb will be on the left side so this is your left hand mitten. Knit the rest of the round.
Round 23 (for right side mitten): When you do the right hand side mitten, you will put the first 6 stitches on reserve on the safety pin or extra needle on this round. Continue knitting the rest of this round.
Round 24 (for left hand mitten): Knit 7 stitches. This will bring you to the reserved stitches that you put on the safety pin (or extra needle) and then cast on 6 which will be opposite (above) the reserved stitches that are on the safety pin or the extra needle. Knit the rest of the round. There should be a hold for your left hand thumb.
Round 24 (for right hand mitten): Cast on 6 stitches. These will be right above the six stitches that you put on reserve back in Round 23. Continue knitting the rest of the round. There should be a hole for your right thumb now.
Round 25 – and up: Keep knitting around and around until your knitting almost reaches the tips of your fingers. Try on your mitten periodically to decide when to start decreasing. You can start decreasing when the top of your pinky finger is not showing. At this point you can count how many rounds you knitted so that you’ll know how many rounds to do for the other side.
How to decrease:
Decrease round 1: On your needle that has 13 stitches knit one, then knit 2 together, then knit the rest until you have 3 stitches left on your needle. Next knit 2 together and then knit one. Repeat on your needles that have 6 and 7 stitches.
Decrease round 2: Knit all the way around.
Decrease round 3: Knit one, knit 2 together until you have 3 stitches left, then knit 2 together, knit one.
Repeat Decrease round 2.
Keep decreasing until you have 5-7 stitches left on your first needle. Cut your yarn and then pull it through each stitch. Pull it and close your hole. You’ll secure and weave the loose end in later.
Knitting the thumb:
Put the 6 stitches that are in the safety pin onto one of your needles. Take another needle and take six loops of yarn from the top of the hole and put them on your needle. Using your yarn that had been cut start knitting the row that was on the safety pin. Leave a tail so that you can sew any holes shut with your sewing needle. When you get to the end of your six there will be a gap. To close the gap, pick up a loop from the gap from the mitten, twist it, and knit it making it the 7th stitch on your needle. Do the same on the other side. Now you will have 7 stitches on each of your two needles. Knit around and around.
(If you are having trouble with this part, just knit around and around and when you are done take a yarn needle and yarn and sew the big holes shut. There will be two big holes on both sides of the thumb.) If all else fails you can take a crochet needle and crochet around the thumb hole and create the thumb part of your mitten by crocheting the whole thing. It’s been done before and it works!
Try on your mitten to make sure how long to make the thumb. Tie it off without decreasing and pull the hole shut.
Secure and weave in your end yarn pieces into the mitten. Thread it through a few times on the inside of the mitten. Flip it back to the right side and it should be done.
Good job. How nice your mitten must look.
Making knitted mittens is so relaxing and fun and you are not being idle which is the best part. You can relax and be doing something productive at the same time, how delightful is that? It gives you something to do with all your wonderful yarn stash. To make smaller mittens you will need to cast on fewer stitches on each needle at the beginning. To make bigger mittens cast on 2-4 more stitches.
This method is only one way, there are other ways to make mittens and I am sure you can find the one that you like.
If you are having trouble, ask a knitter. I am sure there are many wonderful knitters that would love to help you. Knitters love helping other knitters. From Kipnuk to Scammon Bay to Kwethluk, and beyond – they are out there!