Monday, May 17, 2010

Tutorial: A First Knitting Project - Fingerless Mittens!

Since I'm a beginner blogger, I thought it'd be fitting to post a tutorial for beginners.  These fingerless mittens were my very first knitting project!  I'd wanted to try fingerless mittens, and although there are plenty of simple patterns out there, I wanted to start off with something really E-A-S-Y.  Hence this pattern.

When I first learned to knit, I borrowed a copy of Stitch & Bitch from the local library, searched YouTube videos and referred to  If you're like me, reading is an important learning tool. Debbie Stoller, author of Stitch & Bitch and Editor-In-Chief of Bust Magazine, makes the reading amusing and easy.  The YouTube and Knitting Help videos were great too, in that I could pause and re-play the videos repeatedly while practicing the techniques.

I definitely recommend these resources if you're brand new to knitting.  Lion Brand has some great-looking instructional videos, too!  For this tutorial, you'll need to know how to:
  • tie a slip knot onto a knitting needle
  • cast-on (any method you prefer)
  • make a  knit stitch
  • make a purl stitch
  • bind off/cast-off
Videos for each of these techniques are listed on these Lion Brand and Knitting Help links.

Okay, so here's the tutorial:

My First Knitting Project: Fingerless Mittens!
These fingerless mittens were my very first knitting project. They are fun, super easy, and knit up very quickly. After these mittens, I was hooked on knitting. Hopefully, you will be, too!

This pattern is composed of only two simple stitches: knit and purl. Getting the hang of these two basic stitches will provide you with the foundation for all kinds of knitting projects! 

You can use whatever yarn & needle size works best for you.  The smaller the yarn & needles, the more stitches you'll need to make.  I used a worsted-weight yarn and a US size 6 needle.  Personally, I found it much easier to use bamboo knitting needles when I first started, since the surface is not so slippery.  (Although now I much prefer my metal needles!) 

1) Cast on 27
This is the width to wrap around your hand & wrist. You may need it smaller or wider, but remember that the knitting will stretch!

2) Row 1: Knit

3) Row 2: Purl
4) Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you’ve reached your desired length for the sleeve.
If I were to make these mittens now, I would complete the last five or ten rows ribbing to prevent the bottoms from rolling up. To do this:

Start a row: *Knit 2, Purl 2, Knit 2, Purl 2; and repeat from* to the end of the row.

Next row: *Purl 2, Knit 2, Purl 2, Knit 2; and repeat from * to the end of the row..

Continue to alternate these 2 rows until you’ve reached the desired length for your fingerless mittens.

5) Bind off.

6) Fold the fabric in half, right sides together (the “v”s inside and the “bumps” outside). Using safety pins/markers, gauge where you want the thumb hole to be - mine are about 1” to 1.5” from the top.
When I first began knitting, my cast-on edge tended to be tighter than my final row. If you experience this too, make sure that the tighter end is at the top of the mitt (where your fingers will fit through) to be sure that you’ll be able to get your mitts on!

7) Using yarn and a large-eyed needle, sew up the sides, keeping the thumb-hole open. Slip your hands in and enjoy!

Even if you have a few mistakes, keep your first fingerless mittens! I still regularly use my first pair. They may not be perfect, but every time I wear them I’m reminded of my first forays into knitting. I also get to appreciate how much I’ve learned since then.
Happy knitting!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!  Thanks for your interest!

1 comment:

  1. Fingerless mitts are so fun to make and wear! Great tute.


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