Saturday, January 27, 2007

Playground Mittens

Last Updated Nov. 2008

As a mother of small children, I know that while mittens keep small hands warm, kids need their fingers available. It is hard for small fingers to zip jackets or tie shoes, and it is practically impossible to cross monkey bars with mittened hands. Most children solve this problem by simply removing their mittens, and this is how many mittens get lost. Moms have responded to this by threading mittens on string through coat sleeves, or clipping mittens to the wrists. I came up with a different solution. I started with a regular convertible mitten, but decided that it was too much bulk for tiny hands and too much effort for a busy preschooler. Playground mittens are mittens with a slit, so that kids can slip their fingers or even their entire hands out of their mittens without actually taking them off. Adding a flap keeps the palm completely covered for warmth without adding too much bulk.

Playground Mittens are a modification of any basic mitten pattern, for any size or gauge. I used Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns (Interweave Press, 2002) as my source, but any basic recipe would do*. At the end of this pattern is a list of links for such basic mitten patterns available online.

This is my first pattern, and while I have knitted it twice, it has not been test-knit by other knitters. Please feel free to contact me with errors and constructive suggestions, and send any pictures of finished Playground Mittens!

Playground Mittens, To fit sizes 4-6 years/about a 6” hand circumference
Gauge: 5 stitches = 1”
Finished mitten circumference = about 7”
5 dpns (US6 or whatever size to get correct gauge)
100 yds of worsted weight yarn (sample knitted with less than one skein of Noro Kureyon)
stitch markers
waste yarn
M1L: Left leaning raised increase: with left needle, lift strand between the needles from front to back. Knit this loop TBL.
M1R: Right leaning raised increase: with left needle, lift strand between needles from back to front. Knit this loop TBL.

Pattern for LEFT Mitten**:
First, knit the flap. CO 12 stitches. Using two dpns, knit back and forth in K2,P2 rib for 4 rows. Set aside completed flap on one dpn.
CO 32 stitches. Divide evenly over three dpns and join for working in the round, being sure not to twist your stitches. To make cuff, knit K2, P2 rib for 2”.
Switch to stockinette stitch and increase one stitch in the first round for 33 stitches.
Next, knit the thumb gusset:
To set up thumb gusset, K16 stitches, PM, M1L, K1, M1R, PM, knit to end of round. Knit two rounds even.
Then, knit gusset increase round as follows: K to first M, sl m, M1L, K to second m, M1R, sl M, knit to end.
Repeat the last 3 rnds until you have 9 gusset stitches between the markers, 41 stitches total.
On next round, place gusset stitches on waste yarn, remove markers, and CO1 stitch over gap using backward loop method, and place marker to mark the beginning of the round. 33 stitches total
Next, you'll make the slit in the palm of the mitten, and attach the flap.
K 2 rounds even. Next round, K2, bind of 12 stitches, knit to end of round. This forms the slit.
K2, then K12 flap stitches from the set-aside dpn over bound-off sts, K to end of round.
K even for 3”, then decrease 1 stitch evenly. 32 stitches.

Decrease for top of mitten as follows:
(K6, k2tog) to end.
K 1 round even.
(K5 k2tog) to end.
K 1 round
(k4, k2tog) to end.
K 1 round.
(k3, k2tog) to end.
K 1 round.
(k2 , k2tog) to end.
(K1, k2tog) to end.

Break yarn. Using darning needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull to gather closed.

To finish thumb, take 9 stitches off waste yarn, and pick up 1 stitch from the gap. 10 stitches.
K 6 rounds even.
k2tog, K1 to last 4 stitches, k2tog, k2.
K 1 round.
K2 tog, K1.

Break yarn. Using darning needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull to gather closed. Using darning needle, weave in all the ends. Pay special attention to tacking down the top edges of the flap to ensure a gapless fit.

**PLEASE NOTE: THESE MITTENS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. You must make a LEFT and RIGHT mitten. This pattern will make a LEFT mitten. In other words, you knit the flap with the thumb stitches facing to the left. To make the RIGHT mitten, simply reverse the placement of the flap on the second mitten by knitting the flap with the thumb stitches facing to the right.
This pattern is easily modified to fit your child or use any yarn. Simply estimate the number of stitches required for about 3/4 of the palm, and make your flap and slit accordingly.

*Other Basic Mitten Patterns:
Basic Cuff-Up Mitten from P2 Designs (.pdf)
Basic Four Needle Mitten Pattern from Knitlist
Generic Mitt Building Template from Knitty, Fall 2005


knittingphilistine said...

Great pattern! I could definitely use some sweet playground playin' mittens!

shizzknits said...

LOve those mittens! They look really cool in the Kureyon. Nice job!

Mo said...

Wow! Nice work. I'm impressed with my two designin' pals.

Anonymous said...

a pretty rosebud with her pretty mittens!


anne marie in philly

Ann said...

I think N and R will be sporting these soon! Way to go Liz -- great pattern!

Anonymous said...

Very cool - thanks for the pattern and links!

bethc said...

Looks like a great idea... I may have to try some!

Anonymous said...

very cute; thanks for writing up the pattern for us!

Carol said...

Great idea! I'll have to try them for some of my little people. Also, your child modeling them is uber-cute.

eyeknit said...

I can't wait to make these! Is the M1R correct? I usually lift the strand from back to front, and then knit the front loop. This gives me a nice increase that mirrors my M1R (done same as yours).

eyeknit said...

Sorry...I meant "that mirrors my M1L", of course.

carrie said...

ok, now i just need some kids. one of these days ...

Anonymous said...

Quick question ... what size DPNS?

Beth said...

I've gotta try these, thanks!

Sally HP said...

Hi, I had the same questions as Annonymous...what size DPN?

Anonymous said...

I really want to try these out, but I too would like to know what size DPNs to use! Please help!!!! xxx

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to reach you to request permission to link to your tutorial (and share a photo) for our upcoming Handmade Holidays on the Sew,Mama,Sew! blog. I couldn't find your contact information (though it is late!). Would you mind emailing so I can give you the details? We love your project and would like to share it with our readers.

Thank you!

wayfarer said...

these are so cool! i want some in my size.

Anonymous said...

You have not clearly said where to put the marker .Have you missed out a line of the pattern? Unless your M1L and M1R are to be marked with a marker . I did wish to make these mittens BUT will not be able to now unless you can tell me, please,where is the reference to place a marker?

Anonymous said...

these are great thank you so much! its sunday night and i started these today in the afternoon and could not stop knitting until they were finished (about 2 minutes ago:-)) i made a crochet chain to connect them so my daughter wont loose them. its snowing and very cold here in germany so vcant wait to put them on her tomorrow morning! thanks again, mara

Kimmie said...

Oh I so want to make these. I don't know if I understand the M1L you think I will get it once I start?

thanks for sharing. (I have made a couple pairs of mittens before...but don't think I did this.)

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Sophia said...

This pattern looks great but I'm confused by the flap. Are you supposed to bind off the flap? Or leave a tail? Please clarify thank you!

Anonymous said...

I hope I'm not crossing any lines here just trying to help.
The dpn is size 6 it doesn't need to be very long there are only 11 sts a needle until the thumb gusset so a 5 or 6 inch would be fine. It doesn't really matter how long they are its more personal preference.
Yes the m1 is correct just follow what she says and its fine.
She does tell you where to place the gusset markers knit 16 PM M1L K1 M1R PM
No you do not cast off the 12 sts for the flap leave them on a seperate dpn and just cut your yarn that's why you need 5 needles. You cast off 12 sts on one round then on the next round you knit 2 then knit the sts that are on the needle you knit for the flap using your working yarn.
There's a pattern for big people called ipod mitts that are very similar to these.