Magical mittens

With a quick flip, these pop-top mittens become fingerless gloves

By Jo Calvert; Designed by Heather Down. Diagram by Vicky Elson.

Everyone knows that in the winter fingers prefer to huddle together for warmth. That's why we all love our mittens. But sometimes you need your fingers free to lace up your children's skates, squeegee your ski goggles or pick the ice out of your car-door's keyhole.

Cookstown, Ont., mother, elementary-school teacher and crafter Heather Down has finally solved this very Canadian conundrum. Her adults' mittens are knitted in pure wool for cosy comfort – and they're designed with tops that pop off to let fingers function when they need to.

'Tis the season to knit a little kindness for those hardworking hands.

Sizes: Adults' Small/Medium (S/M). Adults' Medium/Large (M/L)
Palm circumference: S/M = 23 cm (9 ins) M/L = 25.5 cm (10 ins)
Length from base of thumb to fingertip-end of mitten: S/M = 6.5 cm (6-1/2 ins) M/L = 20.5 cm (8 ins)

Pop-Top Mittens
Instructions are written for small/medium size. Any changes for medium/large size are written in brackets. If there is only 1 set of figures, it applies to both sizes, unless otherwise noted. Standard abbreviations are used. Recommended for knitters with some experience.

You need:
• 2 skeins (110 g) MacAusland's 2-ply wool
• One 4.50 mm needle
• 1 set of 3.75 mm double-pointed needles OR whichever double-pointed needles you require to produce the tension given below
• 4 cm (1-1/2 ins) Velcro (both sides), 1-in wide
• Buttonhole twist to match Velcro
• Tapestry needle and fine handsewing needle

Tension:
18 sts and 32 rows = 10 cm/4 ins in St st using double-pointed needles. Work to exact tension with specified yarn to obtain satisfactory results.

To save time, take time to check tension.

To make:

Right Mitten
CUFF:
*With double-pointed needles, cast on 40(44)sts, divided evenly onto 3 needles.

Work even in rnds of [k2,p2] ribbing until work from beg measures 7(9)cm/2-3/4(3-1/2)ins.

Knit 9(12) rnds*

MITTEN:
Rnd 1: K22(24), inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, k to end of rnd. 42(46)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 2 and alt rnds up to and incl rnd 12(14): Knit.
Rnd 3: K22(24), inc 1 st in next st, k2, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 44(48)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 5: K22(24), inc 1 st in next st, k4, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 46(50)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 7: K22(24), inc 1 st in next st, k6, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 48(52)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 9: K22(24), inc 1 st in next st, k8, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 50(54)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 11: K22(24), inc 1 st in next st, k10, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 52(56)sts now in md.
Rnd 13 (work for medium/large size only): K24, inc 1 st in next st, k12, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 58 sts now in rnd.

THUMB:
K36(40). **Thread piece of scrap yarn through next 39(43)sts and slip off needle, leaving last 13(15)sts on needle. Cast on 2 sts. Divide these 15(17)sts evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles to form rnd (base of thumb).

Knit even for 14(17) rnds or for length to top of wearer's thumb.
Next rnd: K1, [k2tog] 7(8) times, break yarn, leaving end approx 20 cm/8 in long.

With tapestry needle, thread yarn end through rem 8(9)sts. Draw up and fasten securely on inside.

PALM:
Divide rem 39(43)sts on scrap yarn evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles. Join yarn to last st before thumb. Pick up and knit 2 sts at base of thumb, k to end of rnd. 41(45)sts now in rnd.
Next rnd: K2tog (2 picked-up sts at base of thumb), k to end of rnd. 40(44) sts now in rnd.

Knit even for 11(14) rnds or for length to base of wearer's fingers.**

INDEX FINGER:
K3(4), cast on 2(3)sts, thread scrap yarn through next 30(33)sts and slip off needle, k rem 7 sts. 12(14)sts now on needle. ***Divide sts evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles. Knit even for 4(6) rnds. With larger needle, cast off loosely***

MIDDLE FINGER:
With palm of mitten facing, slip last 5(6)sts and first 5 sts off scrap yarn and onto 2 double-pointed needles. Join yarn to base of previously-knit finger. K first 5 sts, cast on 2(3)sts, k last 5(6)sts, pick up and knit 2 sts from base of previously-knit finger. 14(16)sts now on needle. Rep from *** to *** as given for index finger.

RING FINGER:
With palm of mitten facing, slip last 5 sts and first 5(6)sts off scrap yarn and onto 2 double-pointed needles. Join yarn to base of previously-knit finger. K first 5(6)sts, cast on 2(3)sts, k last 5 sts, pick up and knit 2 sts from base of previously-knit finger. 14(16)sts now on needle. Rep from *** to *** as given for index finger.

LITTLE FINGER:
With palm of mitten facing, slip rem 10(11)sts off scrap yarn and onto 2 double-pointed needles. Join yarn to base of previously-knit finger, k10(11), pick up and knit 2 sts from base of previously-knit finger. 12(13)sts now on needle. Rep from *** to *** as given for index finger.

MITTEN TOP:
Determine rnd that lies midway between base of thumb and cast-off edge of fingers; with double-pointed needles, pick up and knit 18(20)sts (centred on mitten back) along this rnd, then cast on 22(24)sts. 40(44)sts now on needle; divide evenly onto 3 double-pointed needles to form rnd.

Work even in [k2,p2] ribbing for 3 rnds, then knit even for 12(15) rnds or for length to wearer's first ring-finger knuckle, ending 2 sts before end of last md. Slip rem 2 sts onto next needle.

Tip: To make row easier to see, thread contrasting-colour yarn through horizontal row of sts to be picked up for mitten top.

TO SHAPE MITTEN TOP:
Rnd 1: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k14(16), k2tog, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k14(16), k2tog, k1. 36(40)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 2 and alt rnds up to and incl rnd 12: Knit.
Rnd 3: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k12(14), k2tog, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k12(14), k2tog, k1. 32(36)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 5: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k10(12), k2tog, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k10(12), k2tog, k1. 28(32)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 7: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k8(10), k2tog k2, sl1 k1, psso, k8(10), k2tog, k1. 24(28)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 9: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k6(8), k2tog, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k6(8), k2tog, k1. 20(24)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 11: K1, sl1, k1, psso, k4(6), k2tog, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k4(6), k2tog, k1. 16(20)sts now in rnd.

GRAFTING is worked with a tapestry needle and yarn to join stitches along 2 open edges of knitting. Grafting stitches echo the structure of knitting stitches and form an invisible seam. Diagram shows grafting worked on stocking stitch (contrasting-colour yarn used for illustration only).

Break yarn, leaving end approx 38 cm/15 ins long. Slip first 8(10)sts onto 1 double-pointed needle and rem 8(10)sts onto another double-pointed needle. With tapestry needle and working back and forth from next st on 1 needle to next st on the other, thread yarn end through sts as shown in diagram, grafting top edges together. Fasten yarn end securely on inside.

Left Mitten
CUFF:
Work from * to * as given for right mitten.

Rnd 1: K16(18), inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, k to end of rnd. 42(46)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 2 and alt rnds up to and incl rnd 12(14): Knit.
Rnd 3: K16(18)sts, inc 1 st in next st, k2, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 44(48)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 5: K16(18), inc 1 st in next st, k4, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 46(50)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 7: K16(18), inc 1 st in next st, k6, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 48(52)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 9: K16(18), inc 1 st in next st, k8, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 50(54)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 11: K16(18), inc 1 st in next st k10, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 52(56)sts now in rnd.
Rnd 13 (work for medium/large size only): K18, incl 1 st in next st, k12, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of rnd. 58 sts now in rnd.

THUMB AND PALM:
K30(34), then work from ** to ** as given for right thumb and palm.

INDEX FINGER:
K7, cast on 2(3)sts, slip next 30(33)sts off needle and onto length of scrap yarn, k rem 3(4)sts from needle. 12(14)sts now on needle.

Work from *** to *** as given for right index finger.

MIDDLE, RING AND LITTLE FINGER:
With back of mitten facing to begin each finger, work as given for right mitten.

MITTEN TOP:
Work as given for right mitten.

TO FINISH:
Cut each side of Velcro, into two 2 cm/ 3/4-in pieces. Centre long edge of 1 hook piece on outside of each mitten-top back, 2 cm down from tip; with thread and fine needle, stitch in place. Fold each mitten top flat against mitten back and position 1 loop piece under hook piece; stitch to mitten back. Weave in yarn ends on wrong side of work.

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