My Favorite Felted Mittens Pattern

photo: LGP

Last winter, I knitted, felted and sold about 20 pairs of felted mittens at pre-holiday craft fairs. I don’t mind making socks on circular needles, but not mittens – guess the hole for the thumb bothers me, I dunno. Anyway, I use the 2-needle pattern below, but I make the mittens much larger than if they weren’t about to be felted.  That means, for a child, I make a small adult size. For men, the bigger medium or largest  size. You have to use your judgement and know your yarn. Use your judgment for women.  For felting, I’ve found that Paton’s 100% wool worsted weight gives me predictable results. It is readily available, inexpensive, knits up beautifully, and comes in many lovely solids and blends. Yarns made specifically for felting shrink too much for this application.

Traditional two needle mittens work up quickly, and suit everyone from child to adult. Use up your yarn stash and knit a pair of mittens in a different color for everyone in the family.
Sizes: small child, medium child, large child, adult

# Materials: #5 and #7 needles
# 200 yards of worsted weight yarn
# 1 stitch holder
# 2 stitch markers
# tapestry needle

Gauge: 5 sts = 1″ on #7 needles

Cuff: With smaller needles, loosely cast on 24(28-32-36)sts. Work *K1, P1,* ribbing until piece measures 2 1/2 (3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2)”. Change to larger needle.

Hand: Row 1 (right side): K2, inc in next st, K to last 3 sts inc in next st, K1. Row 2 Purl. Continue working in SS until piece measures 1″ (1 1/4, 1 1/2, 2″) from end of ribbing, ending with a P row. For the last 3 sizes only Work 2 more rows. (SS)

Thumb Gusset: Row 1: K12 (12-14-16-18), place marker on needle; inc in each of next 2 sts, place marker on needle: K12 (14-16-18) sts. Row 2: and all even rows Purl. Row 3: K to marker, sl marker, inc in next st; K to st before next marker, inc in next st, sl marker, K to end. Repeat Rows2 and 3 until there are 8 (10-12-14) sts between the markers; end by working Row 2.

Divide for Thumb: K12 (14-16-18), drop marker; K8 (10-12-14)sts for thumb, and then place thumb sts on holder; K 12 (14-16-18) Work even in SS until work measures 4″ (5 1/2 -6-7″) from start of Hand, ending by working a purl row.

Top Shaping: Row 1: *K2, K2tog; rep from* across. Row 2: Purl. Row 3: *K1, K2tog, rep from * Rowb 4: Purl. Row 5: K2tog across; break yarn, leaving 18″ end. Thread yarn into tapestry

needle, run needle through remaining sts. Slip sts off needle, pull yarn up tightly and fasten securely. leave yarn for sewing.

Thumb: Sl sts from holder to needle, purl one row. Work even in SS until thumb measures 1 1/4 ( 1 3/4-2-2 1/4″) ending with a purl row. Next Row: K2 tog, rep across row cut yarn leaving 12″ end finished the same as above. Fold mitten and sew seams.

Your mittens will be comically large and floppy. That’s OK, that’s what you want. Follow your best felting instructions until they shrink to size. I’ve been known to throw wet mittens in the dryer, medium setting, to get to where I want them.

Good luck, happy knitting , let me know how you do!

(updated 2/2/11)

28 thoughts on “My Favorite Felted Mittens Pattern

  1. J says:

    I have a question about this felted mitten pattern.

    You mention above that you knit these larger. Felted items are always knitted larger. You list four sizes, so do I choose the size I need or choose a larger size?

    Please clarify.
    Thank you.


  2. katknit says:

    Choose a larger size. Paton’s yarn, for me, shrinks down about 1/4 of the original size, so if you knit to 12 inches, it should shrink to around 9. But yarns made especially for felting shrink a lot more, maybe 1/3 to 1/2.
    Good luck!


  3. katknit says:

    Well, it depends on how much your yarn will shrink during the felting process. I tend to knit on the large side all the time – that’s just how my knitting comes out. So, this is the guidleline I use with this pattern:
    For a child, I make a small adult size. For men, a medium woman’s size.
    Hope this helps.


    • Cath Twohill says:

      Hi, Just quick note regarding your size suggestions…Don’t you mean “For women, a medium men’s size” ? It seems that since felting shrinks the mitten that you always have to start with the larger size for the smaller?


      • katknit says:

        Thanks, Cath, I changed the wording, which I hadn’t noticed. I appreciate your reading DWW, and taking the time to comment.


  4. katknit says:

    For a man, I use the adult size, but go up one or two needle sizes, depending on his hand size.
    I’ve had a lot of experience with this pattern, so I know it well, and I always use Paton’s b/c I know how much shrinkage to expect.
    You can also double the yarn to make them larger.
    Hope this helps. With felting, it’s very individual.


  5. judy says:

    i have never made anything felted before. i want the mittens to fit a 17 year old teenager and a 25 year old girl. so probably a women’s small or women’s medium. do i just knit them using the adult instructions or do i need to make them bigger so they end up that size. If so, how many more stitches for a women’s small and a women’s medium. Thank you for all your help. I am anxious to make these. They are just what i was looking for.


  6. katknit says:

    Judy, I’d make the adult size on size 8 or 9 needles. Use the # of stitches that the pattern specifies. After you’ve made the first one, try it on for size, and figure it will shrink about 25%. Paton’s yarn, for me, shrinks down about 1/4 of the original size, so if you knit to 12 inches, it should shrink to around 9. But yarns made especially for felting shrink a lot more, maybe 1/3 to 1/2.

    Thanks for visiting and good luck with your mittens!


  7. Sue says:

    I have started these mittens and am using the Patons brand of wool. I am making the adult size and used the #7 needle as suggested in the pattern. I have small wrists and it seems to me that the cuff would be tight BEFORE felting…Does this change? I sure would hate to be wasting yarn and all that time and effort to have something not even fit. Will the adult size on #7 needle be adequate for slipping over the wrist and hand without being too tight after felting?


  8. Jeanne says:

    I absolutely LOVE this pattern!! Ihave made at least a dozen pair of mittens for Christmas and found the Paton to be the most dependable wool yarn. I have also tried lamb’s wool (used 2 strands at a time) as well as Fisherman’s Wool (says “perfect for felting”) and both of those give me long thumbs…. and are not nearly as dependable as the Patons. thank you so much!!!


  9. katknit says:

    Just the first row, unless you think it needs to be wider for a person with very wide hands.The thumb gusset provides the needed width for regular sizing.


  10. katknit says:

    Just the first row, unless you need extra width for someone with wide hands. The thumb gusset provides the proper width for most sizes.


  11. I just finished the cuff in the women’s size. I am using the same yarn and needles you recommend. It looks much too small…should I be using double yarn? I have made felted bags and slippers and they always knit up quite large before felting. Help!


    • Knit the largest size, make the cuffs, palm, and thumb longer. If you check them often during the felting process, you stop felting if they seem in danger of getting too small. Good luck, Shawna!


  12. Wondering if anyone else found that the finished mitten before felting looked out of proportion.I followed the pattern as given for the large child .Read the pattern over and maybe the instructions should read knit 7″ from start ofthumb gusset.


  13. knotfancyknitter says:

    These look great! I have never tried felting before. (On purpose I mean. I’ve had a few felting disasters, but that’s another story).


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