Mitten Evolution

January 1, 2012

I don’t knit gloves. Too fiddly. But the first time I saw a pair of flip top mittens at an outdoor sale booth in Chinatown, I knew I wanted to knit some. They were ingenious, super useful, wouldn’t be too  difficult or time-consuming to knit. Perfect, right?

I wasn’t aware of any patterns being available for these- although maybe there are now? Anyway I altered a regular mitten pattern from this handy book. This one was from one of the first pairs I made.


Maybe you can guess the flaw.

El Problemo

There’s a bit of a gap here, so that the mitten falls open if not carefully managed.

These mittens were for me, so it was ok. But then I lost one- which seemed like a tragedy until I remembered that I still had some of the yarn leftover. (Bless Cascade 220’s generous little heart). Since they weren’t gift mittens, I wasn’t going to offend anyone if they  didn’t match exactly. So I made some improvements.

No Gapping Here

I made the main body of the mitten tall enough to create a couple inches of overlap when the top is closed. This prevents gaps, but it also gives your fingers less room to maneuver.

My husband, who has a pair of the early-design mittens, noticed someone wearing a pair with tops had been attached not just to the back,  but around the sides of the hand as well, so they would tend to stay shut.

One of my many sisters has a birthday that falls right after Christmas, so in addition to re-knitting an old hat that was too tight, I made her a cowl in coordinating yarn. For her birthday, matching mittens:

The body of the mitten isn’t super tall (leaving the fingers free to do stuff when needed), but the top is attached around the sides of the hand, so you don’t really flip the top down so much as stick your fingers out, like so:

Mitten 3.0

Of course I did some ripping back and re-knitting before I was completely satisfied. Thank goodness the yarn- which I picked for the pretty color- is a heavy aran, making these a quick knit anyway.

And yeah, I’ll probably do it a little differently next time.


2 Responses to “Mitten Evolution”

  1. I just got my first pair of flip-mittens and do LOVE them! So convenient for the car ride – you can keep your fingers warm but still be able to punch the radio buttons at stops! I like the ridge, though on the El Problemo mittens. Has a nice aesthetic quality – Sort of looks like your fingers get a night cap. I imagine the next generation of these will be for teeny tiny kids, where you can flip the thumb off for sucking purposes.

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