With the freezing temperatures of the past few days, all the handmade winter accessories are out: hat, scarf or snood… It’s simple, you are hardly recognized anymore so much you are wrapped up to cover your head… hands! Yes, you must not forget to protect your fingers, especially if you belong to this category of people whose extremities quickly pass from a natural skin color to red or even blue. But you are reluctant (yes, we heard you!) to wear mittens for example, so much do you have the impression of having socks instead of hands… And if the solution were to knit women’s mittens ?
THE MITTENS ARE APTLY NAMED
Mittens, what are we talking about? These are gloves that only cover the first phalanx of the fingers.
A mitten is therefore a kind of half-glove that leaves the fingers free. Moreover, it is etymologically the meaning of this word! “Mitaine” would come from the provincial word “mitan”, with the same radical “mit” which is found in “half” (“mit-ié”).
Did you know ? Attention, if a Canadian or a Swiss speaks to you about mittens, it does not indicate the gloves open at the end! In Canada and Switzerland, locals call mittens “mittens”!
MITTENS, A FASHIONABLE ACCESSORY
Yes, this accessory made its big comeback on fashion shows in 2016 (like the Chanel Fall-Winter 2016/2017 show). Madonna herself has brought lace or leather mittens back to the fore. No wonder they then conquered the winter wardrobe of many fashion addicts. And this fashion effect has not passed over time, even for DIY enthusiasts! Mittens still occupy a special place in the hearts of knitters, even competing with gloves and mittens.
Available in different materials (leather, wool, suede, fur, cotton, etc.) and colors, mittens have also seen their shapes diversify:
- They can offer separations for each finger (like gloves) or not (like mittens). When they are open at the base of the fingers, only the thumb is delimited, so they are easier to put on.
- You can knit long mittens: they go up to the forearms and protect more effectively against the cold, but it is more complex to put them on when you are wearing a sweater. You may prefer short mittens, they only cover the wrists.
It is nowadays quite common to wear mittens both outside and inside to protect yourself from the cold as little as possible and complete your outfit with a top trendy accessory.
Indeed, in terms of style, mittens adapt to all tastes and all occasions: plain pairs for a chic look or versions with decorative motifs to bring a touch of fantasy… You are spoiled for choice, especially if you decide to make hand-knitted woolen mittens : there is no shortage of knitting mittens patterns!
WEARING KNIT MITTENS: THE PROS AND CONS
Mittens have many detractors. They often criticize them for being the equivalent of sleeveless jackets, therefore of no use in the middle of winter and of being just an aesthetic accessory!
In all objectivity, we are going to list for you the advantages and disadvantages of making knit mittens and wearing them.
You will love their practicality!
This is obviously the No. 1 argument for wearing mittens : your wrists and part of your hands are protected from the cold but your fingers remain completely free of any movement .
While the thermometer is getting dangerously close to 0°C, this accessory is ideal if you want to continue, for example:
- Tap on your smartphone to send sms faster than lightning. Have you ever tried with gloves? Impossible to do! Strangely, the touch screen is much less so…
- Playing the guitar in the open air for example (it also works with other instruments!). Have you ever tried to play music with mittens? The false notes are likely to be numerous…
- Bite your nails!
Of course, these are only examples… And the list is much longer of things that can be done with mittens and impossible with gloves or mittens!
Thanks to the mitts, you keep your dexterity. On the other hand, of course, they do not multiply it for you: if you have, as we say, “two left hands”, you will always have them!
Do mittens provide enough protection against the cold?
Gloves with holes in the end, what’s the point? Indeed, this is the main disadvantage of mittens : they do not completely protect the end of your hands , unlike a pair of gloves or mittens.
They are therefore to be preferred:
- If you are not too afraid of the cold. We don’t all have the same ability to withstand winter temperatures. Clearly, if your nose is so red as soon as you go outside that it looks like you’ve drunk more than you should, the conclusion is clear: you are very sensitive to temperature differences. Your fingers also risk being frozen if they are not completely covered.
- During the fall season
- In the middle of winter, when temperatures do not drop below zero.
But here are some tips to limit the inconvenience and keep your hands as warm as possible:
- Choose very warm wool, such as mohair wool. At the same time, wool by definition is warmer than lace or cotton! So, making knit mittens yourself is a great way to get a warmer accessory than if you bought it from a store.
- Opt for a well-covering model. The ideal is to knit women’s mittens up to the second phalanx, so the covered area is larger. This is the whole point of Do It Yourself: you can adapt the dimensions according to your needs and desires!
Side look: mittens or not?
In terms of style, mittens do not win all the votes, and that’s normal because we are all different and our tastes too!
If they seduce for their practical side, some women see them as “rebellious” or “baba cool” accessories, not very compatible for example with certain jobs or certain occasions.
It’s a matter of taste, personal style, circumstances… and materials too! Indeed, leather mittens will tend to label you as a biker or rocker. Plain wool mittens will be more classic, and therefore more versatile.
KNITTING WOMEN’S MITTENS IS EASY, QUICK AND ECONOMICAL
Mittens stand out from other winter accessories because they are the most practical on a daily basis. But they have the same advantages as mittens in terms of creative activity.
Indeed, knitting women’s mittens is a DIY project that takes a minimum of time (in a few hours it’s done!) and requires a minimum of budget (one or two balls of wool are enough!). It’s faster and more economical than knitting a top-down sweater for example !
On the technical side, knitting women’s mittens is easy . At least, it’s quite accessible to knitting beginners. The same is true for fingerless mitts in particular! You need to know the knit stitch, the purl stitch, the decreases, the increases, how to cast off stitches and leave them on hold. Basic knowledge (just like garter stitch, stockinette stitch) for a beginner knitter in short!
It is possible to knit mittens with circular needles. But if you choose to knit mittens with 4 double-pointed needles (or even 5), it is also possible! Then start by knitting the selvage, then the rest of the mitten. Mark the location of the thumb, for example by knitting the stitches concerned with a scrap of wool. Once the last row of the mitten is knitted, cast off the stitches. Knit the thumb by picking up the stitches located just above the scrap of wool used to make the marking, then cast off the stitches for the thumb.
The best thing is to embark on this creative project with a special knitting book for mittens or mittens.