Sunday, December 7, 2008

Isaac's Mittens

This is a great pattern for men’s fingerless gloves, from a Beehive pattern booklet published in 1915. These were probably originally meant to be knitted for one’s strapping husband to wear as he completed various greasy, manly, mechanical jobs on the farm in a howling blizzard… hence the 5” wrist garter. Since most of the guys I know use these gloves now in order to take outdoor smoke breaks or operate their iPhones while taking public transit, I usually opt to shorten the wrist to about 3.5”.
I have changed some of the wording in the original pattern to make it easier to follow, but the directions are unchanged. Sadly no gauge was included with the original. I used a much thicker wool than called for in the pattern and though it was a real, ehm, challenge to knit, the gloves came out quite nicely.

Men's Mittens

Original description: Knitted plain (except for the ribbing, to give elasticity in the wrist) these mittens are simple to make and very comfortable in wear, especially where the fingers require to be free.

Materials: 2.5 oz (around 70g) 3-ply yarn
Four 3.0mm double pointed needles


Cast on 52 stitches, placing 16 stitches on the first needle and 18 on each of the other two needles. Work in 2x2 rib for 36 rounds, or to desired length. After a few rows, place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round.

Work 10 rounds in plain knitting.

Begin the thumb: P1, increase in the next stitch (by knitting through the loop in the row just underneath the stitch, then knitting the stitch regularly), K2, increase again in the same manner, P1, K to end of round. The two purl stitches mark the outside of the thumb.

Knit two rounds plain, but continue to purl the two marker stitches.

* Increase row: P1, increase, K to the stitch before the next P stitch, increase again, P1, K to end of round.

K two rounds plain, continuing to P the two marker stitches as established*

Repeat * until there are 18 stitches between the two P stitches. Knit two more rounds plain without increasing. In the next round, K1 (the first purl marker stitch), place 18 stitches on a holder and leave them for the thumb, cast on 4 stitches, K the other purl marker stitch, continue on in plain knitting to finish the round.

Work 10 rounds in plain knitting.

Work 10 rounds in 2x2 ribbing. Bind off loosely.

Thumb: Take up the 18 stitches that were left on the holder and divide them evenly on two needles. With the third needle, pick up 6 stitches along the space between the other two needles.
Knit six rounds plain knitting

Work six rounds 2x2 rib.

Bind off loosely.
Weave in all ends. Block or steam as desired.

A scan of the original pamphlet is available from in pdf form. It’s in three parts, the first of which is available at
and contains links to the other two parts.

As far as I know this pattern is in the public domain, and you’re welcome to use it to create items for personal and commercial use. Enjoy!

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