Do you enjoy both fingerless mitts and mittens? Why choose? Get both with convertible mitts!
I’m a person whose hands are frequently cold. Do you have this problem as well? Even in the middle of summer I have this issue, because I tend to frequent places during the summer where the air conditioning is cranked so low that my hands freeze.
Because my hands are often cold, I like to keep fingerless mitts or gloves with me nearly all the time. But in the winter, I prefer another kind of hand covering: convertible mitts.
In case you’ve never heard of “convertible mitts,” allow me to explain. These are fingerless mitts or gloves that also provide a way to keep the fingertips completely covered. This keeps you from having to carry around two different pairs of hand coverings, one for inside when you need to use your fingers, and one for outside when you just need to stay warm.
I’ve found that convertible mitts tend to come in one of four different styles.
1) Fingerless mitt with a flap that closes over the fingers
2) Mitten with an opening near the palm to allow the fingers to go free as needed
3) Extended fingerless mitt, where the extension folds down to allow the fingers freedom
4) Fingerless glove (i.e., with separate fingers) with a flap that closes over the fingers
So below I’ve listed each of the three categories, with several patterns that fit into each category. And at the very end, I’ve offered a simple solution to one difficulty I often find with convertible patterns.
Convertible Mitts Patterns: Fingerless Mitt + Flap
Convertible Mittens: This simple pattern creates a pretty design resembling a cable on the back of the hand.
Manly-Man Man Mittens: This pattern is even simpler: straight stockinette throughout, aside from the ribbed cuff. This also creates little loops at the tops of the flaps that can be buttoned down to keep the flaps out of the way when the fingers are uncovered.
Convertible Mitts for a Man: This pattern looks almost exactly like the above pattern, but there’s a key difference: the flap is actually knitted before “fingerless mitt” portion. An unusual but effective technique!
Brier Twist: A beautiful design emerges when you knit these convertibles. Another twist: you can knit this pattern as either straight fingerless mitts or add the flap for convertibles.
Double Mitts: This Frankie Brown special offers an innovative technique. Rather than knit the thumb last, like so many mitten patterns, you’ll knit the thumb first.
Crofton Mitts: I think this is the cleverest pattern of the bunch. First, this pattern has a thumb hole rather than a defined thumb. Second, it offers both a short-cuff and a long-cuff version. Finally, the design of the flap is like nothing I’ve seen. You’ll really just have to take a look to see what I mean.
Convertible Mitts Patterns: Mitten + Slit
Peekaboo Mitts: Perhaps the simplest of the bunch, this pattern offers both DK and worsted-weight versions. I love this pattern and have knitted it twice! (Photo at left.)
Playground Mittens: Almost identical to the previous pattern, but the key difference is that this pattern is just for children. (I’ll bet these would make a great charity project!)
Men’s Mittens: I like these because they are fully-ribbed throughout. Perfect for the man (or men) in your life.
Convertible Mitts Patterns: Extended Mitts
Rainbow Flip-Top Mitts: This pattern explains the concept perfectly. Essentially it is a very long fingerless mitt pattern that keeps your fingers well covered when the top is fully extended. When you want to expose your fingers, simply fold the top back over your hand so that your fingers are uncovered. Genius!
Cute-as-a-Button Fingerless Mitts: Similar to the previous pattern, except it uses a button to keep the top folded-down portion nice and neat.
Convertible Mitts Patterns: Fingerless Glove + Flap
Broad Street Mittens: This Knitty pattern is probably the simplest and definitely the most popular pattern of the bunch. I’ve linked to the Ravelry page rather than to the Knitty page because here the designer explains how to mirror-image your knitting to make sure you have a right glove and a left glove.
Borough Mittens: Another Knitty pattern, these stylish mittens are meant especially for men.
Men’s Convertible Gloves and Thumbs: Another pattern for men, I love how these fingerless gloves offer flaps not only for the fingers but also the thumbs!
Chilly Podsters: These are much like the previous pattern, except that they are for women!
London Eye Glittens: These patterns are nice, but if you’d like a design with a bit more flair, these convertibles are perfect! They feature beautiful cables on the backs of the hands.
So here’s one thing I don’t like about convertible mitts: most patterns feature either a closed thumb or an open thumb. A few patterns here are exceptions. But what if you want to use a pattern that isn’t an exception?
Fortunately, there’s a solution! Just knit the thumb longer than necessary, then cast off, leaving the top open. Then you can fold it down to free the thumb when needed, or leave it up and keep the thumb covered as necessary.
I’ve found at least 2 patterns I’d like to try, and maybe more. How about you — are you ready to knit convertible mitts?