Do you enjoy both fingerless mitts and mittens? Why choose? Get both with convertible mitts!
My 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 four 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 vine-and-leaf design emerges when you knit these convertibles. Another twist: you can knit this pattern as either straight fingerless mitts, or you can 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: The construction of this pattern is both clever and versatile. First, it 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 ingenious. You’ll 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!
Playground Mittens: Very similar to the previous pattern, but a key difference is that this pattern is just for children. (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. To access this pattern, scroll down to where it says “Direct PDF Download Here” and click the link.
Convertible Mitts Patterns: Extended Mitts
Rainbow Flip-Top Mitts: This pattern explains the concept perfectly. The “extended mitt” is one in which the top is very long. When the top is fully extended, it keeps your fingers covered. When you want your fingers free, simply fold the top back 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. On the pattern’s Ravelry page (linked here), the designer explains how to mirror-image your knitting to make sure you have a right glove and a left glove.
Borough: Another Knitty pattern, these stylish mittens were designed especially for men, but many women will love their ruggedness too.
Men’s Convertible Gloves and Thumbs: I love how these fingerless gloves offer flaps not only for the fingers but also the thumbs! This pattern is sized for men.
Chilly Podsters: These are much like the previous pattern, except that they are sized for women.
London Eye Glittens: If you’d like a design that are a little fancier, these convertibles are perfect for you! They feature beautiful cables on the backs of the hands.
The Trouble with Convertible Thumbs–and How to Solve It
So here’s one thing I don’t like about convertible mitts: most patterns feature either a closed thumb or an open thumb. That means you don’t have a choice with your thumb. It will be covered all the time, or it will be uncovered all the time.
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 didn’t come up with this idea… and I wish I could remember where I found it!)
Are you ready to knit convertible mitts?