Ancient Stitch Mittens
Like the naval engineer who one day spied a wire spring wobbling down his shelf and the next day invented the Slinky, I discovered the design for our Ancient Stitch Mittens quite by accident. In trying to figure out how to work a straight edge for our Ancient Stitch Scarf, the pronounced scalloped swatches I was setting aside soon struck me as the perfect mitten top.
Embracing the easiest construction possible, I knit each mitten in two pieces and seamed them neatly together. Like the innate spring of a Slinky, the natural curve of the stitch pattern does most of the work here.
In our fluffy Super Soft Merino, these Ancient Stitch Mittens make a wonderfully quick and cozy project. Their design may have been a lucky surprise, but this season’s favorite mittens are guaranteed! – Kristy
Share your progress and connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, #PurlSohoAncientStitchMittens, and #PurlSohoSuperSoftMerino. We can’t wait to see what you make!
To make one pair of mittens…
• 2 skeins of Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, 100% merino wool. Each skein is 87 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 160 (174) yards required. We used the colors Heirloom White (shown above) for size Large and Pale Stone for size Medium.
• A set of US 11 (8 mm) double pointed needles (or size needed to get the correct gauge)
12 stitches and 16 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
• Finished circumference at palm: Approximately 8 (9) inches
• Finished length from cuff to top of mitten: 10 inches
p tbl (purl through the back loop):
Bringing the working needle toward you (in a usual purl motion), purl through the back leg of the stitch, rather than the front. This twists the stitch.
inc (increase into purl bump):
Knit into the purl bump of the next stitch, leave the stitch on the needle, then knit into the back of the next stitch. This is a 1-stitch increase.
pfb (purl front and back):
Purl as usual into the front of the next stitch, leave the stitch on the needle, then purl into the back of the stitch. This is a 1-stitch increase.
Back of Hand
Note: For this section you will work back and forth on two double pointed needles. Also, you will start at the top of the mitten and work down toward the cuff.
Cast 15 (17) stitches onto one double pointed needle. We used a basic Long Tail Cast On.
Row 1 (right side): P1 (2), pfb (see Notes, above), k3 through the back loop (tbl), k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, k3 tbl, pfb, p1 (2).
Row 2 (wrong side): K2 (3), p11 tbl, k2 (3).
Row 3: Repeat Row 1.
Row 4: K1 (2), p1 tbl, k1, p9 tbl, k1, p1 tbl, k1 (2).
Row 5: P1 (2), inc (see Notes, above), p1, k2 tbl, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, k2 tbl, p1, inc, p1 (2).
Row 6: K1 (2), p2 tbl, k1, p7 tbl, k1, p2 tbl, k1 (2).
Row 7: P1 (2), inc, k1 tbl, p1, k1 tbl, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, k1 tbl, p1, k1 tbl, inc, p1 (2).
Row 8: K1 (2), p3 tbl, k1, p5 tbl, k1, p3 tbl, k1 (2).
Row 9: P1 (2), inc, k2 tbl, p1, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, p1, k2 tbl, inc, p1 (2).
Row 10: K1 (2), p4 tbl, k1, p3 tbl, k1, p4 tbl, k1 (2).
Repeat Rows 1-10 three more times.
Cut yarn and place stitches on waste yarn.
Make a second Back of Hand, identical to the first.
Note: For this section you will work back and forth on just two double pointed needles. And again, you will work from the top of the mitten down toward the cuff, stopping along the way to insert a thumbhole!
Cast 15 (17) stitches onto one double pointed needle.
Row 1 (right side): P1 (2), kfb, k3 tbl, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, k3 tbl, kfb, p1 (2).
Row 2 (wrong side): K2, p11 (13) tbl, k2.
Rows 3 and 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Row 5: P1 (2), kfb, k1, k2 tbl, k2tog, k1 tbl, k2tog tbl, k2 tbl, k1, kfb, p1 (2).
Row 6: K1 (2), p5, p3 tbl, p5, k1 (2).
Row 7: P1 (2), k5, k3 tbl, k5, p1 (2).
Repeat Rows 6 and 7 four (seven) more times. Work Row 6 once more.
Note: In the following section, you will make the thumbhole. In order to ensure a good fit and placement of the hole, lay the Palm over your fingers with your thumb extended out to the side. The top to the mitten should extend slightly over the tips of your fingers, and the bottom should graze the top of your thumb web. You can repeat Rows 6 and 7 fewer or more times as needed to adjust, making sure to end with a Row 6.
Make the Thumbhole
Next Row (right side): P1 (2), k2 (k1); drop working yarn and join waste yarn, k3 (4); slip stitches just worked in waste yarn back to left-hand needle; pick up working yarn and knit the 3 (4) slipped stitches just made; then, k3 tbl, k5, p1 (2). Cut scrap yarn.
Next Row (right side): P1 (2), k5, k3 tbl; drop working yarn and join waste yarn, k3 (4); slip stitches just worked in waste yarn back to left-hand needle; pick up working yarn and knit the 3 (4) slipped stitches just made; then, k2 (k1), p1 (p2). Cut scrap yarn.
Starting with Row 6, repeat Rows 6 and 7 until the length of the Palm matches the length of the Back of Hand
Cut yarn and place stitches on waste yarn.
Make a second Palm, this time placing the thumbhole on the other side.
Note: For this section you will use four double pointed needles to work in the round, as explained below.
Carefully remove the scrap yarn (size Large shown here).
Slip the 3 (4) stitches below the Thumb Hole onto a double pointed needle.
Slip the 2 (3) stitches above the Thumb Hole onto another double pointed needle.
Next Round: Joining yarn, knit lower 3 (4) stitches; spin the piece 90º counterclockwise and using another needle, pick up 2 stitches (in the places indicated by arrows, above), twisting them as you place them on your needle; spin the piece 90º again and knit upper 2 (3) stitches; spin again and using another needle, pick up 2 stitches, twisting them as you place them on your needle; place marker and join for working in round. [9 (11) stitches]
Distribute the stitches evenly over the three double pointed needles.
Size Large Only
Decrease Round: K4, k2tog, k3, k2tog. [9 stitches]
Knit evenly for 9 (8) rounds or 1/4 inch less than desired length.
Decrease Round: K3, k2tog, k2, ssk. [7 (7) stitches]
Cut yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches.
Make the second Thumb identical to the first.
With right sides facing up, place the Back of the Hand and the Palm pieces next to each other.
Locate the column of horizontal stitches that runs just inside each selvage. (We threaded a piece of pink yarn underneath these stitches to show them clearly here.) These are the stitches you will sew under when you seam the mitten together. Here’s how…
Starting at the cuff and working back and forth, use mattress stitch to seam up the first side. Carefully pull the stitches tight every 10 stitches or so.
Seam the tops together by sewing under the inside of the cast-on stitches.
Continue to seam down the other side of mitten, using mattress stitch, just as you did the first side.
Repeat for the other mitten.
Place the on-hold cuff stitches evenly onto three double pointed needles. Hold the mitten upside down, join yarn at either seam and bind off all stitches as follows: *K2tog tbl, place stitch back on left needle, repeat from * to end of round.
Cut yarn and pull it through the remaining stitch.
Repeat for the other mitten.
Weave in the ends of both mittens and block as desired.