SideWays Mittens - Machine Knit

Supplied courtesy of GoodiesLst at


Pattern, web page & all contents are Copyright 2008 by Linda Victorek/lvBOOKS. Pattern may be used for personal use.


So far, I've found only 2 machine knit mitten patterns on the web &, personally, don't care for them because of the amount of seaming required.  (OK... I can't resist... the seams are just too unseemly to me.) 

So anyway, I fidgeted around a bit & came up with a side-ways worked mitten which means ending up with live stitches that can be "seamed" with a 3-needle bind-off.  Yea! No sewing! 


This is the first machine knit pattern I've ever written so it is a really, really good idea to read through it before making it.  BTW, if you have any questions, don't ask. I've done my best & have moved on.



Warning:  I've only been playing about with my new-old knitting machine for a few months so I'm not sure about the proper lingo used in machine knit patterns.  Here's a list of abbreviations I've picked up & may have used in this pattern (which, by the way, assumes you know how to do short rows).

WP  -   Working Position

NWP  -  Non- working Position

SR  -  Short Rows

BOFF -  Bind Off

EOR - End of Row

SL-1  -  Slip one stitch


Machine:   Big Phil produced by Phildar in the 1990s.  This is an intarsia machine (you lay the yarn over the needs before working a row) and probably has 9mm needles.

Materials:  4-ply worsted weight yarn. The blue & pink FairIsle mitten was made with Caron Dazzelaire.

Approximate Gauge:  8.5 sts & 15 rows = 2"   (approximate because I didn't do the recommended nonsense of making a swatch & letting it take a break & washing it & steaming it & I forget what else you're supposed to do.)

Size: The blue & pink Fair Isle mitten is about 4.5" wide & 7.5" tall excluding the ribbed cuff.



Here's a schematic to give you an idea of how the work progresses. The mitten is worked in one piece starting at the side.  Short rows shape the finger tip & the thumb gusset.  The mitten can be worn on either hand without reversing shaping. Starting at the bottom of the illustration:

1.)  The red line is the cast-on edge.

2.)  The light pink blob is the mitten front (or back).

3.)  The dark pink blob is the thumb.  Note the green line -- it stands for an ewrap with waste yarn.  The dark blue line stands for stitches that have been put on a string or stitch holder.  The "V" area of the thumb is the gusset & is knitted in short rows using stitches from the first light pink blob (the mitten front/back).  

4.)  The last light pink blob is the mitten front (or back) & is connected to the thumb gusset.




Cast-on 37 stitches using either a black hem, cast-on comb & work a few rows of waste yarn  Attach good yarn & work two rows & end with the carriage on the right.

The finger tip area is shaped with short rows worked over 7 stitches in one stitch increments.  Shaping for the wrist is also done with short rows. 

Pull 7 needles at the left side out to NWP & work 2 rows.  *Move a needle back to work position & work 2 rows.*   Repeat *-* until all of the 7 needles are back in WP. Now, repeat the SR sequence in reverse.  Start by pulling the left-most needle to NWP & work 2 rows.  At the same time, whenever there are 4 NWP needles at the fingertip area, put 4 needles at the wrist into NWP & work 2 rows. End with the carriage on the left.


THE THUMB  (or... time for some real fun): 

Put 21 stitches on the left-hand side onto a stitch holder or string. Put the remaining 16 needles into NWP.  Use waste yarn to ewrap 10 needles to the left of  the 16 needles.  

With a separate ball of yarn & starting with carriage at left, work 2 rows.  *Put 3 needles back to WP & work 2 rows.*  Repeat *-* until 4 needles are in NWP.  Push those 4 needles to WP & work 2 rows. 

Reverse the shaping by working 2 rows with 4 needles in NWP. *Every two rows, pull 3 needles to NWP.*  Repeat *-* until the 16 right-most needles are in NWP & finish off by working 2 rows. 

At the same time, shape the thumb tip by working short rows over 3 sts at the left size for 2 rows after working 4 rows & when there are 4 rows left to do on the thumb.

 Put the stitches from the 10 left-most needles onto a holder or string.



Remember the 21 stitches you put on a holder/string?  Time to put them back onto the needles and have the 7 left-most needles in NWP.   Work one row.  Every other row, put 1 needle back to WP.  Work one more row and put the stitches onto a string or holder.



Put the wrist edge of the piece back on the bed, picking up about 31 stitches. Work about 2.5" worth of rows & then convert to ribbing & then, bind-off.  I'm not thrilled with the appearance of this.  Maybe it would have looked better if I had first taken the time to block the piece before applying the cuff.



Probably because of hand-knitting & being lazy, the fastest way for me to do the seaming is with a 3-needle BOFF on the 10 thumb stitches & the 37 side stitches. 

Alternatively, the seams can be grafted together. This produces the best seam but may be too time-consuming  for some.

Regardless of the approach you take you will have to do a bit of "creative sewing" to eliminate the gap between the mitten hand & the thumb. There will also be a tiny seam at the finger & thumb tip to sew.






Work the SR sequence of 7 to 0 NWPs four times.  It doesn't produce too much change in the final shape of the fingertip area & it will present a challenge if you want to add a Fair Isle pattern.  However, some may may find this easier to do.  



Of course, there's no real need to do ribbing.  Here are variations to consider:

 - The cuff could be finished off with a braid sewn to the edge - ala some Scandinavian & South American gloves/mittens. 

 - Start with additional stitches & convert them to garter. How many?  Up to you entirely. 

 - A slightly less time-consuming, non-roll stitch:

        Row 1: Slip 1, skip one stitch & convert every other stitch to knit (SL-1, K1, P1, K1, P1....)

        Row 2:  Work plain

        Row 3:  Slip 1, skip two stitches & covert every other stitch to knit  (SL-1, K2, P1, K1, P1...)

        Row 4:  Work plain

 - Crochet a few rounds.

 - Make a fold back cuff that is worked at the same time as the mitten.  Decide how many stitches you want for the length of the cuff.  Cast-on double that number plus 1.  Example: You want 10 sts for the cuff, so add an additional 21 stitches to whatever is stated above.

        Row 1:  Pull 11th needle at right side out to NWP.  Work 1 row.

        Row 2:  Pull the float off 11th needle & put it back to WP. Work 1 row.

Wide elastic could be inserted into the cuff, if desired.



Some don't like "cookie cutter look" mittens (meaning the thumb is right on the side) which is exactly what this pattern does.  To work around this just start the thumb a bit earlier. This is what I did & it turned out OK.

...Work the first SR group for the fingertip. After starting the 2nd SR group, work until 4 needles are in NWP.  At this point follow the directions for the thumb.  When the thumb is complete, & the 21 stitches have been replaced on the needle bed remember to start with 5 fingertip needles in NWP & complete the SR sequence.  Finish off the front of the mitten by putting 7 left-hand needles into NWP & SR down to zero in NWP.  Now, reverse the SR shaping.  You'll have to reverse this shaping for the second mitten.

In the sample, a different color was used to highlight the thumb & the short row shaping on the thumb gusset



If you've done any amount of Fair Isle or Intarsia knitting, you've read directions to do blah-blah to make sure there isn't a gap.  Maybe the first couple of times, this is useful.  Thereafter, you think "gee...thanks, mom."  Well, now is the time to make a gap!  The mitten palm will be worked with two balls of yarn.  Decide how far down the opening should be from the mitten tip.  Work with one ball of yarn to the opening point & then introduce the 2nd ball of yarn for the remaining stitches.  Don't wrap or twist the yarns & you'll have a wonderful gap.  Do a non-curl stitch on a few stitches before & after the opening or, when finished, pick-up stitches on the edges of the opening, work ribbing for a few rows & then sew the edges of the ribbing in place. 


PUDGY MITTEN (to be lined):

To make a larger mitten that is to be lined with fabric or roving woven through the purl-side the obvious first choice is to simply work at a larger gauge than given above.  However, if you've already swatched & achieved gauge, the mitten can be made wider by working 4 rows (instead of 2) between the first & second SR sequence &, again, between the third & fourth SR sequence.  Personally, I don't advise lining the thumb because the additional bulk will result in lack of mobility




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