Fingerless gloves – How to knit mittens with regular needles?

It’s getting cold in Tokyo and I thought it was time I knit myself a pair of gloves. Now, going about your daily business wearing gloves may not be the most comfortable thing to do, especially if you’re typing, using your cell phone, or knitting, for that matter. That’s when I thought why not knit some fingerless gloves and make them long enough to keep my wrists warm. I have a ganglion cyst on my right wrist which usually aches when it gets a bit cold and knitting doesn’t really help as I’ll end up straining my joint, yet as counterintuitive as it might seem, I decided to knit something for the very purpose of keeping my wrist nice and warm for future knitting projects 😉

The pattern is quite simple and it took me less than two hours from start to finish and that included sipping green tea every few minutes and running chores around my tiny studio flat. I even had a long Skype chat with my mom! You do not need any fancy equipment or set of skills to knit this. Regular needles and any type of yarn will do. You basically knit a rectangle and sew the edges. You can do that in garter stitch or any other stitch and it will be pretty enough.

In my design, however, I have started with fewer stitches at the wrist and increased some along the rows. I have also added three cables of six stitches each and the end result is just beautiful. I used a hundred percent wool yarn from Daiso which I do not recommend because it’s a bit itchy! Go for acrylic or a silky soft yarn. I used number 4.5 cm needles and my swatch size was 19 stitches and 23 row for a 10 cm square in stocking stitch. If you are using a thicker yarn or have tinier hands, you will need fewer stitches. You can start with 26 or 32. Also, if your yarn is quite stretchy and you have enough stitches at the beginning you may not need to increase any stitches as you knit.

The following pattern is a step-for-step guide for the absolute beginner and no coding knowledge is required! Don’t be intimidated by the length of the instructions. It’s basically a repetition of two rows: purl 4, knit 6/cable, repeat (right side), and all purl (wrong side). The cables are made of 8 rows and they are quite flexible if you want to make them shorter, longer, or asymmetrical. I started my middle cable two rows ahead of the other two. Each cable in this pattern has 6 stitches.


One skein of yarn (about 50 grams)
A pair of regular knitting needles
A cable needle or a short extra needle/crochet hook
A tapestry needle and a pair of scissors


Ribbing (Knit 2, Purl 2)
Garter Stitch: All purl in this pattern.

Working a 6-stitch Cable: Cross 3 Left; i.e. Slip 3 stitches purl-wise onto a cable needle, let cable needle hang in front of work as you knit the next 3 stitches; then knit stitches off the cable needle.

Instruction: Size S-M

Step 1) Cast on 34 stitches and rib (Purl 2, Knit 2) for about 4 cms.
Step 2) Increase a stitch at the beginning and end of the next round or add 1 stitch at the beginning of the next two rows) and purl all (wrong side) => 36 stitches in total.
Step 3) Beginning of cable pattern: Purl 5 and cable, Purl 4 and cable, Purl 4 and cable, Purl 5. (Right side)
Step 4) Inc. 2 more sts and Purl all => 38 sts.
Step 5) P6, K6, P4, K6, P4, K6, P6.
Step 6) Inc. 2 sts and Purl all => 40 sts.
Step 7) P7, K6, P4, K6, P4, K6, P7.
Step 8) Inc. 2 sts and purl all => 42 sts.
Step 9) P8, K6, P4, K6, P4, K6, P8.
Step 10) Inc. 2 sts. and purl all =>44
Step 11) P9, Repeat the cable pattern in step 3, P9.
Step 12) Purl all. No more increases.
Step 13) Repeat the pattern until you have at least three chains/twists in your cables.
Step 14) P4, Bind off 5 stitches, K6, p4, K6, p4, k6, P9. (This will be for your left hand; for the right hand, you need to bind off at the other end of your work: Purl 4, Knit 6, …., purl 4, BO5, purl 4)
Step 15) Purl 4, add 5 stitches, purl all other stitches.
Step 16) Rib for about two cms (Purl 2, Knit 2).
Step 17) Bind off and sew the edges and voilà you’ve got yourself a pair of fingerless gloves.

I hope you enjoy knitting this gorgeous pair of gloves. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.
Knit and smile 🙂

13 thoughts on “Fingerless gloves – How to knit mittens with regular needles?

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