October 20, 2009

Fingerless Mitts parts 1+2: Recycled Sock Mitts!

Remember the Fingerless Mitts Times 3 project I had in Craft: 10 back in February? Well, now that it’s getting colder, I want to share the tutorials with all of you do stuff! readers! I’m dividing the 3 mitt types into 2 parts, because the first 2 go together – the 2 different recycled sock mitts, shown together below.  So I’m just going to cut and paste my original article/tutorial, which was edited and cut down a bit to fit in the magazine… here we go!


I always have cold hands, but being a crafter, photographer, all-around doer of stuff, I feel trapped when my fingers are covered, so fingerless mitts are the perfect solution! Way back in my early knitting years, when I feared patterns and loved fat yarn and quick knits, I developed my super easy, fingerless, shapeless, fat and squishy “ninja mitts,” as I’ve always called them. Then when I dove into recycled crafting I cut up some old socks and came up with a couple versions of sock mitts – which are warmer than you’d think, and super comfortable! All the mitt designs are great for finger mobility, can be pulled up over balled fists for extra warmth, or can be taken off the thumb and pushed back onto wrists for eating or added dexterity. Once you make yourself a pair or three, with all that mitt agility, you will indeed feel like a ninja!

no-sew sock mitts no-sew sock mitts

Version 1: No-Sew Sock Mitts


  • 1 Pair of socks that won’t unravel easily
  • Scissors
  • Optional sewing machine or embellishing materials

V1FigAstep1 V1FigCstep3

Step 1: First Cut.
Cut the first sock straight across the ankle, just above the heel (above, left).

Step 2: Cut the Thumbhole.
Try on the footless sock with the end that was the top at your thumb and check where you want the thumbhole to be. For mitts that will keep your hands warmer, put the thumbhole down further from the top; for mitts just meant for wrist-warming, the hole can be closer to the top. Make a small cut – smaller than you think it should be – then try on the mitt to see if you need to make it bigger (below). Make small snips until it fits comfortably.

Step 3: Repeat for second mitt.
Hold the first mitt up to the second sock and repeat the two cuts to match (above, right).  If the socks have noticeable seams, keep them on opposite sides of the thumbholes on the two mitts.


Step 4: Optional sewing or embellishment.
4a. This is the “no-sew” version, so this step is completely optional, but if you want to use a pair of socks that will unravel, you can sew a zig zag stitch around the bottoms and thumbholes of each mitt to prevent that from happening (below).  If you decide to sew around the mitts to prevent unraveling, it’ll create a cute ruffled edge.


4b. If you want to dress up your mitts, you can add some decorative buttons, stitching, or other embellishments – be creative! (below)


Version 2: Multi-Sock Mitts


  • 2 or more pairs of socks with similar thickness and stretchiness
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine with zig zag stitch

I’m showing you how to make a basic 2-sock pair of mitts, but you can use the same concepts to take pieces from several socks and make a crazier set. You can even use the leftover feet from version 1 and incorporate them into some multi-sock mitts!

multi-sock mitts multi-sock mitts

Step 1: Cut up socks.
Cut each of the socks into 2 or 3 loops, cutting straight across the ankle just above the heel, somewhere in the middle of the ankle, and if the foot is not too worn, cut just below the heel and above the toe. The loops do not need to be the same width, but each sock should be cut symmetrically to its mate. (below)  The heels and toes can be tossed in your scrap fabric stash, or the trash.  (side note: I made that “diagram” in like 3 seconds because I was under the impression that Craft’s illustrator would re-do it, but they printed mine!  I was a little bit horrified when I saw it printed, but now I laugh about it…)

V2FigAstep1 v2diagram

Step 2: Design your mitts.
Put the loops in order, switching between the two different patterns. Your mitts will look best if you use the tops of one pair for the tops of the mitts, and the tops of the other pair for the bottoms. (below, left)  If one pair of socks is a bit bigger or stretchier than the other, use that one for the bottoms of the mitts.

Step 3: Sew them up.
3a. Turn the loop second from the bottom inside out and put it over the bottom loop, with the top edges aligned (below, right).

V2FigBstep2 V2FigCstep3a

3b. Use a zig zag stitch to sew the loops together around the edge (below, left).  The stitching will make a ruffled edge, especially on thinner, stretchier types of socks.
3c. Repeat sewing each loop until the top one (below, right).  The fabric will stretch a bit when sewing, but try not to stretch it too much.

V2FigDstep3b V2FigEstep3c

Step 4: Create the thumbhole.
Sew the last loop on the same as the others, but leave a hole about 1-1.5 inches wide for the thumbhole. Be sure to lock the ends of this stitch well by sewing back and forth several times since there will be tension on this stitch at the thumb (below, right).  If you want to make your mitts extra neat, sew a zig zag stitch around the thumbhole edges.

V2step3c V2FigFstep4

There you go!  I wear these multi-sock mitts all the time!  They are warmer than you might think, perfect for autumn days or cool evenings – and easy to take off the thumbs and pull down around wrists as wristwarmers when you don’t want your hands covered.  Love them!  Coming later this week, part 3: Knit Gradient Mitts!

mitts times three

Filed under: general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 2:04 pm
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