I'm trying to recreate a certain style of historical mitts:

Click here for bigger image.

enter image description here

I have worked from the bottom edge (at the ellbow) up in the round and are now at the point where I need to form the pointy finish. Since I don't have any instruction or pattern to guide me, I'm at a loss.

The images I have all indicate that one half of the mitt (at the palm) is bound off in a straight line. Doing that would open up the round and leave me with the other half (back of the hand) on a single needle. But how do I knit the rest of the top to give it a seamless look?

Should I knit the additional rows to create the triangle at the back of the hand first and bind off all rows in one go? Or should I bind off half the stitches and continue decreasing the rows until I'm left with a final stitch at the top?

My mitts are knit in simple stockinette stitch and are supposed to have a simple knit bind off, so there won't be any fancy lace or any of those tiny loops you can see in the pictures.

  • 1
    Could you add a lifeline close to where you'd start to make any of these changes, so it's easy to rip back and re-do if needed? Save half the stitches on a stitch holder, work the other half. I'd wait and bind off the palm afterwards, just to see if stitching the triangle on top changes the fit / stretch of the mitt.
    – SueC
    Oct 9, 2019 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


The pointed shape you seek could be achieved in many ways, as with all things knitted. Three possible strategies that come to mind are short rows; knitting back and forth with symmetrical edge decreases; and a scalloped edging pattern with symmetrical increases and decreases to form the pointed shape. I am going to suggest the latter, in which the shaping of the point is achieved whilst continuing to knit in the round. This will allow for a continuous bind off, all the way around, which offers a prettier finish than would be possible if you bind off the palm side separately.

I mocked up this example pattern to confirm it would work; it is a modification of a scalloped edging stitch pattern. You will need to mock this up in your specific yarn, needles and gauge, to experiment with how many stitches and rows will provide the depth and width of pointiness you want. This can be modified by the frequency with which the increase/decrease sequence is performed: if performed on every other row, the steepness of the point’s angle will be shallower than if performed on every row. Also keep in mind that the drama of the point on the back of the mitt can be increased with thorough blocking.

The concepts of shaping knitted pieces can sometimes seem mysterious, but in this case can be explained as follows: to change what would have been a set of straight stockinette rows into a “mountain” or “uplifted” point shape (a scallop), the direction that the stitches lie must be changed from a vertical aspect, to stitches which symmetrically angle outward from a central imaginary line. To achieve this, mirrored increases must be placed on each side of the line. In order to keep the stitch count the same (which creates a tube of consistent diameter, which does not flare out toward the bind-off edge) there must be one decrease for every increase. There can be no decreases next to the middle line, or a valley would be formed instead of a mountain. enter image description here

Mirrored increases and decreases are used, which here in my sample are unfortunately not well-represented, as I inadvertently transposed k2tog and ssk on the first few rows; my apologies... enter image description here

What this mock-up does show nicely though is how uniform the bind-off is all the way around. You will want to begin the bind-off on the palm side so that that little transition where the bind-off is completed is not highly visible on the back of the hand...

enter image description here This little cuff is only about 12 rows, with the increase/decrease sequence performed on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th rows.

In case you are interested, here are links to some very good tutorials on how to perform the mirrored increases and decreases in the pattern: Tutorials on increases. Tutorials on decreases.

Here is the example pattern, to get you started. This can certainly be provided in written form, if reading charts is not your preferred format. I hope this helps! enter image description here

  • Wow, thanks a lot! This looks so much better than what I clutched together. I'll definetely undo the top of my mitts and try your technique instead.
    – Elmy
    Nov 7, 2019 at 12:52

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