Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. ❤️

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site! home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔

Knitting Traditional Maine Mittens

ez-mitten-compilation copy.jpg
Shortly after I learned to knit, a friend suggested I find the 1983 book Fox & Geese & Fences: A Collection of Traditional Maine Mittens, by Robin Hansen, and make her a pair. I did, it was a wonderful experience, and I have been knitting mittens from the book ever since (some pictured above). They are exceptionally warm and durable. A bonus is that the patterns are written with a kind of common sense that for me at least made a few steps feel like fun puzzles. (What does she mean by “K both colors, gray then red, into the st that should have been gray”?? … ohhHHhhh!!!)

I found the book used on Amazon, but other books of Hansen’s are available on her website. My favorite pattern to make is “Sawtooth” (various above and below), but the best are maybe the “Safe Home” ones (center left), found elsewhere online. [thx Cecilia!] Oh also: Pair with Maine’s Bartlett Yarns – perfection.

Okay one more shot, these are my everyday mittens, I think I’ve been wearing these for the past five winters (Sawtooth pattern). Glorious!

Discussion  8 comments

Lisa S.

Those mittens look wonderful...will be going in search of this book now. :)

Edith ZimmermanMOD

So glad! Hope you enjoy. :)

Reply in this thread

Steven Champeon

My paternal grandmother, Veronica, was photographed during a mitten-knitting contest in Greenville, Maine, by Berenice Abbott sometime before 1968. I knew about the pictures, because we had a copy of the book A Portrait of Maine, but I wasn't really aware of how famous Abbott was until I was a teen. Imagine my surprise when during a visit to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, and saw a print of my grandmother knitting mittens on the way to the gift shop. I've put copies of the two photos up for reference. Veronica is on the left in the first photo and second from the far end in the second. Yay, Maine mittens!

Edith ZimmermanMOD

This is so wonderful. Thank you for posting.

That second picture (and the sweaters!!!) -- it's just perfect. So joyful.

Do there need to be more mitten-knitting contests in this world? Maybe I just need to go in search of them....

Putting the Farnsworth Museum on my list!

Reply in this thread

Caroline G.

Does she include instructions for making trigger mittens? I spent time in Newfoundland as a teenager and was amazed and charmed that such a thing existed.

Caroline G.

(Not because guns are charming, but because a mitten with a glove pointer finger looks really funny)

Reply in this thread

Mary Wallace

Beautiful knitting! I read the comic about agreeing to guest host and wondered what you were knitting. Your drawing evoked the posture.
I found a pair of mittens I knit many years ago that I thought were completely motheaten, but have only one small hole in the palm. I also recently found the leftover yarn from the project, so I can repair them. (I'd repair them with contrasting yarn anyway if I didn't have the leftovers.) I guess if they were completely motheaten, I would have tossed them. Memory is a funny thing.
What I've found about knitting is that if you don't understand a direction, sometimes you just need to dive in head first and it'll be obvious what to do when you get to that part. And, yes, I've tried to adopt that philosophy in other aspects of my life.

Kenneth Sutton

I love knitting mittens. So much more satisfying for me than socks!

Hello! In order to leave a comment, you need to be a current member. If you'd like to sign up for a membership to support the site and join the conversation, you can explore your options here.

Existing members can sign in here. If you're a former member, you can renew your membership.

Note: If you are a member and tried to log in, it didn't work, and now you're stuck in a neverending login loop of death, try disabling any ad blockers or extensions that you have installed on your browser...sometimes they can interfere with the Memberful links. Still having trouble? Email me!