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How to choose the right gloves and mittens for children

Updated on May 10, 2012

How to knit mittens


Gloves and mittens for children

When the weather becomes very cold you want your children to be wrapped up warm and their extremities well insulated. Trips to and from school and playtime mean extra bits and pieces for their heads, hands, faces, toes. Out come the hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, thick socks, leg warmers. If you are taking a skiing trip, you will be looking for good quality products to keep those little digits warm and keep away frostbite and chilblains.

The problem with trying to accessorise young children with extra outer-garments is that they are often impractical. Gloves or mittens are a particular problem. Firstly, they forget to take them or they always lose one. You can get round this by attaching a string, ribbon or elastic to the gloves or mittens and threading it through the sleeves of their coats, so they are always attached. These are known as “idiot mittens”. Be careful to make sure that on small children the string is not too long or the gloves will dangle on the floor. Some gloves and mittens have small clasps on them that can be clipped onto the sleeve or used to clip the gloves together when not in use.

There are advantages and disadvantages of wearing either gloves or mittens, or the more recent invention of the hybrid version, which is a type of fingerless glove that has a mitten cover that can be pulled over the fingertips. It can be difficult getting the gloves on your children’s hands as they are unable to tell which glove goes on which hand and they have trouble feeding their fingers into each finger compartment of the glove. This makes it frustrating when they need to take their gloves off and on to tie shoelaces, unzip zippers, etc. Mittens are easier for them to put on as they only need to be able to put the thumb in the right place and the rest is easy. They have the added advantage that the space between the fingers provides extra insulation and keeps the fingers warmer. The drawback of mittens is that they restrict the use of the hands so much as the fingers are not accessible. If you are going skiing, it is particularly frustrating if you need to keep removing gloves to fix ski goggles and son on.

You also need to consider the right material. Woollen gloves and mittens can be warm, but have the disadvantage of not being waterproof, so they quickly get soggy and cold in the rain and snow. Waterproof gloves and mittens can be too bulky and restrict dexterity. Look for a layer of thermal lining for extra warmth.

The other problem with children’s mittens and gloves is that it can be difficult finding the right size. If the glove or mitten is too slack it was easily slip off the hand. If it is too tight, it will be difficult to get on and off. If you are going skiing, you need to find a mitten or glove that is waterproof, well insulated and has a tight cuff, perhaps extended up the arm to stop the snow from getting inside the glove. Remember that the extended cuff will stop the snow getting in, but will also stop the young child’s hand getting in too and you might find it to frustrating trying to get the hand through the cuff and the thumb into the thumb-hole. Be careful to measure your children’s hands before ordering to make sure you get the right size. A Velcro strap on the glove or mitten will help, but then it is difficult to tighten the strap of the second mitten when you already have one mitten on (so no free hand to tighten the strap).

If children find it difficult to get the gloves on, they will be reluctant to wear them. You can find bright colourful mittens and gloves that will be fun to wear. Some even have characters sewn onto the fingers so they can be used for story-telling.

The other useful garment you can buy or make is a hat that has elongated ear flaps that can be used as a scarf and sew pockets in both ends to keep the hands warm. It’s not a garment that is suitable for extremely cold weather, but it does have the advantage of being only one item that they have to remember.

For free knitting patterns for gloves and mittens, try these websites:

All Free Knitting

Knitting Patterns Central

Craft Gossip

Free Vintage Knitting

How to Knit Gloves

How to Knit Fingerless Gloves

Where to put the thumb when knitting mittens


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