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Ellerbe Mitts knitting pattern

Ellerbe Creek runs near where I live in Durham, North Carolina.

The mitts are knit from the top down (from fingers to wrist). Most of the knitting is plain stockinette, with a motif from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury: Cornflower stitch. The motif makes a vertical stripe down the back of the hand and also decorates the thumb gusset. It resembles embroidery, but is actually elongated stitches pulled over the surface of the knitting. To enhance the effect, I recommend solid colored yarn, variegated yarn, or deliberately creating stripes using multiple different yarns.

An advantage to knitting mitts in this direction is that you can make the cuffs as long as you like, which is useful for keeping your arms warmer and for using up the last bits of yarn.


  • Small: hand is 6.4 inches (19cm) around; cuff is 5.7 inches (14.5cm).
  • Medium: hand is 7.2 inches (18cm) around; cuff is 6.5 inches (16cm).
  • Large: hand is 8 inches (20cm) around; cuff is 7.2 inches (18cm).

For this project, I would recommend treating the first mitt as a swatch; if it doesn’t work out, it’s not all that much knitting to redo it.

Materials needed:

  • ~50 yards of DK (or light worsted weight yarn). I used handspun yarn to design the mitts.
  • Size 7 needles (double points or circulars, depending on your preferred method) or the correct size to achieve gauge; also a spare knitting needle of similar size (it doesn’t have to match).
  • Two cable needles or two pieces of scrap yarn. (optional)
  • A little bit of smooth waste yarn


  • You need to know how to cast on, bind off, knit, purl, yarn over, slip stitches, decrease, and knit in the round. The instructions are not written for any particular method of knitting in the round – you choose how to arrange the stitches for double pointed needles, Magic Loop, or two circulars. I provide both written instructions and a chart for the stitch pattern.
  • There is one unusual decrease used: Bunny Ears Back. I have included a PDF tutorial for this, as well as a tutorial for the optional special bind-off used in the sample. 

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  • A pdf with written instructions and charts for the special stitches (but not for the whole design), and two PDFs with technique tutorials.


Ellerbe Mitts knitting pattern

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