Easy Knit Headband and Mitts

Updated on January 11, 2018

In a restaurant recently, I noticed a woman wearing a wide, dark red hair band knit in a reverse stockinette rib stitch. It was an “almost hat,” but more open than a “messy bun” hat. Her long hair cascaded from the top, caught up with jeweled hair clips. She had attached a couple of decorative pins to the band itself. All this created a kind of casual, retro-looking elegance, and I immediately thought, “I could make one like that.”

Finished set
Finished set

Back at home later, I set to work on the headband with worsted weight yarn and 16-inch circular needles. My finished product is not as wide as the inspiration piece I had seen, but it’s a versatile band, big enough to cover the ears nicely, and could easily be made wider, or “taller.”

Ribbed stitches are stretchy and reversible, and it occurred to me that this would make a nice gift set with a matching pair of mitts. I wanted the ribbed ridges to run lengthwise on the mitts, so I did these in flat knitting. This way they can be folded in half and seamed up along one side, leaving a neatly finished thumb opening, bounded by the cast-on and cast-off edges.

I made both mitts at the same time, on the same set of needles (see below), to ensure uniform size and streamline the process.

Reverse Stockinette Rib Stitch

In the Round
Knit Flat
*Purl 3 rounds
*Purl 1 row
Knit 3 rounds
Knit 1 row
Repeat from *
Purl 1 row
Repeat from *
Pattern Stitch

Materials Needed for Set

  • Washable worsted weight yarn. (Examples were made using 2 balls of Universal Classic Shades Solids, color Burgundy.)
  • 16-inch circular knitting needle, US size 8.
  • Straight knitting needles, US size 8.
  • Stitch marker.
  • Tapestry needle.
  • Scissors or snips.


18 stitches = 4 inches.

Pattern for Headband

With a 16-inch circular needle, cast on 80 stitches. Join in the round and place marker for beginning of round.

Knit 1 round.

*Purl 3 rounds.

Knit 3 rounds.

Repeat from * four times more.

Purl 3 more rounds (for a total of six purled ridges).

Knit 1 round.

Bind off somewhat loosely in knit.

Weave in ends.

To make the hair band wider; i.e., taller, continue knitting in pattern stitch, ending with 3 rounds of purl stitch before knitting the final round and binding off.

Pattern for Mitts

With straight needles, cast on 30 stitches.

Knit 1 row.

*Purl 1 row.

Knit 1 row.

Purl 1 row.

Repeat from * 14 times more (for a total of eight purled ridges).

Knit 1 row.

Bind off.

Fold each mitt in half lengthwise and mark a point about 1-1/2 inches from the top of the mitt. This point will be the top of the thumb opening. Mark a point 2-1/2 inches below this as the bottom of the thumb opening.

Using a tapestry needle threaded with yarn, sew up the top 1-1/2 inches. Leaving the 2-1/2 inch thumb opening, sew the remaining stitches at the bottom of the mitt to form the cuff.

These fit my medium-sized hands (about 7-1/4” in circumference), falling below the knuckles. You could easily adjust the position of the thumb opening when seaming them. To make the mitts longer, cast on more stitches. To make them wider, continue knitting the pattern stitch sequence to achieve the measurement needed, ending with a knit row before binding off.

Knitting the Headband

  • Using 16-inch circular needle, cast on 80 stitches and join in the round.

Stitches cast on for headband
Stitches cast on for headband
  • Knit 1 round.
  • Repeat pattern stitch in the round as described above, ending with purl stitch sequence.
  • Knit 1 round.
  • Bind off.

Finished headband
Finished headband

Knitting the Mitts

  • Cast on 30 stitches. If knitting two mitts at the same time, cast on 30 stitches for each mitt, using a separate ball of yarn for each.

Note: Pictured in this step is a pair of US size 8 "jumper" needles, which work the same way as straight needles but have a larger stitch capacity and greater flexibility.

Stitches cast on for two mitts on a single jumper needle
Stitches cast on for two mitts on a single jumper needle
  • Knit 1 row.
  • Complete pattern stitch repeats as described above for flat knitting.
  • Knit 1 row.
  • Bind off.

Knitting Two at Once

Using one set of straight needles to knit two objects exactly alike (sleeves, pockets, mitts, etc.), cast on the necessary stitches for each piece from a separate ball of yarn. Work across a row on the first piece, then proceed to work the same row on the second piece, from the second ball of yarn. Working the two pieces at once helps to maintain uniformity. Be sure to complete a row on both pieces (so they are both on the same needle) before setting the work aside, in order to avoid confusion.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Two mitt pieces ready to seam upFold the mitt in half lengthwise and mark the thumb opening
Two mitt pieces ready to seam up
Two mitt pieces ready to seam up
Fold the mitt in half lengthwise and mark the thumb opening
Fold the mitt in half lengthwise and mark the thumb opening
  • Fold each mitt in half lengthwise.
  • Mark thumb opening as described above.
  • Sew the mitt closed above and below thumb opening.

Finished mitt
Finished mitt

Embellish your headband and mitts as you wish, and enjoy! Your comments are welcome!

Headband and Mitts Poll

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© 2018 KT Dunn


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