7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fingerless Gloves

Lady and the Veil by Alexander Roslin 1768
Fingerless gloves have become a fad with the invention of the smartphone, right? Not quite. Not even close. tweet this

Fingerless gloves - often called mitts - were popular in Colonial America. Generally made of kid leather or silk, lace was sometimes used in the hotter climates or seasons. The gloves would cover the hand and wrist, perhaps even the forearm.

While certainly a fashion statement among the upper classes, who adorned them with embroidery and pearls, these mitts were also functional. Colonial houses were notoriously drafty and difficult to heat. Mitts allowed for warmth while keeping the fingers free to move. Some were true gloves with the finger tips missing, while other were more like today's mittens but stopped short of the fingers.

Late 18th Century Matron
Men wore fingerless gloves for hunting and for doing work that involved using their fingers for precision, such as bookkeeping or typesetting.

Women wore them for sewing and other needlework, for tending to the children, and for cooking. Upper-class ladies would wear the more mitten form, thus allowing their rings to show.

Gloves have been in fashion - even at least one type of fingerless glove - since ancient Rome. They have vacillated between function and fashion and still do. Our Colonial ancestors valued them for both reasons.

Next time you see someone tapping on their smartphone while wearing a pair of fingerless gloves, smile and remember that their ancestors had it right first.


Debut story will release in April 2017 from Barbour - Colonial story coming in January 2018


  1. They never made sense from a warmth factor. My fingers get too cold. My office mate and I have tried them at work. �� But I love the historical look of them!

    1. But the lady could still do her needlework while wearing them!

  2. My youngest daughter, 25, loves the fingerless gloves and her older sister thinks she's immature for wearing them. I need to copy her in on this lesson to teach her a lesson. I think they are cute and used to wear a pair myself at work to use the computer. Very interesting lesson.

    1. I knitted MANY pairs for co-workers in the office. By keeping your wrists/palms warm, you keep the blood supply to your fingers warmer too. Easier to type.

  3. I remember seeing them in period movies. My husband has a pair for hunting. It makes sense concerning keeping your hands warm while keeping the fingers free for doing tasks.

    1. Many of the hunting fingers gloves have a mitten-like flap that covers the fingers while not in use on the gun. Clever.

  4. My daughter has crocheted me a couple pairs of fingerless gloves. I love them.


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