My Material Life

How to Knit a Lovely Pair of Hand Warmers (No Double Pointed or Circular Needles Required!)

The trick is to knit a square …


and then seam it along one side, leaving a hole for your thumb …


and repeat. Pretty neat, huh? Whatever you like to call them – hand warmers, wrist warmers, fingerless gloves, topless mittens – these are simple, good-looking and comfortable. Their Italian yarn, Cotton-Merino, from Spanish company Katia makes them extra special. I found the yarn at Uncommon Threads in Los Altos and took a liking to it immediately. There’s a cotton tube in the core of the yarn with bits of extra fine merino wool on the exterior. Though I appreciate wool I don’t always like the feel of it next to my skin. But this mix of materials is very nice and visually interesting too. In fact, a friend tried these on just the other day and said they felt like butter (and that she wouldn’t have been able to tell that from these photos) so there you go.


I initially planned to do something like you see in the photo above with these hand warmers. That’s a tube that was knit with acrylic yarn on a stick loom made with a plastic water bottle and some skinny craft sticks. I love how the knitting on the bottom resembled rib stitch, while the back and forth knitting for the thumb hole introduced a different band of pattern and the stripes on top another still. But the whole thing lost its charm when I tried to make it bigger and then switching to the Cotton-Merino didn’t help either because cotton tends to stay where you knit it and that’s not always what you want with loom knitting. Anyway I was so fond of the yarn that I just let it tell me what to do and what it wanted was for me to knit it flat and join it with a seam. So that’s what I did. And you can do it too.

You’ll Need:

Pair of size 8 US knitting needles

Pair of size 7 US knitting needles

1 ball of Katia’s Cotton-Merino in light grey (106) – main color

1 ball of Katia’s Cotton-Merino in blue (115) – contrast color

If you want to substitute a different yarn use a worsted weight or even an aran. I’ve seen this yarn referred to as both of these. Gauge is 5 stitches per inch for finished pieces measuring 7.5″ tall and 7″ wide. These were knit for medium size adult hands, i.e. mine.

To Make:

Cast on 36 stitches of your main color on your size 7 needles.

Rows 1 – 13: rib stitch (knit 1, purl 1 all the way across each row)

Rows 14 – 29: switch to your size 8 needles, stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row, repeat)

Rows 30 – 32: switch to contrast color, rib stitch

Bind off in rib stitch pattern. Use mattress stitch to seam one side of each hand warmer, leaving an opening 2″ down from the top and 3.25″ up from the bottom for the thumb.

Now give yourself a hand …


and enjoy wearing your beautiful creations. Or give them away. They’d make a very thoughtful gift.

Thanks to my friend Terry for being my hand model in the first photo and to Samantha for taking that last shot. 🙂



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