I’ve been making a lot of hand-warmers now that we’re getting into the winter months, and I’ve also been using this as a base to teach beginners how to make something quickly, so here’s my pattern/recipe for making hand-warmers very easily and using almost any yarn you have to hand!

Gauge isn’t really relevant here because we’re working on the measurements of your own hand, so don’t worry about that. Just pick any kind of yarn you’ve got at least a skein of; use up your scraps if you like. This is very freeform and works with almost any stitch.

First of all: make a slipknot, and start making a chain. This can be a foundation chain, or a basic chain, or the foundation-less stitch of your choice!

Continue making the chain until you’ve got about six inches on it. Then hold up the hook in your fist (or in the fist of the person you’re making the hand-warmers for!) right in the crease at the base of your fingers.

Pull the chain down your forearm. It needs to reach about a third of the way down, just past the wrist. It shouldn’t be too long because we’re not doing any complex shaping here. Add or remove stitches until you’ve got it to a comfortable length.

At this point, record the number of stitches in your chain so you know how many to use for the second hand-warmer!

Now you’re going to start working flat, adding rows in any stitch you like. You can use doubles, singles, alternating rows, anything you like as long as it works up into a square. Feel free to experiment, mix yarns, whatever your heart desires! It works best on yarns and stitches that have a little stretch and a lot of softness, because this is going to be on your hands of course.

Continue working until you have a square-ish piece that, when doubled over, is the width of your hand, including your thumb, like so:

Here’s one I made earlier!

Once you’re happy with the size, record the number of rows you did!

Now, you’re going to seam up the edge and make the thumb hole. Put the edges together and start doing a slipstitch join. Normally this would be done with some other piece of yarn, but you’re going to do it with the yarn you’ve been working with that’s already coming out of the piece.

You’re also going to do it on the outside, not the inside, so you’ll have an interesting ridge along the side of the hand-warmer. If this really annoys you, then you can turn it inside out!

You’ll be working from the bottom of the hand-warmer up to the top.

At this point, you’ll need to keep trying on the hand-warmer to figure out where to stop and begin making the hole for the thumb. The easiest way to do this is to use a safety pin, stitch holder, anything really, to hold it closed above the crease of the thumb. You’ll need about half an inch to an inch there.

Count the number of stitches above the thumb and record it for the second hand-warmer!

On my hands and some basic DK yarn, I need 6 stitches above the crease to make the join.

Continue the slipstitch join until you reach the base of your thumb joint.

Record the number of stitches you did for this part of the join!

At this point, stop joining the edges and simply slipstitch along one edge, either the top or bottom. (When you do the second hand-warmer, choose the edge you didn’t choose when you did the first one. This is just for symmetry; we want the ridge to go along the top of the thumb whether it’s on the left or right. But it’s just for some extra flair, it’ll work regardless.)

Once you only have the stitches left that you need to close the top of the hand-warmer, switch back to the slipstitch join and continue to the end.

You now have a functional hand-warmer!

Now, if you find that there isn’t enough coverage at the base of your fingers, you can add a row or two of another stitch around the top. I usually do a row of double crochet to make it neat. (You can also include some decreases here if you need to pull in the top a little, depending on how stretchy/floppy the stitch on the body is.)

Bind off, weave in the ends, and you’re done!

Now use the stitch counts you’ve recorded to make another one.

This recipe is good for many different kinds of yarn and stitches, and I’ve used it for sock weight up to about aran with no issues. It’s just personal preference. Now go forth, and make all the cute hand-warmers!