Ribbed Hand Warmers

If you're a careful reader of the Purl Bee, you may have noticed by now what a big fan I am of hand warmers. I love how practical they are (no holding dirty mittens between your teeth while you fish around for keys); I love how fast they are to make (you just can't say that about too many knitted things!); I love how flattering they are on everybody's hands; and, for all these reasons, I love how perfectly suitable they are as gifts (I'm remembering recent recipients: friend Claudia has a pair, so do aunt Bretta, cousin Katie, and sister-in-law Jen.).

Ever since Joelle made the Log Cabin Baby Blanket for her new niece out of Anzula's Squishy, I have been really anxious to give it a try. Joelle is a tough customer when it comes to yarn, so her rave reviews of this one set my expectations high. I was not disappointed! This is a seriously pleasurable yarn to knit with, maybe because of the 10% cashmere, or the lofty spin, or the super high quality merino, or the generous 385 yards per skein, or because of all those things plus some magical ingredient. Add to its luxurious feel the beautifully hand dyed palette of sophisticatedly quirky colors, and I've got a new favorite yarn!

The Materials

  • 1 skein of Anzula's Squishy, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon. This color is "Plum". One skein is enough for at least 2 pairs of hand warmers.
  • A set of US #3 double pointed needles.

The Pattern


16 stitches = 1 inch in 3 x 2 rib, unstretched

7 stitches = 1 inch in 3 x 2 rib, comfortably stretched

Finished Size

11 inches long and stretch up to 9 inches around to fit most women's hands.


Cast 50 stitches onto double pointed needles.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches and placing a stitch marker if you want to.

Round 1: *K3, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until the piece measures 8 inches from the cast on edge.

Thumb Hole

NOTE: For the thumb hole, you will work back and forth in rows, turning the work between each row, as you would a flat piece of knitting. Work the stitches on the double pointed needles just as they are, moving from one needle to the next.

Row 1: [K3, p2] four times, k4, turn so the inside of the hand warmer is facing you. (You work only 24 stitches for Row 1.)

Row 2 (wrong side): K1, *p3, k2, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, p3, k1, turn so the outside of the hand warmer is facing you.  (Row 2 and all following rows work all 50 stitches.)

Row 3 (right side): K4, *p2, k3, repeat to last stitch, k1, turn.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until the thumb hole measures 1 1/2 inches, ending with Row 3. If you were using a stitch marker, you can remove it on the last row.


NOTE: For the hand section you will work in the round again with the outside of the hand warmer facing you. You will begin with a joining round that connects the two sides of the thumb hole. For the joining round, just continue to work from the end of Row 3 with the outside facing you. (See the picture below.)

Joining Round: Place a stitch marker, p1, *k3, p2, repeat from to last 4 stitches, k3, p1.

Next Round: P1, *k3, p2, repeat from to last 4 stitches, k3, p1.

Repeat the last round until the piece measures 2 inches from the top of the thumb hole.

Bind off in the 3 x 2 rib pattern.

Weave in the ends, make a second identical hand warmer, and you're ready to go!

Click here to add a comment

69 Responses to Ribbed Hand Warmers

  1. Carolynn says:

    Hey, the only yarn I have in this size is cotton. Do you think it is okay to use cotton yarn?

  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Carolynn,

    Sure! Cotton doesn't tend to hold its shape as well as merino, but I think these hand warmers will be just fine in cotton.

    Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have any more questions!


  3. dianapb says:

    Can I do this with circular needles instead of double points?

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Dianapb,

    Instead of double pointed needles you could use Skacel's Addi Turbo 8-inch circular needles, which you can find right here: .

    You will probably encounter some difficulty at the thumb hole with the 8-inch circulars, but if you have another circular needle that is the same size and any length, you can get away with the two circulars as if they were a pair of straight needles. This may sound awfully confusing in the abstract, but once you're actually doing it, it's a bit more obvious.

    Thanks for asking and good luck!


  5. Laura says:

    I'm curious about making these with Anzula Cloud yarn, but I can't really figure out the differences between the two yarns. I'm looking for a handwarmer that will lay flat (as in not "bunchy") and be somewhat inobtrusive :)

    Would you recommend making these with Cloud, and, if so, will I need to adjust the # of stitches?

    Thank you for yet another wonderful pattern :)

  6. Elizabeth G says:

    Hi – I like these – and may try to make them with left over fingering yarn. I have more DK weight yarn, though, and I wondered about using that weight and casting on 40, instead of 50, with size 6 needles. Does that sound like it would work?

    Thank you!

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Laura,

    Anzula's Cloud is thinner than their Squishy. If you're excited to use the Cloud, I'd recommend our Colorblock Hand Warmers, which in both versions uses a yarn similar in weight to the Cloud:

    And just to let you know, although thicker than the Cloud, the Squishy is quite a thin yarn, so these hand warmers are definitely not bulky or "obtrusive".

    Thanks for your question and please let us know if you have any more!


  8. Katie says:

    Do you think using Purl Soho Line Weight for this would be too thin? I'm trying to find a nice yarn that's a bit cheaper than the Anzula. Thanks!

  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Elizabeth G,

    It's tough for me to say, because everyone knits at a different gauge. If you want to be sure, you should knit up a gauge swatch. But, I do think you have a good guess!

    Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!


  10. purl bee says:

    HI Katie,

    Yes, I do think our Line Weight would be a little thin (although perfect for our Colorblock Hand Warmers: ).

    For a less expensive alternative for this pattern, check out Brooklyn Tweed's Loft: .

    Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have more questions!


  11. Nan McCormick says:

    Beautiful, simple, and *LOVE* the way the thumb openings are created! It looks so much cleaner than the traditional, "put x stitches on a holder and recast them on the next round," method. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  12. Michele says:

    Here is my question. The instructions with Squishy say 16 stitches per inch. But the Brooklyn yarn you suggest above says 6-8 per inch. This is only my second knitting project so I just want to make sure I am getting the right size yarn. How can these both work? Thanks!!!

  13. nanao says:

    Hi, I'm trying to adapt this pattern for a guy's pair and i'm using a yarn that has about 10 wpi. How many stiches should i cast on?

  14. purl bee says:

    Hi Michele-

    The 16 stithces per inch gauge listed in this pattern is done in the 3X2 ribbing pattern. The 6-8 stitches per inch gauge that you are referencing is in stockinette stitch.

    The gauge listed on the back of a yarn label is usually in stockinette stitch. But when do do a ribbed stitch you will usually get many more stitches per inch because ribbing cinches the fabric together.

    I hope this makes sense. If it doesn't you might want to try knitting a couple of swatches, one in stockinette stitch and one in the 3 X 2 ribbing to see the difference.

    Thank you for your question and please let us know if you need any more help!


  15. purl bee says:

    Hi Nanao,

    You'll first need to figure out your gauge in the 3 x 2 rib pattern. Once you know your gauge, you can multiply it by the circumference of the hand warmer you'd like to make and cast on the nearest number of stitches that is a multiple of five.

    I hope this helps get you started and please let us know if you have any other questions!


  16. Rachel says:

    Could I use anzula sebastion? Its gauge is 8 instead of 7.5.

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Yes! Sebastian and Squishy are very close in gauge, but I would recommend doing a gauge swatch with the Sebastian (or whatever yarn you use!) to make sure that the needle you’re using gets you to the correct gauge, as given in the pattern.

      Thanks so much for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • Rachel says:

        I have a question regarding the apparent color difference between Sebastion and Squshy:
        It seems to me that nearly all of the colors in Sebastion are a tad darker and cooler than the same color in Squishy. Do the yarns actually look different or is it a trick of the lighting due to the lustrus nature of Sabastion?

        • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

          Hi Rachel,

          You’re right! That’s because different fibers absorb dye differently. In this case, the sea cell, which is the Sebastian, is especially responding to the dye in its own way!

          Thanks for asking! Please let us know if you have any other questions, and/or if you’d ever like to talk to someone who has eyes on the actual yarn, please feel free to call our store at (212) 420-8796.


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