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Whit's Knits: Colorblock Hand Warmers

The sweet spot of knitting, for me, is when it starts to feel a lot like painting. When the form is fluid and mutable and when the palette is supple and free, then I feel that knitting really hits its creative stride. Creating these Colorblock Hand Warmers delivers just that kind of deeply satisfying experience.

The idea behind these simple mitts was to give free rein to the gorgeous colors of Madeline Tosh Merino Light, to allow the spectacularly hand dyed palette to speak its own story and to create its own beauty: from moonlight gray to buttery yellow to bronzed apricot to blazing tangerine.

Follow your own color whimsy or take a page from our book!  -Whitney


Here's another idea! Try the Colorblock Hand Warmers in Purl Soho's very own Line Weight merino. Incredibly soft and downy, Line Weight is our new go-to yarn for fall accessories, not too toasty or bulky, just perfectly cozy!

Pick up a Yarn for Line Weight Colorblock Hand Warmers kit right here, and use the same easy pattern as the original Tosh Merino Light version!

The Materials



  • 4 skeins of Madeline Tosh's Tosh Merino Light. These colors, from the left, are Napoli, Alabaster, Milk and Luster (Antler would be a very close alternative to the Luster). Just one skein would be enough to make a whole pair of hand warmers. Or use all four and switch the colors around to make four slightly different pairs! (UPDATE: The color Napoli has been discontinued. Cameo would be a great substitute!)


Our Yarn for Line Weight Colorblock Hand Warmers kit includes...

  • 4 skeins of Purl Soho's Line Weight, 100% merino wool. This is enough yarn to make at least four pairs of Colorblock Hand Warmers. Choose from three color combinations:

MORNING: Yellow Yellow (Color A), Desert Blue (B), Oyster Gray (C), and Heirloom White (D)

STREAM: Dragonfly Blue (Color A), Peacock Blue (B), Timeless Navy (C), and Toasted Charcoal (D)

SUGAR: Super Pink (Color A), Ballet Pink (B), Storm Gray (C), and Heirloom White (D)

You will also need...


The Pattern


8 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Sizes

Small/Medium: 6 1/2 inches in circumference and 12 inches long

Medium/Large: 7 1/2 inches in circumference and 12 inches long. (Instructions for the Medium/Large size are shown in parantheses after the Small/Medium size.)


With Color A (Luster) and the US #2 double pointed needles, cast on 52 (60) stitches.

Join for working in the round being careful to not twist your stitches.

Round 1: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 five more times.

Change to US #3 double pointed needles.

Knit until the piece measures 4 1/2 inches from the cast on edge.

With Color B (Milk), knit until the piece measures 8 inches from the cast on edge.

With Color C (Alabaster), knit 5 rounds.

The 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.

*Turn the work so the purl side is facing you and purl all 52 (60) stitches.

Now turn the work so the knit side is facing you and knit the 52 (60) stitches.

Repeat from * until the thumb hole measures 1 1/2 inches, ending with a knit row.

The Hand

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 last knit row with the outside facing you.

Knit 5 rounds.

With Color D (Napoli), knit for 1 inch.

Change to US #2 double pointed needles.

Next Round: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat the last round 3 more times.

Use a US #3 double pointed needle to bind off in the 1 x 1 rib pattern.

Finishing the Thumb Hole

With Color C and the US #2 double pointed needles, pick up 28 stitches around the thumb hole.

Round 1: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 one more time.

With a US #3 double pointed needle, bind off in the 1 x 1 rib pattern.

Weave in all the ends and then make another!

Reader Comments (49)

these are beautiful! I wish I could knit better
October 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey
These are simple, beautiful, and cozy, and they sort of look like candy corn (which is a good thing!) I have a pattern question though. You say:

"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.

*Turn the work so the purl side is facing you and knit all 52 (60) stitches."

If these are stockinette, shouldn't that read: "Turn the work so the purl side is facing you and PURL all 52 (60) stitches?"

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Hi Laura,

Totally! Thank you so much for pointing out that mistake. It's fixed now!

October 10, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love these and the yarn looks yummy. If I only want a single solid color how many skeins do I need for a pair?
October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrace
Is it just me, or does this selection of colors remind anyone else of candy corn? Also, love it!
October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah
Hi Grace-

You'll only need one skein to make a solid pair.

October 10, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hello whitney, i wish you'd give the yarn weight as in lace/fingering, etc, and also the needle size in metric on top of the american sizes, thank you for your lovely projects and for sharing ox
October 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZaz
I MUST do it! they are perfect for me. thank you very much for pattern :-)
October 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersusina
Would love to see you tube video for how to put this together.
October 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzvega
Just another little correction: I'm guessing that "Knit until the piece measures 4 1/2 stitches from cast on edge" should be "4 1/2 inches".
December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Hi Sara-

Thanks for pointing that out! It's been changed.

- Molly
December 5, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
could these be done with circular needles as well? Or are they generally too long?
January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElaine
Hi Elaine-

You could try them on an 8-inch circular needle. We have them available here:

Or you could give the magic loop method a try.

Thank you for your question!

- Molly
January 3, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm sorry if this is a dense question (I am new to double-pointed needles), but when you say to cast on 52 stitches, is that 52 total (~17 per needle), or 52 on each of 3 needles? Using 52 total seems too small? Thanks!
January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChantelle
Hi Chantelle-

It is 52 stitches total which will make them 6.5-inches around, which is smaller than the diameter of most hands. However, they will stretch to fit a small/ medium hand. You can also make the larger size if you're making it for a medium/ large hand.

Thank you for your question!

January 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
These look wonderful but I also would love a you tube video. If your new to knitting is this something that can be done as a beginner project?
January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSparkle
Love your site! I have a question about the gauge listed. Is it 8 st/in in stockinette using the #2 needles or using the #3 needles? I am a loose "picker" style knitter and I usually just bump down a couple sizes to obtain the right gauge, but I am juuuust barely squeaking out 8 stitches/inch on size 0 needles right now! So if it is 8 stitches on the #2s I think it will work...otherwise I have been eyeing up the Susan Bates sock needle set in your online store. Or I suppose I could cast on less stitches, but that is not as fun as new needles!
February 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid
These mitts are so simple but absolutely stunning! I love the colour choice. Gotta make me some of them!
February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKydel
I love your patterns, but I wish you could print them on a full
page rather than a skinny column. When I print them out it
takes several pages of paper which is a huge waste. Maybe
you could create a printout option that would be a full page

Thank you!
February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Marshall
I love these and hope to make them.
The colors look like they are bringing warmth down to the fingers - a romantic view. Candy corn as well.
February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
Hi Helen-

We totally understand your frustration and it's something we are committed to resolving in the future. In the meantime we recommend that you copy and paste the text or the pattern into a Text or Word document and print it that way. It's not ideal but it does cut down on the waste.

Thank you so much for your comment!

February 8, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Such lovely mittens. How to make simplicity look best! Thanks!
February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I, too, would like clarification for gauge??
8 sts/inch on the #2 or #3 needles??
March 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Hi Karen-

The gauge is given for the #3 needles.

Thank you for your question!

March 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Napoli AND Cameo seem to be discontinued... could you suggest another sub? Chamomile? Caravan?

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertheresa
Hi Theresa-

It's such a shame that those colors were discontinued! Right now we are low on all of the colors but are waiting for a shipment. If you drop us a line at customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com we can email you when it come in and let you know what colors would be the best match.

Thank you!

May 21, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am just starting these! I fell in love immediately!
I'm a huge walker and these colors remind me of a cloudy dawn. My favourite time of day!

Got some creamy, lovely bamboo yarn in colors that are almost identical. I'm soooo excited to have these! Thank you!!!
September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaroMac
I've decided to make these using my left over anzula squishy yarn in the color poppy and i want them to look like candy corn. Any suggestions for yarn/colors for the birighter orange? Sometimes the colors online look very different than the actual product. Thanks, Desirae
October 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdesirae
Hi Desirae-

Cantaloupe in Squishy would work well as would Koigu in color 1240:

Thanks for your question!

October 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
What a lovely pattern. I love the colours as well! Too bad I cannot buy them where I live (and it does seem awfully expensive to buy all four colours when using so little of the last two skeins).

I will be looking for some good alternative yarn and I will give them a try since I always have cold hands in the winter (but everyone in the house always seem to find it warm so this would be great)

Again thank you so much.

Warm regards,
Helen Jones
October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
Hi Helen-

Thank you for your kind words about this pattern! Just so you know, we ship all over the world and the yarn is available here:

Also, you can make up to 4 pairs of handwarmers with the 4 skeins, or you can make a solid colored pair with just one skein.


October 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
wondering if anyone else is having this problem...

everything goes great for these until i start knitting flat for the thumb hole. i somehow twist my stitches when i start with the purl stitches back and forth. i am able to knit through the back of the stitch on the RS, but it still looks a little different than when i knit in the round. i have no idea why this is happening and would appreciate any assistance in managing this so my stitches look consistent for the entire piece.
December 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJRS
Hi, I would love to make a pair of these but I have a question first:
In the sizing section you say that the small/med is 6 1/2 inches and med/large is 7 1/2 inches; where is that circumference measuring at? The wrist, around the fingers only or around fingers including thumb?
December 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I can't say for sure, but it sounds like you might twist either your knit or purl stitches. When you make a knit stitch you should insert the right needle through the front of the stitch in an away from you motion (i.e. from front to back). And when you purl, you should be bringing the right needle through the stitch from back to front in a toward you motion.

You may want to double check your technique with these helpful videos from Knitting Help: and .

If it turns out this isn't the problem, please let me know and we'll try to figure it out!

December 18, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Sarah,

The measurement is the same around the wrist as it is around the fingers, so both!

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions and thanks for this one!

December 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, I wonder if you know the total approximate yardage for these? I have some fingering weight scraps totaling a little over 100 yards. Would that suffice for the smaller size, do you think? I sure hope so, I really love the pattern. All your patterns are so lovely.
January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
Hi Betsy,

I don't know exactly how many yards I used, but I would guess around 250. I don't think 100 yards will get you there, but you could make a shorter version!

Thanks so much for question!
January 28, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am brand new at this... I have followed your pttern and had no problem until I reached the thumb part... I knit 52 stiches then turn work - knit 52 stiches.. repeat for 1 1/2".. how does this create the thumb hole?? or am I ahead of myself? ( am I working on 2 needles or should I be working with 3??
February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
Hi Suzanne,

You don't "knit 52 stitches then turn work - knit 52 stitches". You actually turn the work (so the inside of the hand warmer is facing you), PURL 52 stitches, then turn (so the outside of the hand warmer is facing you) and knit those same stitches.

I think it might help to review to the pattern Note which gives you an overview of how the Thumb Hole is formed: 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.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions and good luck!

February 22, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love, love your work! I was wondering if I could make these with straight needles?

Thanks you,
October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacey
Hey! Love these and made myself a pair, but I have a baby friend who would benefit from some adorable hand warmers. Is there any way this pattern could be altered to fit tiny baby hands?
October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNichole Wilson
Hi Stacey,

Sure! You could cast on 52 or 60 stitches, work the rib pattern for 6 rows, work stockinette stitch until the piece measures about 11 1/2 inches, and end with 6 rows of ribbing. Then sew up the seam for 8 1/2 inches, leave 1 1/2 inches open for the thumb hole, and sew the remaining 2 inches of seam. To make the ribbing around the thumb hole without busting out the double pointed needles, I guess you could pick up one side of the thumb hole stitches, work the ribbing and cast off; do the same on the other side and then sew the two little seams you're left with.

I hope this gets you on the road. Please let us know if you have any other questions and thanks for this one!

October 23, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Nichole,

Sounds adorable! To adjust the pattern you should first determine the circumference of the baby's hands (at the palm). Multiply that number by 8 (the gauge) and cast on that number (if it's an odd number, add 1 because you want an even number of stitches). Adjust the overall and thumb hole lengths to fit the baby in question. That's it!

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

October 30, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just started working on these handwarmers today, and it's my first time knitting a project in the round that's this small. So far it's working out great! I'm also using round knitting needles instead of the double ended ones. I always have trouble with them! So for anyone who has trouble with double ended kneedles as well, get the 9" long round ones and they work great! ^___^
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
so I'm trying to finish the thumb hold and I'm not sure how to pick up the stitches around the hole... can you provide some direction?

also this may be a silly question but how do I integrate the extra yarn into the thumb hole as I cut the yarn and switched colors after the hole, I'm afraid I should have left a long tale in color c but didn't. any advice would be greatly appreciated.
December 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermaria
Do you recommend blocking the hand warmers? If so, what method? Wet? Steam? Spray?
December 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVaporetti
Hi Maria,

Picking up stitches is a common knitting technique that creates live, usable stitches from a finished edge of knitting. We don't have a tutorial on the subject (yet!), but Knitty does. Check it out right here:

And, yes, whenever you cut the yarn in knitting, you want to leave at least a 6-8-inch tail so that you can weave it in later. Here's our tutorial on weaving in ends, if you'd like a little guidance:

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

December 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Vaporetti,

If you feel like your stitches could use a little smoothing out or things aren't looking as neat as you'd like, then yes, you should block your finished hand warmers. I would put them in a sink full of warm water with some very gentle soap; let them soak for 15 minutes; rinse and squeeze out the excess water (don't twist or wring); and lay them flat to dry. That's it!

Thanks for asking and good luck!

December 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for this nice pattern. I've just started on the mitts today and am using MadelineTosh Sock and Koigu. After a couple of swatches, I am knitting the larger size (CO 60) but on US-1 DPNs for the CO and then switching to US-2 DPNs for the body of the mitt for a slightly more-snug fit. I'm also incorporating an 11 round wave pattern to add an accent to where each color change takes place. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out!
December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

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