Sunday, February 8, 2009

Universal Handwarmer Pattern!

Okay, so it’s been a long week. The economy is in the crapper, and life is hard. Something that always makes me feel better is the act of creating. Specifically knitting. This pattern can be used with ANY yarn/needle combo, and to make ANY size or length of handwarmer.

This is not a pattern for someone who has never knit anything before. I consider it a starting place for intermediate knitters to begin writing their own patterns.

Before you get started. Here is the least you need to know. I failed math. I don’t mean “ I was bad at paying attention, and math was hard for me”. NO, I failed math- literally. Twice. I went to art school mainly because I knew I wouldn’t have to take a math class. I can do this math, and so can you. Just don’t think about it too hard, follow the instructions, and it’ll all work out.

To start you will need:

The yarn you plan to use. Generally you can expect to use about 200 yards of yarn for an average pair of handwarmers. This changes depending on lots of things, so be prepared to use 100 yards more or less depending on your project.

A calculator. Math is your friend.

A set of Double Pointed Needles- the right ones for the yarn you are using to achieve the gauge you want (whatever that may be for you)

A notebook or place for taking notes and an implement of marking- or just print this blog post, and write on it. I like to keep my knitting notes in a book, you should do as you please.

4 yds Waste yarn- the same gauge as the yarn you are using.

A soft cloth/plastic tape measure.

A yarn needle

To start:
knit a 4” by 4” gauge swatch using the stitching pattern you are planning to use. YOU MUST KNIT A GAUGE SWATCH FOR THIS TO WORK. NO CHEATING!

Count your stitches and rows. Write them on the top of your notes.

Gauge: ______(stitches) ______(rows) equals 4x4

Okay. Now measure.


Around the palm of your hand (not including thumb) this is your width measurement.

(Width)_________ X (Width Multiplier)_______=_______ (Cast On) round to nearest whole even number

Now measure from the crook of your thumb to where you want the handwarmer to end on your arm. This is called length A

(Length A)__________ X (Length multiplier)______= _______ (Rows to Thumb Row) nearest whole number

Length B is from the crook of your thumb to where you want the handwarmer to end on your fingers.

(Length B)________X (Length multiplier)_______= ________ (Rows After Thumb Row) nearest whole number

Now wrap the tape measure around the base of your thumb and DIVIDE by 2 (half). This will give you the Thumb width

(Thumb Width) ________ X (Width multiplier)_______=_______ (Thumb Opening) nearest whole number

Now measure how tall you want the thumb sleeve from the base of your thumb.

(Thumb Length) _______X (Length multiplier)________=________ (thumb row) nearest whole number

Now lets do some math! I promise it’ll be okay.

Divide gauge Stitches______ by 4. Round to nearest .5 this is your multiplier for widths.

(Width Multiplier) _______

Divide gauge Rows ______by 4. Round to nearest .5 this is your multiplier for lengths.

(Length Multiplier)_______

Plug these numbers into the worksheet above, pull out your calculator and do the math.

Now if you want to get extra fancy and figure out exactly how much yarn you will need – frog (rip out) your gauge swatch and measure it in inches________ (Gauge Length).

Multiply Gauge (Stitches)______ X Gauge (Rows)_________=_________ (Total Gauge)

To get how much yarn per stitch you will need divide (Total Gauge) _______ by (Gauge Length)_________= _________(Stitch length)

Add (Rows to Thumb Row)_________+ (Rows after thumb row)______+ 1 = _______(Total Rows)

Multiply (Cast on) _______ X (Total Rows)_______ = (Stitches in body)_______

Multiply (Stitches in Body)_________X (Stitch Length)________= __________(Single Needs)

Multiply (Single Needs)_______ X 2 = _________ (Total Needs)

Divide (Total Needs) ________ by 36=_________ (Base Yardage)

Add 30 + (Base Yardage)________= _________GRAND YARDAGE

GRAND YARDAGE = this gives you about how much yarn you will need to knit your handwarmers with your gauge! You should round UP when buying yarn, so you do not run out. There is almost nothing as frustrating as needing 10 more yards of something once the dye lot is no longer available.

Okay, so now onto the fun part!

Start designing your handwarmers! Cuff and stockinette? Ribbed for your pleasure? The options are yours. Stripes? Whatever you want.

Wrist Cuff: you should decide what type of cuff you want based on how many stitches you are casting on, and personal preference. With a little math you can determine what type of ribbing you want, and how tall you want your cuff to be.

I generally use 1/3 of the total of (Length A) to get the number of rows for my cuff:
(Divide Rows to Thumb) ______ by 3= ______ (round to nearest whole number).

Type of ribbing can be determined by personal preference and number of stitches in cast on. For example: I like a 3x1 rib. In order to get a 3x1 rib I need my total stitches to be divisible by 4 (3knit+1purl) you get the picture. You can adjust your cast on stitches accordingly. If you like your knitwear a little tighter- subtract stitches from cast on. If you like your knitwear a little looser, add. I generally like to add, because my hands swell and shrink in the winter and I hate to have things too tight!

Finger Cuff: This is the cuff at the top of your handwarmer over your fingers. The ribbing here should also be divisible by the same number as your wrist cuff, but it doesn’t need to be the same. I like mine to be around 10 rows long. You should use your personal preference and design something pleasing to your eye.

If you want to do stripes, use your (total rows) and divide into stripes. I like to use three colors and a 4 stripe repeat, so it looks random, but there is a pattern. You should design something that makes you happy.

Okay so onto the knitting! After all that math, you are going to really enjoy knitting handwarmers you designed, that are perfect for the yarn you like! And won’t you feel smug when someone asks you for the pattern, and you can say “oh, I designed it myself”

Cast on _______sts. Divide evenly between 3 DPNs. Place marker. Begin knitting in the round. BE CAREFUL not to twist your work!

Knit in your rib pattern: Knit ____ Purl____. Repeat for rows 1-______(rows for cuff). Continue in pattern to end of (rows to thumb row) _______. Slip marker.

Pick up waste yarn and knit across (Thumb Opening)_____ turn work, and knit across those stitches again. Drop waste yarn, pick up main yarn and knit across those same stitches one more time.

Complete this round. This completes thumb row. Leave waste yarn in place and continue knitting in pattern for (rows after thumb row)______. Be sure to put on your finger cuff for ______ rows.

Bind off loosely.

Knit the bodies of both handwarmers before you knit your thumbs. It helps you to count and double check that your right and left are both the same length, and the thumb is in the same place on both.

For the thumbs!

With your work facing you carefully pull out the waste yarn and pickup the stitches. This should look a little like a buttonhole with knitting needles holding it open. Pick up an additional 2 stitches on either side of the “buttonhole” to complete the round. Distribute onto 3 DPNs place marker and begin knitting in the round for _______ (thumb rows). Knit the last 3 or 4 rows in ribbing to keep them from rolling down. Bind off loosely.


Weave in your ends, and block with steam over a clean rolled-up washcloth. Voila! You are now a knitwear designer!!!!!


Boutique Girl Gifts said...

You are totally awesome to post this! Handwarmers are one of the things on my "list" of things I want to learn how to knit. Woo hoo!

kimr said...

I have the yarn, I have the idea, now thanks to you, I have the pattern! Thanks!!!