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Marywarmers: A knitting pattern for fingerless armwarmers or mitts

These armwarmers have a striking ribbed pattern that wraps around the forearms. The ribs radiate outwards from the inside forearms and come together again on the backs of the forearms. The thumb shaping grows cunningly out of the radiating ribs.

My dear friend Mary collects tattoos, including many bold and fabulous designs on her arms. Mary needed an equally bold and fabulous set of armwarmers to complement their dramatic body art.

There is a Ravelry pattern page for Marywarmers, where you can see many versions created by other knitters.

This pattern was originally published in the February 2009 issue of Australian Knitting magazine.

Specifications and requirements

Size: To fit an average adult’s forearms, wrists and hands. The armwarmers are 29 cm long and comfortably fit wrists up to 20 cm around.

Tension: 30 st over 10 cm, measured over stocking stitch. Exact tension is not essential, because the ribbing pattern is very stretchy.

Yarn: Originally knit with 2 balls (2 x 50g) Maizy by Crystal Palace Yarns; however, this yarn has been discontinued. Any fingering weight yarn with some elasticity should be fine. If you’d use it to knit socks, you can use it to knit Marywarmers. Ravelry lists some yarns that others have used.

Tools: To make these armwarmers, you need the following tools:

  • 2.5 mm knitting needles (set of 4 or 5 DPNs, two circulars, or one long circular, depending on your preferred method of knitting in the round), or size required to achieve correct tension
  • 1 stitch marker
  • stitch holders or waste yarn for holding the thumb stitches
  • large-eyed blunt sewing needle for finishing.

Skill level: This pattern is suitable for an advanced beginner, preferably with some experience working in the round.

Specific skills: To make these armwarmers, you need the following skills:

  • working in the round (with DPNs, two circulars, or magic loop)
  • picking up stitches (for thumb).

Abbreviations

  • cm: Centimetres
  • CO: Cast on
  • DPNs: Double-pointed needles
  • K: Knit
  • K2tog: Knit 2 stitches together
  • M1: Make 1 knitwise: pick up the loop between the stitches on the left and right needles, place the loop on the left needle, knit through the back of the loop
  • M1P: Make 1 purlwise: pick up the loop between the stitches on the left and right needles, place the loop on the left needle, purl through the back of the loop
  • P: Purl
  • P2tog: Purl 2 stitches together
  • PU: Pick up
  • S: Slip
  • SM: Slip marker
  • SSK: Slip slip knit: slip 1 knitwise, slip 1 purlwise, put left needle through front of both slipped stitches and knit off together
  • st: Stitches

Left armwarmer

Follow these steps to work the left armwarmer.

Plain cuff

Starting from the elbow end, knit a short section of straight 2×2 rib.

StepRoundAction
ACO 90 st.
Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.
B1*K1, P1, P2tog, K1. Repeat from * to end of round.
Result: 72 st remain.
C2-20*K1, P2, K1. Repeat from * to end of round.
On the final round (20), place a marker between 36th and 37th st.

Radiating rib pattern

Start the radiating rib pattern, increasing on the inside forearms and decreasing on the outside forearms.

StepRoundAction
D21K1, M1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, P1, K2tog, SM (slip marker), SSK, P1, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 1 st before end of round, M1, K1.
E22*K2, P2, repeat from * to 4 st before marker, K2, P1, K1, SM, K1, P1, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 2 st before end of round, K2.

From this point, on every even-numbered row, work st as they appear—knit the knits and purl the purls.
F23K1, M1, K1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, K2tog, SM, SSK, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 2 st before end of round, K1, M1, K1.
G25K1, M1P, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, K1, K2tog, SM, SSK, K1, **P2, K2, repeat from ** to 1 st before end of round, M1P, K1.

Note: M1P can be tricky to work if you are a tight knitter. It will look almost the same if you substitute an ordinary M1, but remember to purl the newly made stitch on the next round.
H27K1, M1P, P1, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, K2tog, SM, SSK, **P2, K2, repeat from ** to 2 st before end of round, P1, M1P, K1.
I28Work all st as they appear.
J29–84Repeat steps D to I 7 times.
On the final round (84), place a marker between 7th and 8th st.

Left thumb gusset

At the wrist, start adding extra increases for the thumb gusset.

StepRoundAction
K85K1, M1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, P2, M1, SM, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 5 st before marker, K2, P1, K2tog, SM, SSK, P1, ***K2, P2, repeat from *** to 1 st before end of round, M1, K1.
L87K1, M1, K1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, P2, K1, M1, SM, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 4 st before marker, K2, K2tog, SM, SSK, ***K2, P2, repeat from *** to 2 st before end of round, K1, M1, K1.
M89K1, M1P, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, K2, M1P, SM, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 3 st before marker, K1, K2tog, SM, SSK, K1, ***P2, K2, repeat from *** to 1 st before end of round, M1P, K1.
N91K1, M1P, P1, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, K2, P1, M1P, SM, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 2 st before marker, K2tog, SM, SSK, ***P2, K2, repeat from *** to 2 st before end of round, P1, M1P, K1.
O92Work all st as they appear.
P93–116Repeat steps K to O 3 times.
Remove markers on final round (116).
Result: 88 st.

Left thumb gap and join

Place the thumb stitches on a holder.

StepRoundAction
Q117Work 17 st in straight 2x2 rib pattern as for plain cuff, slip next 18 st onto waste yarn or stitch holder, CO 8 st, rejoin round and work to end of round in straight 2x2 rib.
R118Work 17 st in straight 2x2 rib, P8, work to end of round in straight 2x2 rib.
S119Work 17 st in straight 2x2 rib, [P2tog] 4 times, work to end of round in straight 2x2 rib.
T120Work 17 st in straight 2x2 rib, [P2tog] 2 times, work to end of round in straight 2x2 rib.
Result: 72 st remain.

Hand

Continue knitting straight 2×2 rib for the rest of the hand until the cast-off just above the knuckles.

StepRoundAction
U121+Continue in straight 2x2 rib for 3 cm or until you reach desired length.
VCast off very loosely in 2x2 rib.

Tip: Use a needle several sizes larger for a loose cast-off.

Left thumb

Pick up stitches for the thumb and work in straight 2×2 rib to finish.

StepRoundAction
WMove 18 thumb st from stitch holder or waste yarn onto working needle.
PU 6 st across gap and join to work in the round.
Result: 24 st total.
Arrange thumb st evenly across needles.
X1–10Work 10 rounds straight 2x2 rib as for plain cuff.
YCast off very loosely in 2x2 rib.
ZUse a large-eyed blunt sewing needle to weave in ends.

Right armwarmer

Work the right armwarmer the same way as the left, except for the thumb gussets.

Plain cuff and radiating rib pattern

StepRoundAction
A1–84Work as for left armwarmer to start of thumb gusset.
On final round (84), place a marker between 8th-last and 7th-last st.

Right thumb gusset

StepRoundAction
B85K1, M1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, P1, K2tog, SM, SSK, P1, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 2 st before marker, K2, SM, M1, ***P2, K2, repeat from *** to 3 st before end of round, P2, M1, K1.
C87K1, M1, K1, *P2, K2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, K2tog, SM, SSK, **K2, P2, repeat from ** to 2 st before marker, K2, SM, M1, K1, ***P2, K2, repeat from *** to 4 st before end of round, P2, K1, M1, K1.
D89K1, M1P, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 3 st before marker, K1, K2tog, SM, SSK, K1, **P2, K2, repeat from ** to marker, SM, M1P, ***K2, P2, repeat from *** to 3 st before end of round, K2, M1P, K1.
E91K1, M1P, P1, *K2, P2, repeat from * to 2 st before marker, K2tog, SSK, **P2, K2, repeat from ** to marker, SM, M1P, P1, ***K2, P2, repeat from *** to 4 st before end of round, K2, P1, M1P, K1.
F92Work all st as they appear.
G93–116Repeat steps B to F 3 times.
Remove markers on final round (116).
Result: 88 st.

Right thumb gap and join

Work this section in in straight 2×2 rib pattern as for plain cuff, except where otherwise indicated.

StepRoundAction
H117Work 36 st, SM, work 17 st, slip next 18 st onto waste yarn or stitch holder, CO 8 st, rejoin and work remaining st of round.
I118Work 36 st, SM, work 17 st, P8, work to end.
J119Work 36 st, SM, work 17 st, [P2tog] 4 times, work to end.
K120Work 36 st, SM, work 17 st, [P2tog] 2 times, work to end.
Result: 72 st remain.

Hand and right thumb

StepRoundAction
L121+Work as for left armwarmer to end.

Customisation ideas

To make longer armwarmers that go all the way up to the elbows, work a longer plain cuff before switching to the radiating pattern. The straight ribbing of the plain cuff is stretchier than the radiating ribbing and you will be able to pull it further up the arm.

For shorter wristwarmers that only just cover the wrist, start the thumb gusset shaping at the same time that you start the radiating rib. You may even be able to squeeze a pair of wristwarmers out of 50g ball of yarn.

To fit thicker or thinner forearms, increase or decrease the total number of cast-on st in increments of 9 st.

Terms of use

This pattern is free for personal use. If you really love it, you can tip me on Ko-fi.

If you want to sell items you’ve created using this pattern, contact me to discuss licensing.

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