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).


  • 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.

[table id=1 /]

Radiating rib pattern

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

[table id=2 /]

Left thumb gusset

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

[table id=3 /]

Left thumb gap and join

Place the thumb stitches on a holder.

[table id=4 /]


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

[table id=5 /]

Left thumb

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

[table id=6 /]

Right armwarmer

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

Plain cuff and radiating rib pattern

[table id=7 /]

Right thumb gusset

[table id=8 /]

Right thumb gap and join

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

[table id=9 /]

Hand and right thumb

[table id=10 /]

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.

Tiny house priorities

What’s most important to me in a tiny house:

  • A bed that doesn’t require a ladder to reach, where I don’t have to perform acrobatics to change the sheets, and where I can comfortably sit up.
  • Japanese-style bathroom – handheld shower (with wall mount) takes up most of the space, the whole floor is the drain pan, no need for a soaking tub but I wouldn’t complain.
  • A toilet that doesn’t smell (I need to take a composting toilet for a test run because I find it hard to believe there are no odour problems).
  • Small kitchen (I don’t really like cooking — I just want the basics).
  • Some way to wash clothes without going to the laundromat (preferably a washing machine, but a scrubba washbag might do in a pinch).
  • Hardwood floors (I’m allergic to dust).
  • Practicality — easy to clean, maintain and operate.
  • A little space to sit outside, like a porch or fold-down deck.
  • Probably some kind of low-ceiling nook areas, e.g. a living area above the bedroom area or something like that.
  • A place to sit at a desk and use a computer.
  • A comfy place to sit and relax while knitting, reading, watching TV, whatever.
  • Aesthetically pleasing in a way that suits my personality — quirky, bold, a bit weird, not too safe, not too fussy.
  • Okay not safe in terms of aesthetic, but definitely safe in terms of feeling sturdy, secure, non-slip, hand-holds all over the place and no awkward corners to bang one’s head upon. (This becomes more important the older I get and the more wobbly I get.)
  • Built-in storage and features everywhere.
  • Hanging space for clothes (I prefer hangers to folded clothes in drawers).
  • Super-insulated walls and double-glazed windows to minimize heating and cooling costs.
  • Good air circulation — I especially like fans.
  • I’d love to have a wood-burning rocket stove, even if it’s not strictly necessary from a practical standpoint.
  • Storage for craft supplies, travel gear, tools, a few books and papers.
  • A dog door.
  • Space for two small dog crates and some doggy supplies.
  • Some rainwater collection and storage (not necessarily full off-grid).
  • Some electricity generation and storage (ditto).
  • A way to deal with grey water (and possibly black water if I decide the composting toilet is a no-go).
  • A secure place for bike storage (even if it’s just something I can lock the bike onto).
  • Everything I own has a designated place that makes sense in terms of the item’s purpose and typical use.
  • There’s not a lot of space allocated for things I might use someday, or I’m keeping as back-ups, or whatever.
  • General design principle — think of everything I need and want for my home, and plan how I’m going to use it and store it within the home. Form follows function.
  • If the function is not that important, can I find a way to outsource or do without? e.g. I like baths, but I might only have a bath once a week. If I live near friends and family members who have baths, can I arrange to bring them a cooked meal and spend time with them and also use their bath?
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