How to make Handwarmers

How to make handwarmers that are quick, fun and easy.
How to make handwarmers that are quick, fun and easy.

I’ve been making variations of this handwarmer pattern for more than six years according to Facebook’s timehop! I knit them up in multiple color schemes for myself probably once a year and wear them every day from October through March because in my old age I get coooooooold like a popsicle.

I also give them as gifts each Christmas because when I don’t people ask about them. And because they’re fun and quick to put together! I can sit down to an hour long TV program and get one glove done. Even if I am distracted  I can put together a pair in an afternoon, no problem.

It’s that time of year…

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

These really are one of the items I make that get the most use. My daughters don’t like to wear gloves at all, they like their fingertips free to text and tap, but these leave your fingers free while keeping your hands toasty. They love when I make them handwarmers in their favorite colors (rainbow or black usually.) They tend to claim any handwarmers they see me currently working on, they’d own a dozen pairs apiece if they could.

I made some hand warmers and Liana claimed them. I asked her to model them….

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

How to Make Handwarmers

I usually use Caron Simply Soft acrylic yarns for this project when knitting for women or children, and often choose a heavier wool yarn for the guys in my family (and then adjust the pattern as necessary), as that is what they seem to prefer.

When using Caron Simply Soft yarns I use size 5 needles to knit the pieces, and a size 10 needle to bind off on the rectangle shape.

Be sure to check your yarn for gauge recommendations and make adjustments as necessary.

To make handwarmers you just need to knit two shapes, a rectangle and a triangle.
To make handwarmers you just need to knit two shapes, a rectangle and a triangle. You will hand sew the pieces together using the long tails.

One of my favorite things about this project is how easy it is to change the pattern up. You can get creative with the pattern as long as you end up with rectangle and triangle shapes that are properly sized.

The first thing I do, if I can, is measure for the person wearing the handwarmers so that I can custom fit the glove to their hands. I can usually get away without measuring for width, but I like to measure from mid-finger to the base of the hand so that I know when I can begin knitting the wrist detail. If I can’t measure for length, I usually just make the Large Handwarmers pattern below for adults, and Small Handwarmers pattern for kids.

Handwarmers Patterns:
(This pattern is for the fingerless gloves pictured just above, feel free to experiment with the pattern and design your own gloves!)

Large Handwarmers – Hand Piece 
Cast on 34 stitches to size 5 needles using Caron Simply Soft yarn in your choice of colorway. Your finished rectangle should measure about 6 1/2″ wide.
R1-3 K
R4 P
(Continue in garter stitch for 33 rows or 4″ (or your measured length from wrist to mid-finger)

Begin wrist detail:
R38 (RS) P
R39 K
R40 p3, k4, p2, k4, ps, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p3
R41 k3, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k3
R42 p3, k4, p2, k4, ps, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p3
R43 k3, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k3
R44 p3, C4F, p2, C4F, p2, C4F, p2, C4F, p2,C4F, p3
R45 k3, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k3
R46 p3, k4, p2, k4, ps, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p3
R47 k3, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k2, p4, k3
R48 p3, k4, p2, k4, ps, k4, p2, k4, p2, k4, p3
R49 p
R50 k
R51 k
R52 p
R53 k
R54 k
R55 p
R56 k
R57 bind off loosely using a larger needle (sz 10)
*Be sure to leave a long tail for you to use to hand sew the glove together

Handwarmers – Thumb
Cast on 15 stitches using size 5 needles
R1-R3 K
R4 P
R5 K2tog, k11, k2tog
R6 p
R7 K2tog, k9, k2tog
R8 p
R9 k
R10 p
R11 k2tog, k7, k2tog
R12 p
R13 k2tog, k5, k2tog
R14 p
R15 k2tog, k3, k2tog
R16 p
R17 k2tog, k1, k2tog
R18 p
R19 k2tog, k1
R20 p2tog
*Be sure to leave a long tail for you to use to hand sew the glove together

Small Handwarmers – Hand Piece 
Cast on 32 stitches to size 5 needles using Caron Simply Soft yarn in your choice of colorway. Your rectangle should measure about 6″ wide.
R1-3 K
R4 P
(Continue in garter stitch for 25 rows or 3″ (or your measured length from wrist to mid-finger)

Begin wrist detail:
R30 (RS) P
R31 K
R32  p2, k4 to end
R33 k2, p4 to end
R34 p2, k4 to end
R35 k2, p4 to end
R36 p2, c4f to end
R37 k2, p4 to end
R38 p2, k4 to end
R39 k2, p4 to end
R40 p2, k4 to end
R41 p
R42 k
R43 k
R44 p
R45 k
R46 k
R47 p
R48 k
R39 Bind off loosely using a larger needle (sz 10)
*Be sure to leave a long tail for you to use to hand sew the glove together

Handwarmers – Thumb
Cast on 15 stitches using size 5 needles
R1-R3 K
R4 P
R5 K2tog, k11, k2tog
R6 p
R7 K2tog, k9, k2tog
R8 p
R9 k
R10 p
R11 k2tog, k7, k2tog
R12 p
R13 k2tog, k5, k2tog
R14 p
R15 k2tog, k3, k2tog
R16 p
R17 k2tog, k1, k2tog
R18 p
R19 k2tog, k1
R20 p2tog
*Be sure to leave a long tail for you to use to hand sew the glove together

Once you have your finished hand and thumb pieces ready, use an embroidery needle to sew the glove together utilizing the long tails of yarn you left. I begin by sewing the thumb piece together right side facing from the top (cast-on row) to the beginning of the decrease rows. Set the thumb aside. I then fold the hand piece in half so that the right side is inside, and beginning at the bottom of the glove I use the tail to sew up from the bottom, stopping one stitch beyond the beginning of the wrist detail. I then turn the hand piece around, and sew from the top of the glove down, about 1″. Now I place the thumb piece into the thumb hole, making sure right sides are facing, and sew the glove edges and thumb edges together. I then use what is left of the tails to reinforce seams, and weave in my ends when I’m done. Try it, it’s easier than it sounds, and you get the hang of it after making a pair or two.

Handwarmers are cute, convenient and cozy. They are also easy to make!
Handwarmers are cute, convenient and cozy. They are also easy to make!

I hope you can understand my pattern, it is actually the first time I’ve ever written one of my own down with the intention of someone else utilizing it. Please do let me know if I can make improvements!

I know there’s one way I can make big improvements to my new baby blog and that is to actually take the time to do a proper photo shoot for my posts. So far I haven’t gotten around to digging out and warming up my old camera equipment. So, for now, you get my muddy iPhone photos and no pretty staging. But wait- doing things this way is convenient, and I almost always end up with a furry photobomber in the mix. Everyone loves cats, right?

Usually it’s Poofy getting in my business, but today it was Spirit, my daughter Lillie’s cat:

Photobombed by Spirit, my daughter's cat.
Spirit came to see what I was up to.

Today’s Projects: T-shirts and umbrellas for the Women’s March in Sacramento this weekend.

Today’s Soundtrack: Classic Rock playlist

It’s Like Sunlight In My Mouth

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day to all, and to meeeee, for it was a three-day weekend! I love those. Especially in this dreadful weather. We drive a lot on a dangerous stretch of freeway and the cold affects my health negatively so I’d just rather skip winter each year. GTFO Winter. Yo.

But yeah- I had an extra day to fiddle around with this weekend so I decided to candy some lemon and make lemon simple syrup in between posting MLK memes on Facebook.

Martin Luther King Jr Quote
Martin Luther King Jr Quote

He was so great, we need someone like him so much right now. Don’t you think?


I have to say, the result was really spectacular. After candying the first batch of lemon I immediately had to make another batch. They were so wonderfully flavorful and pretty that I couldn’t resist. And then there’s that sparkly delicious syrup…. I could die happy right after ingesting it all.

There are really some fun ways to use candied fruit and simple syrups. My husband puts the simple syrup in his tea and in mixed cocktails. I used some of the lemon simple syrup for my lemon bread recipe, and my daughter used it in her fruit and yogurt smoothie. I used the candied lemons to garnish lemon bread.

Poofy is creeping up on my lemon bread.

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

Pretty much the moment I was done with the lemon candies and simple syrup I started working with blood oranges. I’m so stoked that we put that tree in.. these are glorious fruit. They are small but visually striking and fantastic tasting.

I plan on making blood orange upside down cake later this week and will garnish it with candied orange slices. My kids especially like the candied blood orange slices. They taste like fruit gummies, but lighter and brighter, if that makes sense. I just can’t get over how these taste like the sun! On these dreary  gray days there’s nothing better than a little bit of sun in my mouth. 😉

Oh, and I learned a few interesting things about blood oranges yesterday. I was treating mom to some candied blood orange when she asked how they got the red coloring. I had no idea so I asked Siri and she hooked me up:  All About Blood Oranges

According to Wikipedia’s Blood Orange page, “The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night.”

Pretty cool! So, if warm days/cool nights helps blood oranges turn a deeper and more thorough red- I’m wondering if I kept them in the garage at night and brought them in during the day for a few days, could I deepen their color myself? My daughter Lillie, The Brilliant One, actually suggested this. She’s cool. I’m going to try it. Mine are about half as bloody as they could be, mostly. I’ll let you know how it works.

Project Details:

Candied Lemon Slices (& Simple Syrup)
I used this super easy recipe: Candied Lemon Slices
Tips & Modifications: I cut up two lemons (slice it very thin!) and used two medium saucepans at once to increase my yield. I used tongs to turn over the lemon slices every five minutes while simmering. After removing your candied lemon slices to parchment or wax paper, just pour the liquid leftover from the candied lemons directly in a jar and there’s your simple syrup!

Candied Blood Orange Slices (& Simple Syrup)
All you have to do is the exact same thing as you did with the lemon slices above. Easy. Fast. It’s worth buying a few blood oranges from the store if you don’t have access to the tree at home to make these.

Lemon Bread
I used this recipe from Taste of Home: Lemon Bread Recipe
Tips & Modifications: I thickened the very thin glaze recipe by doubling the powdered sugar, but I still wish I would have made an even thicker glaze. I wanted the glaze to cure white because I wanted to cover up or distract from my ugly poke holes. See, once I transferred this bread to a plate to cool I poked holes in it with a toothpick and then drizzled it in lemon simple syrup before applying the glaze. Oh well, like I always say, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like when it’s in your belly.” It was brilliant tasting. Highly recommend.

Today’s Projects: I think I’m going to try one of the Starbuck’s copycat lemon loaf recipes I see floating around on Pinterest. We can’t get enough of the lemon stuff around here right now. And the kids want to have a side-by-side taste-off to decide which of the two lemon breads are the best. Also: handwarmers again , maybe, if I get a chance to sit.

Soundtrack: Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify

I’m reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I’m a Many Trick Pony

… and it’s all because I believed that I could do anything I put my mind to. And also, YouTube videos. Check this out: Ark. mother of four builds home by watching YouTube tutorials

How cool is that?!

More than a decade ago I was home with my young children and my creative impulses were firing but I just didn’t have the time, money, or energy to do anything too involved. A few of my friends on the interwebs knitted and I had all my mom’s old yarn stash from her crocheting days so I decided to give it a try. I learned how to knit in a day from tutorials I found on YouTube. Since then I have made many a knitted present, and have even sold a few finished pieces.

Just off the needles- something for me. 🙂

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

I have learned many, many skills from YouTubers across the globe. My husband has fixed our appliances, cars, bikes, and house more times than I can count thanks to YouTube videos.

My kids groan every time.. (they’re all teenagers, they groan no matter what I say).. but when they ask “how do I…?” I usually respond with either “google it” or “YouTube.” It’s amazing what I’ve seen them be able to learn and achieve thanks to resources readily found online.

I asked Liana to model the new hat I just finished. So she did.

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

To learn anything new you need a can-do attitude, but I often feel immediately overwhelmed by the challenges that face me. Where does one even begin to say, fix a problem with a bicycle? In the old days you would ask a friend to help or hire a guy if you didn’t have a clue. Today you can pick up your phone, complete an internet search, watch a video or two, and do just about anything, anywhere. The process of watching someone show me how to do something completely demystifies it, and emboldens me to try.

You can do it.
I can do it. Anything. Even become a blogger (who makes an income doing it, one day.)

All we need to keep growing and achieving is each other.. and YouTube. 🙂

Today’s Project: Handwarmers- I might bake something too but I have a sick kid home from school who needs to go to the pediatrician.

Soundtrack: I’m still listening to Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify

I’m reading: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Reusable Grocery Bags

In the 2016 election California voters decided to ban plastic bags at the grocery store. Quite quickly local grocery stores began providing much sturdier bags that are reusable and compostable and dum-dum dum: 10 cents each. They are also loud and crinkly, and not very cute to have to carry around. We have a large family to provide for so we were suddenly buying a LOT of these bags.

For years I’ve been saying we should use reusable bags but I never did, mostly because I am busy doing what I want and not being inconvenienced. It’s the sad truth. So I’m glad they passed the law, because what did I do? Start making and using reusable bags. And it was a fun project! And they are cool. People seem to love them. My husband at least really likes using them. It took a push, but here I am doing what I should have done all along.

The first thing I did when the law passed was pull up Pinterest, my absolute favorite place to look for sewing ideas. I searched “reusable grocery bags” and quite quickly found several free patterns to try.  When I had decided on a few patterns I hit up the Black Friday Sale at JoAnn’s for 75% off fabric, because fabric these days is stupid expensive. I picked out some materials I just loved, which always makes sewing more enjoyable.

I made this bag first:  Pleated Tote- Free Sewing Tutorial
The tutorial is easy to read. You will have to make your own pattern given their dimensions, I used craft paper to make mine. The finished bag is spacious and cute. I made a mistake making mine by using very old and too-stiff interfacing. It did not damage the integrity of the bag, but I feel that if I carry bulky items it will wrinkle the bag. I do not suggest making my mistakes ever.  I like the bag enough though that I bought new, lighter interfacing so I could make myself another.

And then I made a bazillion of these: Tutorial: Fat Quarter Reusable Grocery Bag with free pattern
This is a really nice tutorial complete with a free pattern that you can print easily on your home printer, easy-to-understand instructions, and lots of pictures. The sewing techniques are basic and you can put a bag completely together in under two hours. Maybe others are faster than me but I get hungry and have to pee or take the dogs out, so never trust my estimations if you are a pretty focused, efficient person.

I did not at all use fat quarters to make this bag. I started out making these bags with flannel that I had bought at Joann’s 75% off doorbuster event, and they are cool. But they are bulky when you roll them up between uses and pick up animal hair and stuff easier than cotton. We have pets galore so I prefer cotton for this project.

I bought some fabrics I perceived as “manly” to make reusable grocery bags for the manly men in my life for Christmas. The men around me are the grocery shoppers of the family and had been griping constantly about having to pay for bags. I picked an Army motif for my dad, and zombies for my husband and guy friends. These turned out so fun. The guys are telling me that they get asked about their bags, or complimented on their bags every time they use them.

I liked this project enough that I ended up making these bags in numerous color/pattern combinations for all of my loved ones. I made dozens. I made eight just for my husband. For real. And then after Christmas, when my husband began really using his bags, he asked that I make another full set of eight bags to keep in my car, after the first time he used my car to shop and didn’t have any of his bags because he forgot them in his car.

Current Status

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I’m so sick of making them now. Thankfully, I finished the last one yesterday. I’ve received a few requests to make more, have had people ask after a price for a set. I regretfully admit that it doesn’t make sense to sell these bags. When you add up materials, even purchased at a steep discount, and factor in the two hours you spend making this bag, you’d have to charge at minimum $25 per bag to make minimum wage. Nah. Who is going to pay that? I wouldn’t.

I made mine for probably about $4 per bag, which means they should pay for themselves in 40 uses. They are really sturdy so I believe they will give me at least 120 uses. If so, each bag will save us $8 over time and will keep 120 bags out of landfills. And they are snazzy. And I learned a new technique- french seams! Don’t worry, it’s easy.

Project time: approximately 2 hours if you take breaks and are slow like me
Project materials: I’ll let you check out the tutorial for those, but I made 6 bags in each color combination with 4yds of the main pattern and 2 yards for the linings.
Thoughts: Cotton makes a sleeker bag, but many sturdy fabrics would work for this project so it’s perfect for destashing old fabric. I also used flannel to make these bags and they are fine. I think it would be cool to put together a little carrying case to hold four bags, to keep them nice and squared away between uses- if I ever do that I’ll hook ya’ll up with a pattern.
Product review: we’ve put everything in these bags now and they hold up great. We put four bottles of champagne in one on NYE and it was comfortable to carry and plenty sturdy. The first time or two you use them you may struggle just a tad to fold them back up properly- I made sure to show my friends how to do it so they wouldn’t get too frustrated. I like to keep one rolled up nicely in my purse for impulse purchases. The cotton bags are sleek enough that you could probably fit several in your purse if you carry a bigger bag than me. I’ve always preferred a small purse.

Today’s Project: Handwarmers (keep an eye out for an upcoming post on these!)
Today’s Soundtrack: Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify
I’m reading: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Putting Up Lemons

I’ve been putting lemons up, a little each day, all week.

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

Several years back we put in what was supposed to be a miniature lemon tree. We planted it in a maybe five feet wide strip of land bordering our driveway. Of course it was not in fact in any way “miniature” and has grown to the point where we can hardly avoid driving into it. We’ve trimmed it drastically several times, but it’s hardy and growy. I have scratches all down the side of my new car.

When we got it, it was already producing some, so it was quite a disappointment that it didn’t produce at all for two seasons thereafter. We thought it was because it had grown a large sucker, a kind of parasitic take-over. We cut out the parasite and waited, thinking that it might do better, but it still didn’t produce. It caused nothing but problems.

Finally, finally, I decided to google it. At that point my dad, who is also my neighbor, was threatening to dig it out of the ground. Dudes, google everything. So yeah- our giant miniature lemon tree just wasn’t getting the right stuff from our soil. A few treatments of citrus fertilizer later and I’m putting lemons up for days and days. Annnnd feeling a little dumb. And neglectful.

So, what does putting up lemons involve, and why would you want to go to the trouble? I’ll tell ya.

To begin with we picked the lemons over the course of a week, choosing just the ripest first because I planned to immediately preserve them. Then each day I would dust off the handy dandy juicer we got for like $20 on Amazon, push through about 20 lemons, and strain the juice. (Some of my people like pulpy lemonade, so I didn’t strain the first few batches just for them.) I strained the juice through a couple layers of cheesecloth, then poured the strained lemon juice into ice trays and froze them overnight. Once the lemon juice was frozen into cubes I transferred them into labeled freezer bags and tossed them in the freezer. Additionally I zested the prettiest peels and put the lemon zest in a small jar in our freezer for baking throughout the year.

Project time: We didn’t spend much time picking lemons, we saved time by using clippers and hurrying to beat the rain that just won’t stop in California right now. Each day I spent about an hour and a half from beginning to end (set-up, transferring the day before’s cubes to the freezer, juicing, straining, pouring, clean-up) for a yield of about 5 cups juice, which filled a little more than three large ice cube trays. I only zested lemons one day and it took me less effort and time than I expected, even using an old-fashioned hand zester.  A little zest goes a long way, so I’m not sure if I should put up more or not- we’ll see how fast we go through it when we have it on hand! All I know is that I didn’t put up all the lemons last year, as I got bored of the process after three or four days.. and guess what? We were out of lemon before spring. This year I’m not gonna slack. Fresh lemon juice and zest can make so many things absolutely wonderful. Here are a few of those:

Lemonade. There are so many wonderful things about lemonade, and the lemonade made from lemons off our own tree is somehow so sunny and magical and light tasting.

Lemon juice for health: it’s full of good stuff for ya, and you can read about the many ways you can use it for health benefits all over the interwebs so I won’t bore you. Google everything.

Lemons for cleaning: I loved how, after clearing the juicer repeatedly in the sink with the dish disposal, I noticed that the slightly moldy, not wonderful smell that had been in that sink was gone. Lot’s of people use it for varied cleaning purposes so please, google, google.

Lemon juice for cooking, oh yes. So many things are improved by lemon juice. One our favorite ways to use it is to add a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice directly into our bowls of chicken soup. This was an old tradition of my husband’s family, and since I discovered it I never eat chicken soup without a dash of lemon juice!

We love to bake with lemon in this household! I made this the other day and it was really great:

Sunburst Lemon Bars

My daughter Lillie made these fantastic wonderful amazing cupcakes for me for my 40th birthday:

Pink Lemonade Ruffle Cupcakes

My husband tried a new chicken picatta recipe recently too and it was pretty good. I’ll bug him for that recipe.

And hey! Let me know if you find anything else interesting to do with lemon! I have enough to get a little creative this year, I hope.

Today’s Projects:
-Lemons: I’m getting closer to done putting this year’s crop up.. must. not. give up. We DO need all this lemon, I’m pretty sure.
-Reusable Grocery Bags: I have one last bag to make today and then we should have enough to put a full set in both cars. More on those soon!

Today’s Soundtrack: Today’s Top Hits Playlist on Spotify
I’m Reading: The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

 

 

I’m baaaaack!

Wow, Poofy, what sharp teeth you have.

A photo posted by Phaedra (@phaeriedust) on

For years and years I maintained a lifestyle blog but then came Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. My journaling became fragmented.  A little bit of me went here, a little there, and my blog withered and died. Sad story, eh? Whatever. I’m back dudes.

Here’s what I’m thinking.. I CONSTANTLY create and do stuff. But nobody knows it! That’s weird. I’d like to show you what I’m up to- and how I learned to do it… and where I got my best resources… and whether or not I’m making any money at it (usually not.)

I have a lot of interests- I get bored easy and try new things- so I’ll probably bounce around a lot, but my primary interests are crafting (mostly sewing and knitting), genealogy, web and graphic design, baking, reading, roller derby, swim, travel, music, photography, philanthropy, and art. Pretty much something for everyone, I hope.

So yeah! Stop back by sometime soon and see what you think.. that would be cool.

Today’s Projects:
This Blog- customization
Lemons- today is day 5 or 6 of putting up lemons.. only a few more days to go?
Reusable Grocery Bags- more on this soon, but here’s the pattern!