A step by step tutorial on knitting fingerless gloves (thumbs included) – easy and free pattern suitable for absolute beginners
Are you a knitting beginner and you want to make yourself some gloves? But you are scared because they do look intimidating? Well, no worries! You came to the right place because in this tutorial I will show you exactly how to knit fingerless gloves.
I put together a simple and fail-safe fingerless gloves knitting pattern and recorded a video for you, so you can follow along step by step. You’ll even learn how to knit the thumb hole the really easy way. And the best part: These fingerless gloves are knit flat.
You only need to know 4 standard techniques:
If you are a knitting beginner, I kindly recommend going through all these linked tutorials first before you started with these fingerless gloves. And beyond that, you should definitely bookmark my free knitting school and consider subscribing to my newsletter.
Materials you will need:
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
You will only need a couple of basic knitting tools every beginner should own. If this is one of your first projects, consider asking around among your friends/colleagues. Often there’s someone who can borrow you a knitting needle for a time.
- ~100 meters of nice (light) worsted yarn. I am using the Alpaca Fino yarn by Pascuali.
- Circular knitting needles size 4.00 / US Size 6. I am using the Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina circular needles for this pattern.
- Scissors & A tapestry needle
- Measuring tape
- (optional) some pins
Please consider that your hands are one of the most sensitive parts of your body and quality yarn will pay off. It really doesn’t have to be alpaca yarn. Merino wool (maybe with a bit of acrylic so it’s easy to care for) can be a good choice. Here’s a guide to the best knitting yarn for beginners.
We are knitting flat and you could use single-pointed needles as well. But that way it’s much harder to check if you are knitting the right size. With circulars, you can simply wrap your work in progress around and check – despite knitting flat.
Fingerless gloves instructions:
Typically, gloves come in pairs and you probably will want to knit one to fit your left and right hand. It doesn’t matter with which side you start but you will have to take care when placing the thumb hole for the second one (see below). Here’s a tutorial in case you don’t know how to read knitting patterns yet.
Step 1: Figuring out your size
The very first thing you need to do is figuring out your size and the number of stitches you need to cast on. This might sound a bit tedious but it’s actually quite easy. Plus, if you blindly follow my instructions (or any other knitting pattern) chances are really low you create something that fits.
Why? Because you might knit with different tension and/or yarn and this will create a different gauge. No two knitters are alike so don’t expect the same outcome either.
Before you start, you need to knit a little swatch. In this case, you don’t need anything grand – just a couple of rows in a 2×2 rib stitch. The swatch will also help you to practice the stitches a bit before you fully commit.
- Cast on 24 stitches using a long tail cast on. (tip: advanced knitters may try the tubular cast-on)
- Row 1: *k2, p2*
- Row 2: *k2, p2*
- Continue knitting in that pattern for 10 more rows.
- Row 13: bind off all stitches (but don’t cut the yarn).
Now, take out your measuring tape and we’ll need two pieces of information:
- The circumference of your hand/arm at its widest point: You don’t want to create any chokepoints as you slide your hand into the glove. So, hold one hand as you would wear a glove and find the widest point. For me, that’s around the knuckles of my thumb.
- The number of stitches you needed to cover 2 inches/5 cm: Stretch it out a little bit and measure in the middle of your swatch and then simply count the number of stitches in the same row (advanced knitters may block their swatch first).
Once you have those two numbers, you can easily calculate how many stitches you need to cast on with a calculator:
- Simply divide the stitches you counted by 5 centimeters
- And then, multiply the resulting factor times the circumference of your hand
- Take that number and multiply it times 0,90 (the rib stitch has negative ease and you want to account for that by casting on 10% less than your swatch says)
- And then round down the next number divisible by 4
Example: My circumference is 23 centimeters. And I needed 11 stitches to cover 5 centimeters on my swatch. So, 11/5 = 2.2 -> 23*2.2 =50,6 -> 50,6*0.90 = 45,6 -> cast on 44 stitches.
Note: Your number may be much higher or significantly smaller. This will depend a lot on the yarn you picked and how tight (and loose a knitter you are) – and obviously on the size of your hands.
Step 2: Knitting the body
These fingerless gloves are knit with two different patterns: Stockinette stitch and a 2×2 rib. You could knit them with ribbing all the way up to the tips but I felt that the little band around the wrists adds a little something to an otherwise plain design.
- Cast on as many stitches as your calculation said you required plus 3 selvage stitches. For me, and a men’s size S, I cast on 47 stitches. Leave a sizeable tail of 40 cm for seaming in later on.
- Row 1: K1, *k2, p2*, k2
- Row 2: P2, *k2, p2*, p1
Continue repeating these two rows until you knit approximately 10 centimeters (4 inches) ending with a row 2. After you knit 12 or so rows, take a second and see if you can fit your knitting around without overstretching. If you can’t, you’ll need to cast on more stitches. If it seems way too loose, consider adjusting your cast on accordingly.
If you want, you can also create longer fingerless gloves by adding a couple of more rows. Be careful, though. Your arms get wider the further up you go.
I knitted a total of 30 rows to reach the wrists. For the sake of convenience, I will continue with that number from here. So, please take my row count with a grain of salt. Nothing speaks against holding your work in progress next to your arm and see if it measures up to your preferences/body size.
- Row 31: knit
- Row 32: purl
Repeat rows 31+32 altogether 4 more times.
- Row 39: k1, *k2, p2*, k2
- Row 40: p2, *k2, p2*, p1
- Row 41 – 52: Continue knitting in the 2×2 rib until your knitting reaches up to the knuckle of your thumb (Note: If you have bigger or smaller hands, you would obviously need to knit more or fewer rows; for me 4 centimeters or 12 rows were perfect).
Step 3: how to knit thumbs on a fingerless gloves
The most simple thumb is knit by casting off a couple of stitches on the right side in the middle of your project and filling the gap with a simple backward loop increase in the return row. There are many other ways to knit a thumb hole but as a beginner, this will be both very easy to knit and look pretty.
I know this might sound a bit complicated. But a backward loop increase is basically nothing else but a glorified loop around your needle. So, kindly read my tutorial. I also show it to you in the accompanying video to this pattern.
- Row 53: Continue knitting the ribbing but stop in the middle after the next 2 knit stitches.
In my case: k1, *k2, p2* [5 times), k2
And here, right in the middle of your row, bind off 6 stitches. Make sure you bind off the last 2 stitches really tightly. And then, continue knitting the ribbing for the rest of the row just like before.
- Row 54: Continue with the ribbing and when you come to the point where you bound off those 6 stitches, you need to cast on 6 stitches with a backward loop increase. So create those 6 loops (don’t do them too tightly; it will be much harder to knit them in the next round) and then continue with the ribbing.
- Row 55: k1, *k2, p2*, k2 (be careful when you knit across the 6 increases bridging the gap. It can be a bit difficult to knit those stitches, so go slowly. You can use the tip of your needle to loosen the stitches up before you knit them).
Important: This will create the right glove. For the left glove, you need to start the bind off in row 53 at least 6 stitches BEFORE the middle, right after 2 knit stitches. (In my case that’s k1, *k2,p2* [3 times], k2)
Note: If you have large thumbs you may have to bind off 8 stitches. An easy way to check: Hold your thumb over the ribbing (and stretch it a bit). If it covers more than 6 stitches, go for 8 stitches.
- Row 56-66: Continue knitting another 4 centimeters of the 2×2 rib stitch (12 rows).
- Row 67: Bind off all stitches loosely; So try to stretch the stitches a bit as you go. The 2×2 ribbing is quite stretchy and you do not want to restrict it overly much. You don’t want it to be too loose either as your hands get narrower to the top. So, I wouldn’t pick a stretchier bind off.
Step 4: Closing the seams
Before you start with the seaming, you might consider blocking your finished fingerless gloves. It’s much easier to do so before and you don’t end up with a permanent fold line either (which would happen if you block any tubular project flat).
It’s certainly not a 100% necessary step but it often improves the stitch definition and the general look of any finished knitted garment.
From here, you need to start seaming using the mattress stitch. So, simply close your square into a tube (make sure the right side is facing outwards) and thread the long tail from the bottom on a tapestry needle. And then find the very first ridge of knit stitches on the left side and go underneath the very first stitch.
It’s often a lot easier if you hold the edges between your fingers. That way, you can see the little ribs in between the V’s of the knit stitches much better and it’s easier to pull the yarn through on top of that.
You always have to go underneath one rib on the left and then underneath one rib on the right side. After 10-14 stitches, pull tight gently and continue seaming. Once you are finished, you only need to weave in the rest of the tails.
Simply go through the stitches of a rib on the inside/wrong side of your gloves (invert them before you do for easier access) and then cut the rest of the tail off with your scissors.
And after you finished this first fingerless glove, it’s rinse and repeat. Simply repeat these instructions for the second glove (make sure you place the thumbhole differently).
Even if you blocked your finished project, the ribbing will contract quite a bit. That’s quite normal – it will stretch out beautifully when you are wearing them.
Here are some further tips: Nothing speaks against using a different color for the wrists. I think in my case, white would look pretty stellar. Also, you could take a bit of contrasting yarn and embroider some details to the wrists (or beyond). I think that would be another really easy way to upgrade this pattern.
Reading tip: 10 easy projects for knitting beginners
42 thoughts on “How to knit fingerless gloves for beginners”
how do i know where to place my thumb for the right hand glove?
It’s actually the opposite round. Besides…this is a perfectly tubular and symetrical object so at the end of the day it is doesn’t even matter all that much.
Hello, could i use the counting for correct site even If i am knitting Simple stiches? Like right Side knit and wrong Side purl?
I’m not sure I understand what you are trying to ask. Would you mind elaborating a bit?
This was an awesome tutorial. You spoke very clear and precise. Advertising was a pain but thanks for a job well done.
Loved the video. Excellent. One minus, being blind in one eye and found it difficult to ‘see’ the place to pop my comment into ! Please make a definitive demarcation…a *clear marker, so that partially sighted persons can ‘see’ where to pop a comment.
Love the pattern. Love the wool and the colour. Loved yr instructions : clear, precise, measured. Bravo. Now, all I gottta do, is rummage for a suitable alpaca, and get to knitting.
Thanks a big bunch for making several hours of searching worthwhile. Bisous.
thank you for your feedback. I’ll see what I can do!
Hi Norman, thanks so much for these instructions and the wonderful video! I am confused about the selvage stitches. What are they, and why do you have 47 cast on stitches instead of the calculated 44? I watched your video as well and it didn’t mention the 3 extra selvage stitches. Thanks!
The selvage stitches are required for seaming. so you measure your hand and find out how much fabric you require. But the seam eats away a portion of the fabric so you need to add it. Plus the seam should look nice. that’s what these 3 stitches are for.
Love this pattern! I will hopefully be using it to make a pair as a gift here soon, but a surprise one! Hopefully I can estimate his hand size clearly enough to make them the right size! Wish me luck!
I’m so excited to try this pattern. I love the level of detail you give. It’s so frustrating when a pattern writer assumes everyone is an expert and can read minds and I’m glad you aren’t like that. 🙂 Even though your skill level is high, you have a gift for being able to think through all the steps and explain them in a way that anyone can understand.
Just finished a pair of these today as a practice with fingering weight yarn before knitting socks! I used Kroy Socks Fx in Clover Colors with size 2 circular needles, casting on 64 stitches plus the selvedge stitches, and they turned out beautifully! Awesome beginners pattern! Can’t wait to start on some socks now 🙂
way to go! and yes, these can be a great starting project!
How do I download the written pattern for the fingerless gloves?
It’s now available for download.
I need to know how to download a PDF written pattern of these gloves. I don’t want to look online every time I want to knit them.
There is sadly no pdf available, Doone.
That is ok, I will just look online and try to write it down. Thanks for replying. I love your pattern. You explain it great too.
Highlight what you want to print or save. Copy it to a word processing file and save. Or when you hit print, tell it to just print the selection.
Thank you for the clear recipe and the even clearer video showing the pickup method for the fingers!
I have made custom-fit gloves before, but the method I used was not as straightforward and clear as the one you’ve shown. And yours is the first method I’ve tried for finger stitch pickup that’s completely eliminated the need to go back and “finesse” the base of the fingers after the glove is complete.
All this to say that sharing your expertise has been helpful even for someone who learned to knit 60 years ago and has knit professionally for a significant portion of her life. Never too old (or too experienced) to benefit from a different perspective!
wow..happy to hear that! I worked long and hard to find a pick-up technique that really worked and it took me quite a looot of swatches
There is a typo in your PDF pattern. Under instructions part 1 row 2 should say P2,*k2,p2*, p1. At the moment it’s says K2, *k2,p2*, p1
oh my..how did happen. thank you so much for catching that!
Thanks for the nice tutorial and clear instructions.
Hi Norman, First thank you for the amazing patterns and all your videos, they must take hours to put together. With this pattern I was just wondering is it possible to knit in the round which would allow me to test fit more easily and skip closing the seam? Or would it cause difficulties elsewhere? Many thanks
not at all. I designed these as a basic beginner pattern, hence i decided to knit them flat. Nothing at all speaks against knitting in the round. Obviously, you don’t need the selvage stitches and can just cast on multiples of 4 and knit ribbings across 🙂
And you don’t need to worry about the thumb placement either as there is no seam inside.
I promised my daughter in New Zealand a pair of fingerless gloves. I was failing miserably and did not like what I was knitting. I went so far as to Google “why can’t I knit fingerless gloves” and that’s when I found your video and your blog. I am happy to report that your pattern and video have helped me immeasurably and I am now on my second pair. You are brilliant Norman! Thank you so much.
How awesome. Be proud of yourself, Suzanne!
Hi Norman, thanks so much for this tutorial. I have a question about ease. Your cast on calculation factors in the ease of 2×2 rib and now I am wondering how to find the values for other stitch patterns. Stockinette seems a bit less stretchy than ribbing. How do I find what value to use for st st? And how about more complicated and varied patterns like cables, etc? Thank you!
Quite frankly laura, these calculations are a crutch. I would definitely say there are no such values as it largely depends on the technique of the respective knitter. It will also depend on the pattern, like does it need to be stretchy enough to fit comfortable or does it only need to be stretchy enough so you can get past a chokepoint while putting it on (think the cuff of a sock needs to be stretchy enough so you can get the heel through, but that’s literally just 2 secs while putting them on)
Thank you, Norman!
Thank you so much for this pattern. I have one question probably because I’m over thinking it. When I’m coming to the wrist after the first 30 ish rows you say to end on Row 2. Does that mean I finish after knitting a row 2 or before, I’ve never really come to terms with this instruction for sure.
After you finished a row 2. Another way to say this would be: your next row should be on the right side. hope this helps.
Rather than trying to count out stitches for a thumb hole, I’m going to try flat knitting a rectangle and seeming on the thumb side, leaving a hole for the thumb. I have never picked up stitches before but I’m hoping it might work to knit a little open-top thumb piece? I play cello and have been looking for the right pattern for fingerless gloves that will allow me to keep warm and play at the same time. Thank you for all of your spectacular instructions and patterns and tips etc etc! I’m a crocheter and you have made knitting FUN for me instead of frustrating and tedious. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 💗
that is possible, of course. Still, counting stitches is quite easy so I wouldn’t let that scare you away.
Thanks so much for this pattern- I made a pair knitting flat and they worked out great, but now I’ve learned to knit in the round and thought it might be nice to make this pattern that way and skip the seaming part. Besides not needing the selvage stitches, are there any adjustments I would need to take into account for the thumb hole? I assume I would bind off the stitches at the beginning of the row, knit flat around, then cast on the stitches in the next row, knit flat to finish and then join in the round again to complete but I wasn’t sure that was right, as I’m still a beginner! Appreciate all the time you put into this!
If you knit in the round, you don’t have to make any adjustments and you don’t need to knit a left- and right glove (as the you don’t have a seam to avoid). Just skip the selvage stitch and make sure you cast-on is divisible by 4 so the 2×2 rib stitch will work out in the round.
Love this design! Especially the different texture on the wrist. My best friend crocheted me some fingerless gloves a few months ago, so I’m going to use this pattern to knit him a pair in return. My nana taught me to knit at age 12, but I forgot and have only recently picked it back up at 17- but these tutorials are really helpful!
How long would you estimate it would take to knit both gloves as a beginner? I’ve worked out something like 35 hours for my own skill level.
35 hours? No that sounds much too long. Even for a beginner I doubt you need more than 6 hours each. It should be rather quick to finish. (i probably need less than 2 hours total)
This is a fabulous tutorial, Norman. I used your tutorial as the basis for the fingerless gloves I was knitting with a gusseted thumb. It really helped, especially how to calculate the number of stitches I would need. It was so clear.