Hand Therapy


After a hard day of digging in the dirt or on a cold winter night, nothing feels as soothing and indulgent as tucking your aching hand inside one of these microwaveable mitts. They make a perfect gift for your self or for someone special.

I fill these mitts (and some larger wraps I have done) with a mixture of dried lavender flowers, long grain rice and flax seeds. Rice holds the heat longer, but flax seed is lighter weight so a combination of the two – along with some sweet smelling lavender – makes a more practical filling.

I used to use my decorative fabric for the entire mitt, but because the filing eventually stains the fabric, I now use a separate, washable covering. I use terry cloth or flannel for the inner mitt and whatever fabric appeals to me for the outer covering.

Enlarge the pattern below to cut out 4 pieces of fabric for the inner mitt. Add an additional 1” to the pattern for the outer covering (so it fits over the inner mitt once it has been filled).


Enlarge as shown by the measurements. Note that the outer covering is cut 1″ wider than the inner mitt.

Constructing the Inner Mitt

  1. Make two alike. With right sides together, stitch two (of the four) sections across the straight end, leaving a 3” opening at the center. Press the seam open.
  2. Place the two seamed pieces together, right sides together, and baste.
  3. Fold the basted piece in half. Baste and then stitch around the entire curved edge. Stitch again close to the first line of stitching. Clip the curves and trim the seam.
  4. Turn right side out through the opening in the straight end.
  5. Fill with about 3 cups of filling (equal parts lavender, rice and flax seed), using half in each side of the mitt. Hand-sew both openings closed.

(1) Sew two inner mitt sections together, leaving a 3″ opening. Press seam open.

(3) Lay both stitched pieces together,with right sides facing and then fold in half. Baste and stitch curved edge.

Decorative Covering

  1. With right sides together, seam the curved edge. If using ribbon ties, first insert the ribbon in the seam allowance about 4” from the straight end of the mitt.
  2. Turn back 2” hem and top stitch in place.
  3. Turn right side out and press. Slip the decorative mitt over the inner mitt after it has been heated in the microwave.

The first few times you heat your inner mitt in the microwave, set the timer for 2 minutes and then check the temperature by carefully slipping your hand inside the mitt (where it will be the warmest). If it is not warm enough, continue heating for 30 seconds at a time. Avoid over heating the mitt as you can easily burn yourself if it is too hot and you can also scorch the filling. With proper use, your mitt should last for years.

Any moisture that remains in the filling will be given off as steam, which will probably stain the mitt over time. The inner mitt may also feel a little damp – especially the first few times.  This is why I do not put on the outer covering until after I have heated the inner mitt in the microwave. Why not make a couple for Holiday gifts?

About Susan Guagliumi

I am an author, craftsperson and a gardener. My proposal for a book tentatively titled "The Artful Gardener" was just accepted by Stewart, Tibori and Chang Publishers. Although this will be my fifth book, it is the first outside the area of hand/machine knitting. The manuscript is due early in 2013 and the book is scheduled for Spring of 2014. A somewhat longer process than giving birth to a child, embarking on an author's journey can be just as daunting, exciting and almost as fulfilling.
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