So I hope the pictures below will be of assistance to you - they are born out of my own incompetence and distressing experience. I am not sure they can really be dignified with the name of knitting in the round tutorial, more advice on knitting with double-pointed needles if you really think you can't possibly attempt it (from one who knows how you feel).
The first time I tried to knit in the round I could not work out how to join it together at all (please don't laugh), and the first socks I tried were cast on at least four times, and caused me great personal grief.
All you need to be able to do in order to knit some simple handwarmers is to be able to cast on, and cast off, and do knit stitch (you don't even have to purl!) - because when knitting stocking stitch in the round, every row is a knit row.
If you don't knit already, I would suggest you first start with a simple scarf in garter stitch in a non-fancy yarn, and once you can do that you are ready to take on double-pointed needles, which are not nearly as scary as they look.
Leslie at A Friend to Knit With posted a pattern for fingerless gloves inspired by the Toast catalogue, which she called Toast and Toasty: Toast is a simple tube, and Toasty has a separate thumb, so if you are a complete beginner start with Toast, but anyone who has knitted before will find Toasty easy enough. Click on the link above to find her pattern.
I have adapted the pattern slightly to take account of the yarn I wanted to use, which was Duchess in Dove, from the Skein Queen. This is a DK alpaca/merino yarn, and beautifully soft and cosy on the hands - a joy to knit with.
I used 3.75mm double-pointed bamboo needles to avoid aching hands (more of this later) - I would normally use 4mm for DK yarn, but wanted a tighter knit for warmth, and to counteract the tendency of gloves to go a bit baggy with use, and cast on 39 stitches to produce a glove to fit an adult medium-sized hand. If you use a number which can be divided by three, you can have the same amount of stitches on each needle, which I find makes things easier.
So I used a thumb (or long tail) cast on - I cast on 39 stitches just onto one needle as normal, then slid them along, 13 from each end onto another two needles. In the picture above you can see the end of the long tail on the left, and the ball end of the yarn on the right.
It is important not to twist the stitches at this stage, but if you look carefully at the cast on stitches, each side of the work looks quite different - when you arrange the needles into a triangle, check that the yarn at the corners looks straight, and that the line of yarn underneath the stitches looks the same all the way round.
We still have the ball end of the yarn on the right, and the leftover piece of the long tail on the left - this will be for sewing in at the end to fasten off, but it also acts as a useful end of round marker, and saves using stitch markers, which can be a bit fiddly. (One round means that you have knitted round all three needles once, and have got back to the long tail marker again.)
Now, what puzzled me for ages was how you joined the stitches into a round. The important thing to remember is that your fourth empty needle is always the one you are knitting onto. When you get to the end of knitting along each needle, you find you have an another empty needle in your hand, and that is the one you use to knit along the next section.
So below, we are going to join the three needles into a circle, or rather triangle, and knit the first row. Remember, always knit onto an empty needle - that is what the fourth one is for.
Now we are going to start knitting! Remember to check that the bottom edge of the knitting looks the same all the way round, and with the ball end of the yarn on the right (if you are right-handed, reverse direction for left-handers), take the fourth empty needle and put it through the first cast-on stitch knitwise - just like normal knitting.
Now we bring the yarn round, under the needles and over the empty needle - just as if you were knitting normally on two needles without the one underneath. This is what joins the knitting into a circle, and joins the first and last cast-on stitches together.
When you knit this first stitch, pull it up really tightly - in fact, always pull the first stitch on any needle really tight - this will prevent you from having a ladder of loose stitches at the joins.
Below I have put another picture of knitting the first stitch on the needle - here I have just moved the empty fourth needle inwards so you can really see how the yarn comes from the back of the just knitted section and under the empty needle, which has been inserted knitwise into the next needle to be knitted off.
So once you have knitted to the end of a needle, you can forget about it, and act as if you were just knitting on two needles like you always do.
The first round is always the most awkward and fiddly to do - so don't feel put off if you seem all fingers and thumbs - once you have knitted a few rounds and the tube has started forming it will all seem much easier.
The picture above shows what the knitting will look like in the middle of your first round. Notice how all the bottom edges look the same, the ball end of the yarn is coming from the right, and that empty fourth needle is now half full.
Remember that to make stocking stitch on double-pointed needles, every row is a knit row.
Here is the same first round again - you can see the long tail marking the end, and the working yarn on the right.
Funnily enough, and I have never really worked out why, the tube seems to start coming out of the top, then after a few rows, it comes out of the bottom of your triangle of needles - so don't panic if it seems to be coming towards you at first - you are not knitting upside down!
And the picture above shows what I mean - you can see the bottom loopy end towards you and the inside reverse stocking stitch. At this point I have knitted a round or two - you can see that I am part way round because of the position of the working yarn at the top in relation to the long tail marker at the bottom. The empty needle on the right is about to knit into the top left stitch (at the top end of the top left needle).
And here you have it! About four rounds done, and it is beginning to look like the real thing.
If you are a beginner, you can just stick with this version (Toast) and knit until your handwarmer is the length you prefer - remember that the base and top will roll in as they are not ribbed, so allow 1-2cm (1/2-1in) extra at each end - then cast off as normal, and you only have the two yarn ends to darn in. No sewing up - bliss!
But if you are more a little more experienced or adventurous (and it really isn't very difficult), then you can go for the Toasty version which has a separate thumb. I have a few pictures of knitting the thumb opening to help you negotiate Leslie's pattern if you are new to this sort of thing.
I changed the measurements to suit my hands, but the beauty of this pattern is that you can adjust the length to suit you, without any complicated maths. So I knitted 16.5cm/6.5in before beginning the thumb.
Here you can see how I have knitted 4 stitches along the needle, put 5 stitches for the thumb on a safety pin (very useful for holding small amounts of stitches), and that leaves 4 stitches left on the needle (total 13, which is a third of the original 39 cast on).
Sorry for the slightly fuzzy close-up but here you can see where I have started casting on 5 stitches to replace the ones on the pin. Just loop the working yarn round the needle as shown - bring it forwards, back over and down through the gap and pull tight.
So here we have the 5 new stitches cast on to replace the held ones - all made by looping the yarn round the needle as I did in the picture before.
You then just knit as normal to the end of the needle and carry on until your glove is the length required - mine was 24cm/9.5in in total, so after the thumb I knitted for another 7.5cm/3in. After the rolled edges, this gave a glove length of 20cm/8in, but of course you could make yours longer or shorter as required.
After casting off the top you go back to knit the thumb, in just the same way - you put your held 5 stitches on one needle (at the bottom) and I then picked up another 10 (5 on each needle) to make the thumb. I knitted the thumb for 5cm/2in before casting off.
So that's it - remember you must immediately cast on your second glove, otherwise the first will be forever solitary.
And once you have knitted the first pair, you can try some variations - I knitted Princess Bunchy a pair in Skein Queen Little Desire yarn in Lagoon, which you can see in the top picture. For these I cast on 36 stitches (hold and recast on 4 stitches for the thumb, then pick up another 8 to make 12 thumb stitches), and knitted the gloves shorter to the measurements of her hand.
I have also made a stripy pair in cream and slate Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss (4 rounds grey, 6 rounds cream). These have garter stitch ribbed edges - this is 6 rows of purl stitch to begin and end, and at the thumb top. (Please avert your eyes from the end not sewn in and just visible under the glove - I promise I will do it tomorrow.)
So if anybody is still with me after that, I think you deserve a cup of tea and a bit piece of cake. So you go and do that, and I will just wish for a cup that cheers.
But before I go I just wanted to pass on some advice about knitting and aching or arthritic joints. Contrary to received opinion, knitting will not cause arthritis and can even help exercise your joints (see the Arthritis Care advice here), but knitting with metal needles can put a strain on the joints and make your hands ache because they don't absorb the forces exerted in the same way that bamboo does, so your hand takes the strain.
Non-specialist medics often tend to ascribe aching thumb joints in people over 35 to incipient arthritis, and too much knitting or sewing - the same happened to me, but luckily enough I saw a rheumatologist and physiotherapist who knew better.
If you have problems with your hands, get yourself to a specialist hand therapist - every hospital physio department should have one, but many GPs don't know that they exist, so you might have to do a little work to find one. I was given some simple strengthening exercises and a neoprene splint (a sort of handwarmer-shaped glove) to wear to support my hand when knitting (all on the NHS) and even though I am physically challenged in various ways, I now knit more than ever, and no longer have a painful joint.
I also always use bamboo needles - I would highly recommend them, and if you are having problems with painful hands, it might be worth seeing a hand therapist to see if they can help.
And now I will get down from my soapbox and go and knit some more handwarmers. Have a good weekend!