Thursday, April 5, 2007

On glove knitting

This week has been a cold one, it almost feels like winter. The single crocus flower in my yard has just been killed...sigh. Let's talk about something warm and cozy!

I love knitting gloves, fingerless ones especially, for they are truly functional. Teva Durham says in her famous Loop-d-loop that there was something "ironical" about knitting gloves, that one's hands were making coverings for themselves. To me this is not ironical at all, just fun. The only boring part is when one gets to the fingers-- neither dpns nor magic loop can make it fast, and one has to stop and count the rows all the time. I always hope that some company would make extremely short and tiny circulars for glove knitters... hey maybe I should do that myself?

One has to make several decisions when planning a pair of gloves. Would you make it flat on two straight needles, or on circulars/dpns? How do you like the ribbing? Which method to use for the thumb?

I only made one pair of flat mittens, and sewing took longer time than the actual knitting. Rowan patterns and some other English patterns are always done on straight needles. Well I must admit that I absolutely lack the patience to sew the seams for ten fingers. That's why my gloves are always done on dpns/circulars.

To my knowledge, there are two major ways to place the thumb.

One can be found in EZ's books: you use a piece of waste yarn and knit half number of stitches for the thumb at the right place, then knit these stitches with the working yarn and go through. In the end, you pick up the upper and lower stitches of the waste yarn and voila! You have a thumb opening instantly. A thumb done in this way looks feminine, as it stays on the palm side. But if you use a bulky yarn, this is what happens:

The thumb protrudes and never look right when I slip on the glove. However, a thinner yarn won't give you this trouble. For instance, the very popular Fetching looks great.

The second way is my favorite as the thumb fits snuggly. In this method, the thumb stitches are gradually added as you work up the palm. When all the stitches are there, you place them on a piece of waste yarn, and cast on several stitches for the gusset, and knit through. In the next rows, stitches are decreased over the gusset stitches until only one stitch remains.

That's how you get a triangular piece between the thumb and the palm, and it adds flexibility.





You also need to decide how to increase for the thumb stitches. You can either use one stitch as a base, and add one stitch both before and after this stitch (see below), or you can add stitch before and after the whole thumb piece.


To close today's topic, I proudly present some 2006 and 2007 FOs.

This pair is done in Malabrigo worsted merino on size 5 dpns. They pilled crazily, but oh how soft and warm!



Perfect indoor fingerless mitts, in beautiful Jaggerspun Zephyr on lace needles. The right one is beaded. The lace pattern is from a Barbara Walker's treasury.



And these are done in Koigu and a white sock yarn on size 2 and 4 dpns. The fact that Koigu is actually a light sport yarn is quite obvious here. I like the subtle textural effect of the central cable:

Don't you think they look like two cute sea anemone?

My favorite, not shown here, are a custom-made pair for my father. The reason why I started glove knitting was simple: I wanted to make a warm and handsome pair for dear Dad. I remembered that when I was a kid, he used to wear a pair in a navy color, and after many years they were beyond darning. Although he had other pairs, those were his favorites. So I started learning and practising. It took me several years, and finally I gave him a pair of fine gauge navy colored gloves in some best yarns, as '07 new year's present. "Great job, I'll be wearing them all the time", he said, and I, of course, was grinning like a happy fool.

4 comments:

Mean Mama said...

What a lovely collection of gloves! I am in awe of the patience you must have for all those fingers.

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charisma said...

I don't suppose there's any way I could get the pattern for the cabled fingerless gloves? I've been scouring the internet for exactly this kind of thing and was about to give up! My mailto is on my blog...