Knitting Gloves

finished_glove_herriotGloves are one of those things that knitters often avoid, out of habit or out of fear. All those fiddly little fingers can be intimidating. I think the fear of fingers accounts for some of the popularity of fingerless mitts. (Don’t get me wrong; fingerless mitts are awesome.)

Anyway, the fingerless mitts that I knit myself a few weeks back inspired me to finally embark upon a glove-knitting adventure (everything in life should be an adventure) so that I could wear the two as a set, suitable for the cold winter days that are due to arrive any day now.

I’m a sucker for luxury fibers, and the 100% baby alpaca Herriot called out to me the moment it crossed my mind to knit a pair of gloves. It even comes in a rich, golden hue that perfectly complements the navy I used for the fingerless mitts. It would make a fine replacement for the tragically lost pair of cashmere gloves that I purchased at a thrift shop last winter. Baby alpaca is one of the softest fibers you’ll ever touch and also one of the warmest, much like cashmere.

As it turns out, making gloves is easy – in fact, making perfectly fitting gloves is easy! Let me tell you how.

herriot_gloves_01_webFirst, pick a yarn and needles, either make a gauge swatch or make an educated guess about the number of stitches that will fit snugly around your wrist, and cast on. I picked a DK-weight yarn and US 2 needles because I wanted the fabric to be dense. I cast on 48 stitches, then realized that it was coming out a bit large and did some decreases to get down to 40 stitches. As a result, it flares a little bit just like my arm does. Happy coincidence!

The trick is to try it on over and over again. Just try it on constantly without removing the needles.

herriot_gloves_02_webKnit ribbing for a while, then make a thumb gusset. A thumb gusset consists of paired decreases lined up on top of each other on one side of the glove. If you’ve ever knit a mitten, then you know how to make a thumb gusset. I found placing the increases every four rows made the glove flare out at about the same rate as my thumb does, but again, just try it on and adjust accordingly. (Admittedly, I tried increasing every three rows at first, and it sagged just a little).

The thumb stitches hang out on some scrap yarn while you knit the palm up higher, then the pinkie hangs out on some scrap yarn while you knit the rest of the hand up a touch higher. Just look at your hand and you’ll probably notice that the base of the pinkie is lower than the base of the other three fingers.

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Make a diagram like this. Make the stitches around the edge match the total number on your needle and add 2-4 as a bridge from the front to the back. (I recently learned these are called fourchette stitches!)

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My diagram actually looked like this. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered to get up and find a proper piece of paper.

At some point, you’ll probably have to map out an action plan for allocating the stitches on your needle across the four fingers. I won’t blame you if you scribble it out on a scrap of paper towel. You just have to decide how many stitches to put onto stitch holders.

Then, put all the stitches except for those to be used for the index finger on some scrap yarn. Cast on some stitches to bridge the gap from front-to-back and accommodate the depth of your finger. Knit five little tubes. Don’t forget to try it on constantly to make sure it’s all working out. Trying it on is how you figure out when to stop knitting and cinch up the top of each finger!

I am pleased as punch with my new gloves – you should give it a try! Who needs a pattern when you’ve got a hand, anyway?

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Doesn’t it look great with the fingerless mitt on top?

 

Super Bulky To The Rescue This Holiday Season!

This morning I was pondering what to blog about, and my better half made a few suggestions:

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North © Berroco, Inc.

“5 Cozy Sweaters to Survive a Nuclear Winter”

 

 

 

 

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Coachella © Fathom Harvill

“3 Summer Tops for Staying Cool Despite Rising Global Temperatures”

 

 

 

 

 

But while I may one day write those posts (seriously or in jest), I think I have to instead share with you a realization that struck me yesterday: THANKSGIVING IS NEXT WEEK. I know, I know. I was shocked, too. Because right on the heels of Thanksgiving, we have… Holiday Gift Season. 

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I wanted to make all of my gifts this year. I still might make all of my gifts, because I haven’t actually bought (or made) anyone anything yet. (Sorry, Mom!) My only hope now lies with the hero of quick knitted gifts: Super Bulky (yarn, that is — there isn’t actually a caped crusader named Super Bulky, alas). Super bulky is the procrastinator’s best friend, and also happens to be ideal for our chilly Maine winters. Here is a rundown of a few items I’m considering for my nearest and dearest — maybe they’ll work for yours, too.

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© Nomad Yarns 2013

This is the Big Chunky Comfy Hat by Erica Kempf Broughton, and it would be divine in Malabrigo Rasta. Add a pompom (homemade or store bought), and you’ve got the hippest hat north of Brooklyn. Any hat done in super bulky will knit up in a couple of hours, and look wicked trendy. Always wanted to learn to make a pompom? Come in this week and say the magic password “fluffy” tell me you saw this post — I’ll do a little free tutorial for you. Pompoms also make fun holiday ornaments and keychain embellishments.

 

 

 

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© Abi Gregorio

The Drop Stitch Cowl by Abi Gregorio will always be at the top of my gift list. I recently had one of the best experiences a knitter can have — I saw my sister wearing a Drop Stitch Cowl that I made for her 3 years ago. She still has it! And wears it! And loves it! She will get more knit gifts. 

This cowl is easy, and great for showing off luxurious solid color yarns, or subtle tonal skeins. I could see this as a one-skein wonder in Berroco Macro, but it would work nicely with any of our super bulky options.

 

 

 

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© Heidi May

The Azel Pullover by Heidi May is at the top of my to-knit list. Ideally, I’ll get to cast on later this week, and should be done before December 1st. It comes in adult sizes, you guys. This cozy item is not just for adorable, ridiculously stylish children. Paired with boots and jeans or leggings, this is a great gift for teens and adults alike. While a slightly bigger time investment that a hat or cowl, the Azel Pullover is still one of the fastest knits out there, and is super simple — great results with minimal effort. We’ve been suggesting Plymouth Yarns Encore Mega and Encore Mega Colorspun for an inexpensive and machine washable project.

 

 

 

 

It’s not too late to knit gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself, if you’re an overachiever and feeling calm about the holidays). Grab your size 15 needles and a skein or two of super bulky, and settle in with a good movie — you’ll have a finished item before you know it!

 

 

 

 

Peace, Love, and Knitting

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I was planning to treat this day the same as any other Wednesday. I was going to write about my latest glove-knitting experiments. But it’s not a regular Wednesday. As the curtain closes on this election season, I think we can agree it’s been a hard day for this country. I’m trying to focus on my many blessings today. One of them is the luxury of knitting, and another is the opportunity to share my love of knitting with the fine people I get to see every day working in a yarn shop. Jennifer’s post yesterday was the pick-me-up I needed today. She wrote that we have the best customers ever, and I agree with all my heart.

Today I’m working on cultivating peace of mind, and I’m working on loving my neighbors, and knitting is my path forward at the moment. Sharing a common interest allows us to see eye-to-eye and feel compassion. Doing something that I love reminds me of my indomitable ability to craft my own life into the joyful experience I want it to be. Life goes on, and knitters go on knitting. This week, I’m going to keep working on the perfect pair of gloves to keep my fingers warm this winter. Stay tuned for updates.

Even if you’re not a knitter, maybe sharing common interests and doing something you love are simple ways that you can make today into the best possible day.