Gloves 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.
First, 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.
Knit 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.
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?