Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy

...and she is us. Remember that list of WIPs and plans? Yeah, not working on any of them. See, my husband happened to mention that his winter gloves were falling apart and that recalled to mind an experiment I've been wanting to try for a while.

Despite having knit hundreds of pairs of mittens over the years, I've never knit a pair of gloves. Partly because they're fiddly, and partly because I don't wear them myself. And partly because I've never found a pattern that I really like. See, I have these really fixed ideas about the way things ought to be. And to my mind, mittens and gloves intended to be worn in New England need to be thick and dense. I've seen a great many glove patterns that call for worsted weight at a gauge of 5 or 6 stitches to the inch, and that just doesn't seem heavy enough for me.

I much prefer bulky weight or doubled worsted for adult mittens, and I only use single thickness worsted for the kid's mittens because knitting a mitten so dense the child can't move their fingers in it is less than popular, no matter how warm it is.

And then gloves present a whole other layer of complexity. The whole point of gloves is to have more mobility in the fingers. And yet you want thick. When I saw the Salt and Pepper mitten pattern in Robin Hansen's Fox and Geese and Fences, I thought I had the answer. See, it's a one by one check pattern:
Salt and Pepper glove plan A

This was my first trial. The stranded construction makes it more flexible than bulky yarn, but still with a doubled thickness between the hand and the cold. And on #3 needles, it knits at a gauge of 8 stitches to the inch. It'll take a pretty stiff wind to chill through that! However, I simultaneously discovered a couple of issues with this particular implementation. First, I didn't have enough of the brown. And second, this particular glove wasn't going to fit. So, it was ripped and I swapped the colors (I have more of the beige). I got through the hand and still thought I was likely to run out, so I swapped it out for some red. I think I'll have enough to do the second glove to match. Here's take two:
Salt and Pepper Glove plan B

I did quite a bit of tweaking with the fit. Usefully, my husband and I have the same size hands, so I don't need to keep borrowing his for fitting. (He'll be delighted to wear the gloves...it will save him shopping for new ones. But there's a limit to how many times one can ask a male person of the opposite sex to try on a glove in progress.)

Anyway, most mittens progress straight from the ribbing to though a stockinette section to the thumb gusset, but that's not strictly optimal for a highly fitted glove. I actually increased at the start of the stranded section to get that flare at the heel of the palm, and then did three sets of doubled increases before starting the thumb gusset to accomodate the broadening of that part of the hand. As you can see, I've reached the fingers, and they're every bit as annoying as I suspected they would be. But, the fit is good, and hopefully my satisfaction with the design will carry me though the second glove. For a change, I'm actually writing down what I did on the first one so I have some chance of replicating it. In a left-handed version, of course. Now watch me wind up with two right gloves....


  1. Thanks for giving me a peek into this fascinating project. I could knit two right gloves with no problem. I'm sure of it, as I have already managed two left mittens, at least once before. :-)

  2. Two right or left gloves would be better than an infamous fingerless mitt I once knit... one with two (yes, two) thumb gussets... one on each side of the mitt. And sadly, I didn't even notice it was wrong until I was casting the thing off. Sigh. On the positive side, at least I only did it on one of the pair. Having done it twice would have just been humiliating!

  3. Oh, those are going to be nice!!!!

  4. Beautiful, and almost enough to get me to try gloves. Except for this whole lives-in-California thing.