Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Knit Gloves Part 1

I recently updated my class notes for Gloves 101. I like to update my class notes regularly. I like testing new techniques, so I often come up with new details to add to each class. I taught the class at Vogue Live Chicago this past October and then again here in Toronto in December. It had been a while since I knit a pair of gloves for myself so I wanted to refresh my thought process as well in preparation for the classes.

I've decided to share some of my glove knitting tips with you, along with photos of a pair I completed as I was updating the class handouts.

Gloves are a relatively simple and quick project. A pair of gloves can often be knit faster than a pair of socks. They are extremely portable and easy to try on as the knitting progresses. Gloves offer the potential for all sorts of creative experimentation on a mini canvas.

As with many other skills, what initially seems complex is not in reality difficult. Once the process is broken down into a series of steps, each one progresses logically.

Working in wool initially is recommended. It’s warm to wear and can be blocked to smooth out any uneven stitches. Cottons, linens and rayon’s are all workable once the knitter has built some basic glove skills. These fibres are cooler and less elastic, therefore accurate fit becomes more important. The smaller knitting gauges of fine yarns offer more potential for patterning and often allow for better fit. Take note, sock yarns are commonly referred to as fingering weight indicating their common use in creating gloves. Very chunky yarns become problematic when working fingers as there are so few stitches required for each finger. Gloves can be made in any nearly any yarn thin enough to permit four stitches around the little finger; finer yarns do create a more elegant glove.

Needles for gloves should be made out of stickier materials like wood or bamboo. The recommended needles to use for making gloves are the five inch length made by Brittany in birch or Knitter's Pride wooden needles. The latter have the advantage of being produced in different colours, which makes the various sizes less likely to be confused by the knitter. Both types are light weight and short enough not to be cumbersome.

There are many different ways of casting on for gloves. Choose a method that creates a stretchy flexible edge. Long tail cast on works for most knitters. If the cast on is too tight try casting on over a larger size needle and switching back to the project needle on the first row. When experimenting with alternative cast on techniques, remember that with circular knitting it is the opposite side of the work that faces out.

It is also possible to begin the cast on without creating a slip knot by using an e wrap twist a
s the starting stitch. I like to do this as it ensures a very straight edging at the wrist.

There are several ways of joining work in the round. The first is to cast on the required number of stitches, arrange in a circle and keep knitting. Two other methods have the knitter cast on one extra stitch. The next step is to either knit the last and the first stitch together or pass the last stitch over the first to join the round securely. My favourite is to knit two stitches together and pull snugly while making the next stitch.

I'll be posting more tips in the coming weeks. I'll link all the posts together once they are all done.

Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here. 
Part 5 can be found here

Motif placement information can be found here

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