Monday, August 21, 2017

August Reboot Series - Tips for Knitting gloves

This month I'm going to be doing some re-posting of older blog posts. Some like this one will have updates included as when I reread I often realize I've learned something new since the original post went up.  I hope to have all new interviews every Friday but many Pros take the month of August off and in past years I haven't always been able to get enough interviews back to fill all the August dates. 

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. When using this cast on, try spacing each stitch on your needle about a needle width apart to keep the edge flexible.  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 edge 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 like to recommend that you avoid inflexible or heavy stitch holders during construction; it makes it more difficult to assess fit when trying on a partially completed glove. Stitches are less likely to pull or elongate using waste yarn as a holder. Choose a smooth yarn of the same or of a lighter weight to use. I use several different colours of markers to keep track of the start of round, the thumb gusset and any stitch pattern sections.

As it is not always possible to measure the recipient, glove pattern sources like Ann Budd’s book “The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns” are recommended. This book includes five gauges and seven sizes for knitters to work from.

Gloves can often be knit with the yarn leftover from other projects as they require approximately, 130 yards (120 m) to 250 yards (230 m) of yarn for gauges from 5 stitches to 9 stitches per inch, for a woman's medium size. The smaller the number of stitches per inch, the lower the number of yards or meters required.

Gloves are easy to customize while knitting, if the knitter is the intended wearer, because they can be tried on at every stage of construction.

To create a personalized pattern, place the hand down flat on a piece of paper and draw around all fingers and the thumb. Notice the little finger starts lower down on the hand than the other fingers. The thumb starts to protrude immediately above the wrist. Note each finger is generally a different length. Add measurements to the drawing of the hand. Measure each finger and the thumb around the base and record their lengths as well. Document the wrist measurement. Measure the palm straight across above the thumb, just below the knuckles to determine sizing when using patterns. Hand sizes and shapes vary much more between individuals than is generally thought. Finger length ratios in particular, vary widely among individuals and the variations are not all consistent with all fingers being longer or shorter.


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