Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A few Christmases ago (at the latest, 2004), Rob's sister, Lou, gave me some lovely alpaca yarns that she bought on a trip to Peru. Although some were listed as DK weight, they seemed so fine! I didn't think there would be enough of any one of the colours to make a simple sweater for me, and I didn't want to 'waste' the yarn making small items, or something that I ended up not liking. You need the perfect project for special yarns. I had an idea early this fall that I would make some gloves for the men on my Christmas list, since many of them were about the same size/build, I thought it would be fairly easy. I could use my standard gauge machine with ribber, and knit circularly! I wasn't entirely sure how to go about it, although I had made gloves by hand before. I found a glove generator pattern and got to work.

Well. The first glove was a real test of my patience and devotion! Or my stupidity. Perhaps I should have at least done a test glove in a LIGHT colour! You start off with the ribbing on both beds, like socks. Then, you have to transfer all the sts to one bed, knit some waste yarn, and transfer half the sts to the other bed so they line up and you can knit a tube. The pattern had me transfer the ribber sts to the main bed, doing the waste yarn (after changing carriages), then moving half the sts back to the ribber bed (and changing carriages again). I found it really difficult doing it this way (putting sts from waste yarn onto the ribber needles). I was also having a really hard time as I went on...turned out I had gotten a few sts hung up on gateposts. I did the thumb increasing fine, and continued on. The pattern has you knit the hand, then put each finger onto a string, separately. Then you start with the index finger and knit that finger first. But, the yarn is over at the other edge of the glove. Didn't make sense to me, to cut the yarn, when I could just knit the pinky first. Also, other patterns sometimes have you knit the pinky finger, than rejoin the hand sts, and knit a few rounds before doing the ring (and other) fingers. My pinky (and Rob's pinky) join our hands lower than the other fingers....I found it hard putting the sts back on the needles from the string too.

So I worked out the kinks on the first glove, and knew I could not give it as a gift to the first recipient....Lou's husband! LOL. I set that glove aside and got to work on another pair for him.This shows the glove before starting the thumb. I was a little concerned that the fingers were curving (my RB and MB tensions didn't quite match), and the index and ring fingers were supposed to be the same length. Turned out, because I had cast on sts in the gussets, instead of picking up sts from the neighbour, that the fingers weren't quite laying in position.

I also learned that instead of putting each finger on a string to come back to later, I could put the needles into hold position. Now, the thing it took me a bit of time to figure out was that I had to have the needles set up correctly for the finger I was working on (including racking the ribber bed to best align the needles when the MB had extra sts), BEFORE putting the other fingers into hold position, because you can't rack the RB while needles on both beds are in hold! (Machine knitters are shaking their heads at me, LOL, hand knitters are saying "What?!". Stick out the fingers of both hands...interlock them with the fingers of the other hand, keeping the fingers out straight...now try to move an index finger over to the next position without moving the corresponding finger on the other hand....)The real challenge though, came with the finishing.

Whether you hand knit or machine knit gloves, there is no getting around all the ends to weave in. Let's see...the start (1), five finger tips (6), the start of 4 of the fingers...makes for 10 ends....if you didn't run out of yarn mid-glove, change colours, or wrapped the yarn around an out-of-position needle partway down the needlebed and didn't notice the long loop till much later....

In hand knitting, when I would start a finger, I'd pick up the sts for the fourchette (OMG. I just googled that to find a site to explain it....I had no idea other than it meant the little gusset in between the fingers....google it yourselves....), from the finger beside it. While there'd still be the end to weave in, there wouldn't be a hole to close up. I found I just couldn't see well enough to do this on the machine, and just cast on those extra sts between each finger. I didn't think it'd be too hard to use the yarn ends to close the holes. I just couldn't seem to hold the glove to get tension on it and sew at the same time. The glove was too big for me to just wear it while sewing up. I finally saw my tripod, and used it to stretch the fingers apart!
The gloves were looking a little ratty in the end. I had re-used some yarn, and it was kinked. The increases for the thumb were a little strange. There was the curvature of the fingers....Then, I saw on Mim's Blog a tutorial for making glove blockers using foam core board--which I had because of Hugh's Hallowe'en costume! I traced Rob's hand (he was insistent the gloves were for him!), and had a hard time cutting it out!!! Then, to make it steamproof, I covered it with the leftover self-adhesive laminating plastic film from Hugh's costume. I also had to use some packing tape as I ran out of the laminating film. This was not quite the quick project I thought it would be! Then, in putting the glove over the hand, I found the fingers were too spread out, esp. the thumb (Mim doesn't have a thumb on hers because she used a 'palm opening', while I used a side edge thumb gusset). I had to cut the thumb and pinky off and re-locate them, LOL.
The steam does wonderful things! It's hard to see in the picture above, but the top glove has been steamed, but not the bottom one.
I got these off to my BIL (the father of the girl who got the piece of pink knit lace fabric!) and went back to make a match for the first trial glove. These became Rob's gloves. By now, I was fed up with dark coloured gloves, even though I had made gloves for less than half the number of men I wanted to! In the end, I did one more pair, in navy blue (not in the hand-wash only alpaca, LOL), for my brother. I would have done more pairs (I had changed my mind about giving away all the alpaca, esp. since some people might not want to hand wash, and bought some sock yarn instead) but I was burnt out. Perhaps if people wanted yellow or light blue or red gloves instead!
In the end....the gloves were too small for my BIL. But they fit Lou perfectly!! LOL!!

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