Wednesday, December 16, 2015

4 Way Fingerless Gloves Tutorial

Last post, I wrote about the development of these 4 Way Reversible Gloves.  Now, I'll share a bit more on how to make your own, with any yarn.

The most important tool is going to be your swatch.  The second most important thing is a schematic with all the important measurements.  For this, I highly recommend Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns".  I get a copy from my public library.
It has all the important measurements, for sizes from toddler to XL Man.  I don't usually look at the pattern as my gauge always seems to be something like 4.5st/inch and she includes only full stitch/inch (4 st/inch and 5st/inch).  I just take the measurements and my gauge and figure my own numbers, remembering to add 1 or two stitches if needed for seaming.  I recommend to use yarn that is not too thick.  Two layers of DK add up to worsted weight, but even using one worsted weight and one DK makes the gloves quite thick.  

Start with an open cast on with the required number of stitches for the wrist.  Using a tension a little bit tighter than your main tension (about MT-3), knit the length indicated by the pattern for the cuff. Change to the main tension, knit a row, and mark both edges.  Knit the height needed for the thumb gusset (make sure to use the right measurement from the schematic.  I have used the thumb length measurement before!), and place markers at the edge again.  

Look at your calculation for how many total rows you need.  For this, I look at the length needed before starting the mitten shaping.  I figure the tighter tension at the cuff and the top edge shortens it up a bit, and then I round down a row or too.  I like my fingerless gloves long, but other people like them shorter.  For charity, there is no right or wrong.  Depending on the size, take the last two inches of the mitten and tighten up the tension so it will be snug around the fingers.  If the mitten gives flipped upside down to wear, this will still give a nice cuff.

I tried two different ways to make the turning row.  The men's pair has a converted row, creating a ridge.  The lady's pair has an eyelet row (move 1 stitch over, place empty needle in work; repeat across).  When I did the converted row, I realized that it has to be one colour or the other, so take your pick.

Now, you're going to do all this again, but in reverse.  Using the gauge of your inside yarn and your measurements, knit about two inches at a tighter tension, then loosen up to the main tension and knit to the top of the thumb gusset.  Mark it, knit the gusset length, place another marker at the edges.  Knit 1 row and knit the required length of the cuff in the tighter tension.

If there is 1st/inch difference, or more, between the two yarns, you need to account for this.  I would recommend starting with the finer yarn, and then decreasing after the turning row.  Then you will need to increase on the last row of the cuff, so you have the same number of stitches as what you started with at the very beginning, to make for easier grafting.

Take it off on waste yarn, and make a second one.  Or, better yet, knit the waste yarn for about 8 rows, do a row of ravel cord, then knit 8 rows in waste yarn again.  Once off the machine, separate the two by the ravel cord.

Seam up the long side first, leaving the thumbs open between each set of markers.  Weave in any ends.  Then, tuck the one layer inside the other, matching up the open cast on with the open cast off and the thumb holes.  I found it helped to put each colour on a circular needle before grafting.  Pick one colour, and graft the cast on to the cast off.  Then, stitch the layers together around the thumb openings, so they don't shift.

The key to making them 4 way reversible, instead of just inside out reversible, is to make sure the thumb opening is not perfectly centred.  The amount of the cuff should be either a little bit more, or a little less than the amount above the thumb opening.  Having the thumb off centre means that when they're worn one way, they will be long over the fingers, and when they're worn the other way, they will be shorter over the fingers.

Over Christmas, I'll knit another pair and take pictures of this process :)

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