Thursday, December 9, 2010

Branching Out

This season, I'm learning a new skill: gloves!

I purchased Nanette Blanchard's Knitting Glove booklet, available for download online, which has some general construction instructions and 2 patterns (one of which I can already tell will be the foundation of many gloves and mittens for me).

I've started on a pair for myself using all the odds and ends of sock wool I've amassed over the last few sock-knitting-seasons. So far, it's working well. I'm enjoying doing colourwork again (which I avoid for socks) and the elastic-y sock wool is working up wonderfully.

I'm attempting to calibrate my knitting so I can make gloves for others, based on hand-print drawings. I've taken my own handprint, and have already learned the following:
1. draw around your hand fairly tightly. Don't spread your fingers too wide - just enough to get the pencil around them. Make sure you mark accurately where your "webs" are. Stick your thumb out a little futher to mark the webbing between the palm and the thumb. Also make sure to mark where your palm starts - the top wrist wrinkle is a good point to transfer.
2. measure around your hand just below the knuckles. Compare to the width of your handprint. My circumference is 7" and the handprint is 3.25" wide - the difference being the thickness of my hand (0.25") . I'm guessing that this is pretty average for most people (ex. my husband!).
3. draw lines on your handprint to get measurements (see photo). The finger length measurements are from the tip of the finger to the "webbing". The thumb width is going to determine the gusset size.

Gloves are nice if they are quite close-fitting. So you really do need to know your gauge. I've found that colourwork requires a bigger needle or the knitted fabric turns into plywood. This is also what Nanette recommends. With fingering/sock wool and colourwork I find a 2.25mm needle works well. This gives me a gauge of 9-9.5 st/inch and 10 rows/inch, in the colourwork stockinette pattern. When I move to single-coloured stockinette I move back down to 2mm needles to maintain gauge (also a recommendation of Nanette's).

I'm just using Nanette's pattern, and it fits well. This is a 60 st pattern, which fits quite snugly - so 3.25 inch hand width means 60 in cast now I can scale to my husband's handprint for his Christmas gloves! I do find Nanette's cuff to be quite long - too long for my taste. Her's is about 3.5" long and I find 2" is plenty.

The length measurements of the pattern seem to be working fine. I keep fitting my glove on, and a 21st thumb gusset with 24 rows seems to fit me well. This means about 2.5" space from the webbing between my thumb and palm, and where the ribbing of the glove starts.  My handprint shows 2.25". Close enough. The handprint gives me about 1" of thumb "width" (although this isn't a very accurate measurement because I don't know which angle to draw the line at) - which would translate to a 2" or 18-19 st gusset width. 24 st is therefore fine...The distance to where I start my ring finger is good - 1.5" or 15 rows - and then where the middle and index finger leave is good too - another 0.5" or 5 rows. I'm still working on the fingers so no calibration available for that yet!

I'm making the gloves the same way I knit socks - two at a time, magic loop. So far, no issues. Tip for maintaining tangle-less kntting: put the balls of wool INSIDE the glove as soon as you are high enough up the cuff. Use a safety pin or similar to keep the cuff closed at the bottom so the balls don't fall out. Once you are knitting the fingers, feed the wool up through the finger you're working on. This will keep the wool from winding around your work. Works for socks too!

Nanette uses TechKitter's tip for ridding yourself of "icky dots" when making stripes in ribbing:
- KNIT the first row of a new colour instead of the ribbing pattern.
- revert back to the ribbing on the second row

I've also started using TechKnitter's tip for changing colours colours, new to me, which is much better than what I was doing before. I'm not completely accurate with it yet, but I'll get there!

Both of these will be quite useful to me in my sock knitting as well!