I am very touched at how many of you like my fingerless gloves. Thank you for all your very generous comments! It’s fantastic encouragement to someone taking her first tentative steps in the world of designing one’s own knits.
I had thought about putting together the pattern for some of my favourites, but I’ve had an alternative thought: How about I take you through the thought process behind their design? And then give you some tips on making your own unique creation, in the style, shape and size that you like?
I first drafted this post all in one, but mindful of a certain family member’s observation that some of my posts are far too long I have decided to break this into two parts – the first being the thinking behind the design of the gloves, and next, the basic pattern (the workings).
When I first knitted a pair of these gloves, my criteria was long gloves that would hug the arms, not be too bulky under coats, and be super-warm.
This is why the arm section of the gloves is in ribbing, and why I used 3.75mm needles instead of something larger (DK weight New Zealand possum yarn is normally knitted on 4 – 5mm needles).
Secondly, I addressed how I’d like the wrist section to look like. I made a pair of fingerless gloves for another friend once. I modelled this pair on a commercially knit pair I had that I liked. With a minimal welt, it was a long, straight stocking stitch tube with a thumb and finished with another bit of ribbing around the top of the hand. They looked very elegant in charcoal alpaca.
But when she put them on, I was quietly displeased with the way the gloves looked baggy at the wrist, because there was no shaping there. If you wore the gloves deliberately bunched up, it wouldn’t matter, but she pulled them all the way up to her elbows (as I would have done), and then I noticed it! Happily, she was oblivious to my self-displeasure, and thrilled with her present. The matter of the baggy wrist was squirreled away at the back of my mind for further attention.
I had done some work with ribbing and cables on another project, and loved the way the ribbing flowed on to become the cable. I was also aware of how cabling and ribbing draw in a knitted fabric and give it a tighter tension. I decided that with this new pair, I’d put cabling into the wrist, which would give the desired shaping around the wrist where the ribbing ended, and at the same time, function as a design feature.
I could have put in wrist shaping by decreasing a couple of stitches or so around the wrist, or I could probably have knitted them in a narrow size that would make sure they were tight. But as the gloves weren’t for me, I wasn’t confident that my shaping would suit the recipient’s wrist (and I wasn’t about to go and measure her up… that would have been weird in the circumstances).
Finally, the shape of the hand. I really liked fingerless gloves (as opposed to mittens or fingered gloves) because they are very easy to knit, you can curl your hand into them for more warmth, but also use your fingers when you need them.
As hands are mobile and must not be encumbered by bulky bits of fabric (like double ribbing), my intention up to that point was to do a plain stocking stitch hand with a small cable twist at the wrist.
This is where a bit of serendipity worked its magic. The cables I added to shape the wrist looked so pretty that I decided to work them all the way along the top of the hand, which made them look even prettier than I originally intended. And thus, the gloves were born!
Up next – how to make your own pair.