How I Stopped Being Afraid of Gloves…and Why You Should Too

Okay, I’ve been knitting for thirty-plus years, and have long prided myself on being able to make anything I choose (though whether I choose to make anything is always a given). This philosophy, by the way, has carried me through my rejection of a number of other, often more lucrative, career choices. You do what it takes to get by.

Anyhow. Gloves. I’ve come to a time in my life, with the younglings and all, when gloves are more practical than mittens. Fingerless gloves are even more practical, but regular gloves are still useful, and warmer than having my fingers out in this teeth-cracking cold. But I always looked at all those fingers and thought, yeah, I’ll never pull that off. Though I get how to knit in the round on doublepoints, and have even done it many times, I just couldn’t picture how that would happen. And even if I could stand it, wouldn’t it be tedious, especially in sock yarn? Most things are tedious using sock yarn. I see fingering yarn and size-0 needles, and I admit it, my eyes glaze over. The chances of my finishing the things were somewhere between nil and nada.

I was wrong. It’s easy if you can already knit in the round on DPNs. Here’s how you can do it too.

1. You’ll need a set of six double-points, and having a full range of sizes on hand may save time. Knit Picks DPN sets are great for this. With gloves, you need to make row and stitch gauge. Otherwise, they’ll be too long. This tip courtesy of Becky Herrick. You wouldn’t think a quarter-millimeter matters. It does. Do a swatch. My pattern called for 2 mm needles and I finally landed on 3 mm needles. I knit tightly.

2. You’ll need large and small stitch holders, and/or needle point protectors because while you knit the fingers, you need to have the hand stitches on hold at the front and back. It’s easier to keep those stitches on 2 of the 6 DPNs and knit off of them as needed, and then use the other four DPNs to knit whichever finger. If you cover your points, you won’t be cursing the dropped stitches after you tried the gloves on. Short circs in the right size work also.

You can see the held stitches at the knuckle and the needles on the ring finger in progress.

3. Follow the pattern one step at a time. True of all knitting, but especially true when there are a lot of steps. These are just like mittens until you get to the knuckle, and then you knit the fingers from the pinky inward, doing the thumb last.

4. Take a lot of measurements to make sure they’ll fit. There’s less margin of error with gloves because the fingers have to fit individually. Measure each finger for length, measure the hand around at the knuckles, and measure the side of the hand between the wrist and pinky. Measure the fingers as you knit.

5. Don’t worry if at times, the project resembles a grumpy porcupine while you’re knitting the fingers. That’s normal. Try to keep the stitches reasonably snugged up at the joins, especially where you cast on for the between-fingers stitches, and just carry on until the finger stitches lift up and away from the hand. It will only take a few rows.

Held stitches at the palm and thumb with waste yarn.

6. Use as pointy needles as you can stand. I’m finding this helps a lot when knitting into the cast-on stitches on the insides of the fingers. The ring and middle fingers, particularly, are comprised of back-hand stitches, palm stitches, and cast-on stitches to connect them. Cast-on loop stitches can be hard to knit into on the first row. I tried with Brittany Birch, Inox, and KnitPicks Harmony Wood, and the last are the pointiest in the group.

That’s all there is to it. This is only knitting, after all. Now, go forth and knit gloves!

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2 thoughts on “How I Stopped Being Afraid of Gloves…and Why You Should Too

  1. Funny story about that yarn. I had this in my stash–it’s Cascade Heritage–for years, so when I went looking for something to make the gloves, I thought it would be perfect and I could use up most of it. I swear to you, not two weeks later, when I was at Fiber Loft, I was browsing sock yarn and stupidly bought two more skeins in the exact same color. I’m going to see if she’ll let me exchange them. And I’m cataloguing my stash!

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