Saturday, March 6, 2010


My sister, Emily, is one of the most Amazingly Fabulous Knitters You Will Ever Meet.  She is constantly modifying complicated sweater patterns to better fit her, or give a more flattering neck line, or whatever.  Then she blogs about it, very matter-of-factly, describing how she somehow managed to knit this complicated sweater and get it all done in a week's time, in spite of also having to plan and execute some volunteer after-school art class thing for her kids' school, and while also entertaining visiting in-laws.  She is a great case study in persistent, incremental action yielding great results.  She is also a fast knitter.  You can read her blog here (and you should, but not until after you finish reading my blog.)

In addition to running a household with a husband and 3 kids, she also has a nice little business dyeing sock yarn, which she sells at her Etsy shop.  Not just any old sock yarn, but amazingly beautiful sock yarn, called Sophie's Toes Delicious Sock Yarn.  It is, in fact, delicious.  As you might imagine, she is also quite expert at knitting socks.  I have tried knitting socks and just don't have the knack for it.  I have made a grand total of 3 1/2 socks and don't really have the desire to make any more of them.  This is a shame since I enjoy knitting and have a really great source for some of the best sock yarn ever.

At long last, I think I have discovered a workaround for this problem:  Gloves!

Some knitters really get into making socks.  I'm not sure why I don't like making them. For the most part, socks are relatively simple in construction, although the heel can be tricky.  Hand-knit socks are really wonderful-feeling on the feet.  Gloves, it would seem, with all those fussy little individual fingers to knit, would be a pain and take forever to make.  Yet, as much as I dislike making socks, I love making gloves!  I think one of the main things I enjoy about making a glove is studying the geometry of its construction, and fitting the glove to the hand.  In the end, I guess I'm just more into hands than I am into feet.

Glove 1.1 actually started life as the beginning of a sock.

Glove-in-progress:  December, 2009

I started it as my first foray into sock knitting, and my first try at knitting on dpn's (double-pointed needles, for you non-knitters.)  I started it years ago and promptly lost interest.  Then I picked it up again last summer, when I was between projects, and started adding more colors.  This made it a little more interesting to work on, and I made progress.  I think I was somewhere in the dark green section when I decided to try making it a glove instead.

 Glove 1.1 in C minor.

The construction of this glove is pretty crude:  It is basically a tube of 2x2 rib divided up into fingers at the end, with a simple tube knit perpendicular to the hand, for the thumb.  I left the opening for the thumb as I worked my way towards the fingers, and then came back and knit it later.

Glove 1.1.  Note how the thumb looks 'stuck on'.

For Glove 1.2, I improved the shape by increasing the number of stitches into a series of V's along the thumb and little finger.  I had never done this kind of increase before but I just made it up as I went along.  It worked relatively well.

It's hard to take your own picture of your own hand.

These were knit using Cascade 220, one of my favorite yarns, on size 4 needles.  I have a fair amount of Cascade left over from some scarves and experiments with felting that I did when I first learned to knit.

Even though they don't completely match, they share some of the same colors, and they fit about the same, so I consider these two to be a set, even if they aren't strictly a pair.

After these two, I decided to dig into some remnants of Sophie's Toes that Emily had given me.  Since her yarn is a much thinner strand than the Cascade 220, I had to adjust the pattern from worsted weight and #4 needles to sock weight and #2 needles.  I started Glove 2.1 while I was in Tennessee last month, and used the plane ride back to L.A. to work out the increase at the wrist and write it out as I went, so that I could repeat it accurately for Glove 2.2.

 The Airplane Chart

Here is Glove 2.1 in progress.  Doesn't that Sophie's Toes just look delicious?!  This colorway is called American Patchwork.  All her colorways have great names.

 In-progress, on the needles, taken 2/10/10.

See how the thumb shape is integrated into the hand?  Big improvement over Glove 1.1.  After working the thumb I decided to add an accent color, because I liked the blocks of color from the first two gloves.

Can I get a big hand for Glove 2.1?!

Perhaps I should incorporate brass reinforcements at the knuckles!

Also, notice how the middle and ring fingers are slightly more blue than the rest?  I ran out of American Patchwork and had to substitute with another color.  It isn't really very noticeable.  I showed it to my best friend, Deb.  She works as a costumer and has a fierce eye for color.  She zeroed right in on it.  "It looks nice.  How come those fingers are a different color?"

After reviewing Glove 2.1, there will be still a few more mods before I consider the pattern to be perfected.  Namely: figuring out the finger division.  Thus far I have had a hard time dividing the hand stitches among the 4 fingers, because a) I always want the rib pattern to relate visually to the fingers in an elegant way,  2) thus far I haven't really worked out the finger stitch division in advance, I have waited until I got there to figure it out, and 3) you can't just divide by 4 and call it a day, because the pinkie and index fingers, each being on the outside, use up more stitches.  It seems like you would be able to, but it doesn't work.

Now I have started Glove 2.2.  All three of its predecessors have been slightly loose-fitting in various ways, so I am starting with 56 stitches around as opposed to 72.  This will knit up much quicker.

Glove 2.2 in progress: Koigu just isn't as much fun as Sophie's Toes.

But, I am running low on Sophies Toes, so I started it using another sock yarn.  Big mistake, it hasn't been nearly as much fun.  I tried to liven it up by introducing a contrasting stripe, but it's not really helping, and I don't like how it looks.  So, I will probably frog it and start over.

Part of my problem is that this brown Koigu just isn't a very good color, but I have a lot of it.  I have heard of a technique where you knit something using a bunch of leftover, mis-matched yarns, and then overdye it to give a uniformity to the color (any guesses as to who told me about that?)  Maybe I'll make a pair of gloves in the bland brown and then get someone I know, who is expert at dyeing, to help me fix the color...

To be continued...


  1. Suggestion: Socks with toes. That would rock my socks off. (or on?)

    Happy knitting.

  2. OK, I came over here from Ravelry (AntBee over there) after looking at your glove 1.2 and drooling over it. So, I guess it's alright if you're still perfecting the pattern. I have lots of patience! You done yet?