flying gloves


So, lately I’ve been making quite small things, maybe to contrast with all the big things I have in my head and on my needles that linger unfinished and unloved (sorry, ufo dudes). One of my favourite things came off the needles last week after four days of almost constant knitting and reknitting:

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It’s MagKnit’s Evangeline fingerless gloves! Well, sort of. I adored the cables running up the back of the glove, but I sort of hated the finger/thumb part. I tweaked the pattern a bit and came up with something I really loved, so I decided to write up a little tutorial in case anyone else was looking for a mod for this pattern.

I didn’t use the recommended yarn, or even a yarn that was the same weight as the recommended yarn, so already I was knitting by the seat of my pants. I still had almost a skein and a half of Handmaiden 4-ply cashmere (the same yarn I used to make my Odessa) and I really wanted to make gloves with it. So I grabbed some 3.25 dpns and cast on. My hands are fairly small and the cashmere is fairly stretchy, so using Michelle’s numbers worked fine for me, but it would have been the easiest thing in the world to add (or subtract) any multiple of 4 additional stitches to improve fit.

The first real mod I made, though, was to make the root of the cables match up with the ribbing:

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This is a fairly small, nitpicky thing, but it makes me happy every time I look at it, and it was piss easy to do. All I had to do was transpose the pattern over one stitch. That is, after I finished the last round of the K1P2 ribbing, I took the marker off the needles, knit one more stitch, and replaced the marker. This means that the first two knit stitches of the cable pattern occur directly above two knit stitches. A little thing, but a nice thing.

I wanted these gloves to extend quite a few inches beyond my wrists, so I knit four complete repeats of the cable pattern before starting hand shaping. You could wait ten cable repeats before you started hand shaping, or begin the shaping as soon as you started knitting the cables. The point at which you start the hand shaping depends on how many stitches you want to end up with for the thumb, and how long (or short) you want the wrist portion to be, but it’s probably easiest just to start at Row 1 of a new cable repeat. As you can see in this picture, I moved my round marker back three stitches, so the increases start six stitches from the first cable stitch. This centres the pattern more precisely on the arm, and keeps the increases looking nice and neat.

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The thumb shaping is exactly the same as described in the Flying Gloves “pattern”: increase one stitch per pattern row, and knit all stitches plain each plain row. Although I only wanted twelve stitches for the thumb, I knit four cable pattern repeats (four repeats x four increases per repeat = 16 extra sts) to give myself some extra ease across the hand, since my gauge was so tight.

Another thing I did to give myself some extra ease across the hand was to perform a few increases on the other side of my hand:

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I started these at the beginning of Cable Repeat #7 (aka Repeat 3 of the hand shaping). I stopped increasing here at the same time as I stopped increasing for the thumb gusset, but if you felt like you wanted some more ease for your fingers, you could easily keep increasing here until you were satisfied. Anyway. Eight extra stitches here plus the four extra stitches that were left over after separating out the twelve stitches for the thumb equals twelve extra stitches of ease across the hand, which added to the 40 stitches I originally cast on makes 52 stitches total. It’s important to note that 52 is divisible by 4; however many stitches you increase, be sure it is a multiple of four so your final ribbing turns out nice and even!

The last mod I made to the pattern was to knit a couple extra repeats on the fingers to make them nice and long. I wanted gloves that were kind of more like pseudomitts; the fabric comes down to shield my fingers from the wind, but it doesn’t get in my way when I have to dig around for something.

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And if it’s not too cold outside (or I want my fingers free, like for driving), I can fold the ribbing down and the fabric doesn’t get in my way at all:

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I picked up four extra stitches for the thumb, and topped it off with some ribbing to make it easier to flip down. Cast off the fingers and the thumb with something extra stretchy (I used the sewn bind-off method, outlined in this great knitty.com article)

Aaaaaaaand that’s about it! I’m not sure if anyone cares, but at the very least I have some “notes” written down in case I ever want to knit these again the same way. And I might; they’re really cute, and very, very easy. And the cashmere makes me feel like a princess every time I wear them! I’ve got two more skeins of Handmaiden cashmere that I don’t have plans for yet; maybe there will be some more modded Evangelines in my future…!

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According to Keanu Reeves, Buddha was a perfumed, decadent prince who decided to try and find enlightenment by becoming a dirty, hungry acetic, until one day when he saw a barge floating by with a boy trying to learn how to play a Nepalese lute (or something). The teacher was all, “Don’t pull the strings too tight; they will snap. But don’t let the strings loosen too much either; they will not not play a clear note.” Keanu Reeves suddenly realised he the path to enlightenment could probably include some basic hygiene, and maybe even dinner now and then. Hurrah! The Middle Way was discovered!

And that’s what this final Flying Gloves pattern represents. A middle way. These gloves are neither too short nor too long. They are neither too tight nor too loose. They might even bring Chuck Norris to his knees. This is how powerful they are. AND…they only take one skein of Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe. A pair of pretty awesome gloves for about $15. I feel ready to take on some koans right about now.

MAHAYANA FLYING GLOVES: A PATTERN TO LEAD YOU TO ENLIGHTENMENT

I got my new package of Koigu in the mail on Friday, and since then I’ve been working out this pattern to be knit from just one skein of Koigu Kersti. I got out the crappy diet scale again and wound and re-wound my skein until I got two balls of exactly 25g each:

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Then, mercilessly, I bisected them and started working on a new prototype glove.

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As before, the formula for figuring out how many stitches to cast on is 6x+1, where 6 is the number of stitches per diamond and x is the number of pattern repeats you need in order for the gloves to fit around your wrist. The 1 is that pesky “extra stitch” at the end of the pattern, and necessary for the pattern to work. In this version of the gloves, x=5. So you will eventually be working with 31 stitches per row.

But odd numbers are not so good for ribbing. If you have pretty skinny arms, go ahead and cast on 30 stitches for your ribbing. For the rest of us, I would recommend casting on 32 stitches instead, for greater ease. Remember, ribbing contracts naturally, so unless you really do have noodley appendages that would make the Flying Spaghetti Monster weep with pride, you’re probably better to cast on 32 stitches. Then join your stitches in the round with a k1p1 rib for 10 rounds.

After the 10 rounds of ribbing are complete, it’s time to start working with the beautiful Leyburn Sock Pattern. But before you can start working in pattern, you have to either k2tog (if you cast on 32 st) or make 1 (if you only cast on 30). Whatever you do, it will be your first stitch in the pattern. Complete 4 full repeats of the pattern for a wrist bit that’s 12 cm (4.5″) long, or fewer if you don’t want long fiddly gloves. Similarly, if you want the gloves to extend further past your palm over your fingers, you should probably cut out a pattern repeat here, or else you won’t have enough yarn. This is all that’s left over after completing a glove from a half-skein of Kersti:

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So. Whatever path you have chosen, it has led you to the thumb gusset. The instructions here are similar to the ones in the original Flying Gloves pattern: for the right-hand glove, start at the beginning of the pattern. Make a stitch using the “make one increase” (m1) technique, and place a stitch marker after it, preferably in a different colour from the marker marking the start of the round (this is the “thumb marker”). Then, knit 12 st plain, and place a new marker of any colour (this is the “palm marker”). Now you’re at the natural start of the pattern. Knit the back of the hand in pattern. You will m1 in the stitch just before the thumb marker in every round that you “do” something (as opposed to the rounds knit plain), and the 12-st stretch between the thumb marker and the palm marker will always be knit plain from now on to avoid snagging things with the loose threads when you’re wearing the gloves.

It takes three repeats of the pattern to complete the thumb gusset. But an easier way to keep track is to count the stitches between the start marker and the thumb marker; when you hit 12, you’ve done enough. Knit the last plain round in the pattern, and then slip the thumb gusset stitches off the needles and onto some waste yarn. Now it’s time to join the back of the hand to the palm. Don’t worry if your join is a bit sloppy; you’ll take care of that when it’s time to knit the thumb.

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Remembering to keep knitting the palm plain, complete one repeat of the pattern. If you knit four repeats for the wrist, you won’t have enough yarn to do more than one repeat…maybe another half-repeat, especially if you skimp on the ribbing, but I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t guarantee anything. Remember, you haven’t knit the thumb in yet, so you can’t really be sure how much yarn you have to play with at this point. Finishing with 5 rows of k1p1 rib (remember that you’ll have to either m1 or k2tog again to get an even number to rib with) and a nice loose bind-off brings the gloves up juuuust to the base of my fingers, and after comparing these gloves to the longer ones I made in the first version, I have to say I find the shorter ones to be less awkward. After all, fingerless gloves are not designed to keep your fingers warm; they are just meant to warm the blood at your wrist’s pulse point, and I have to say these gloves really do the trick. I feel myself getting warmer during the photoshoots, almost to the point of discomfort (hey, I made these babies just in time for summer, what can I say?) However, if you prefer more finger coverage, you will hopefully have planned for it and left a repeat off the wrist for just this purpose. Go ahead and complete another half repeat of the pattern, or a full one if you’re feeling cocky (or you dislike ribbing). Then finish off with as many rows of ribbing as you like (I’d recommend between 2 and 5).

Now for the tricky part…the thumb.

There are lots of ways to deal with a thumb gusset and make the stitches tight and pretty. I don’t really know them, so I prefer to make it up. After much trial and error, I have determined I quite like to pick up my stitches right from the body of work itself:

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You can pick up as many stitches as you like. I recommend between two and four. Two is a bit stingy, unless you have really slender thumbs, although four is pushing it a bit towards excess, really. However, if you compromise with a really tight bind-off, four can be a reasonably comfortable number. I probably should have picked three this time, but I didn’t. I’ll let you know if the universe collapses in on itself (but so far, so good).

I start my round on the opposite side of the picked up stitches. To emphasize the tightness, I knit the pickups like m1 increases, which seems to work pretty well. Knit 4 plain rows, then bind off according to your preference. Because my methods are slapdash and improvised, there are usually still some holes and gapes and such between the thumb and the top of the palm. I just snip off a nice long tail and then weave it in in such a way that the imperfections sort of disappear as if by magic. Ta da!

Now, remember, to do the left hand, you’ll do the opposite; that is, you will knit 12 st plain, place the palm marker, m1 to start the thumb gusset, place the thumb marker, and then start knitting in pattern. As with the right hand, you will always m1 on the side closest to the palm.

Aaaaaaaaand…I think that’s it! These gloves should fit anyone with a lower arm circumference of approximately 18cm (7″) and a similar palm circumference. I consider myself to have relatively strong (read: thick) forearms and quite wide palms for the relatively small size of my hands. But as I said, this pattern leaves you with a little bit of wiggle room to customize it according to your needs, and when you consider that each glove only takes a couple of hours in front of the tv to whip up, it’s worth giving it a few gos to get it right for you.

As I said in my inaugural post, I am a newbie to both blogging and pattern-drafting, so if anyone actually gives this pattern a go and discovers a fault in it (or a hack for simplifying it), I’d love to hear it. And I’d love to see pictures of FOs, too! I know it’s totally the wrong season for gloves, but it’s actually quite a relaxing project, and besides, it’s never a bad thing to have some attractive (but cheap and cheerful!) one-size-fits-most emergency gifts lying around, y’know? I’m already hunting around for more Kersti…

Good luck!

As this is my very first post to my very first knitting blog, I might as well admit right away that I knit by the seat of my pants. Despite being a relative newbie to the craft, I just can’t make myself knit from a pattern. This is not to say that I invent every knitting technique or motif I use; on the contrary, I scour the internet and magazines for things I like, then combine a bunch of things together and see what comes out.

The latest thing to emerge from this morass of heavy ideas and light skill is what I have just now dubbed my “flying gloves”, in an homage to my seat-of-my-pants knitting style. As soon as I chose the name for this blog, any chance I had of pretending not to be a pun-loving nerd was shot anyway, so here we are. Craft blogs are supposed to be less personally revealing than normal ones, but I can already see I’m going to have trouble toeing this line. Ah well.

The Flying Gloves!

flying gloves
Materials:

2 skeins Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe, #335 (for slightly shorter version, only 1 skein is necessary)

4.25mm DPN

stitch markers

When I started knitting these gloves, I had no idea how much yardage they would take, so I knit each one from a different skein to be on the safe side and resigned myself to leftovers. In the end, I had about three-sevenths of a skein left, so if I had planned more carefully I probably could have knit two *quite long enough* gloves from only one skein of Koigu. What I eventually did with the leftovers was knit a pair of shorter and smaller gloves for my 12-year-old cousin. If you can think of something to use a near-skein of Koigu for after you’re done, go ahead and knit the pattern with as many repeats as I did. Or heck, throw in a few more of your own and make the gloves even longer! If, however, you are a yarn miser, cut out three pattern repeats and they’ll be plenty long enough. Here, I even did the math for you:

1 full skein of Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe = 50g

1 long glove, made with 10.5 pattern repeats = 27g

2.5 pattern repeats (that is, the little leftover ball) = 3g

therefore, 1 long glove, made with 8 pattern repeats = 24g, with 1g of safety

All these measurements were done with my mom’s old-and-slightly-crappy not-digital “Diet Scale”, so please take them with a grain of salt. I will be knitting up another couple of pairs of gloves for my other two girlcousins when my new Koigu arrives, so I’ll make adjustments as necessary. However, to skip right to the pattern:

FLYING GLOVES PATTERN,
FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN’T INTO THE WHOLE BREVITY THING

Cast on 36 stitches. As always, being careful not to twist stitches, work 10 rows of k1p1 rib in the round. You can cheat and do eight if you want, but I will admit to you right now that I only did eight the first time and ended up frogging more or less a completed glove (minus the thumb) because I decided the rib was too short. I recommend ten rows.

Now it’s time to start working with the Leyburn Sock pattern. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that although the diamonds are written in groups of 6, there is an extra stitch at the end of the pattern. So you’ll need to do a “make one” increase just before you start. This will be your first stitch in the pattern. Depending on how much yarn you have/how brave you are, work either 3 or 4 repeats of the pattern (24-32 rows).

When you think your wrist is long enough, it’s time to start doing the palm. Knit to the end of a pattern repeat (or in the middle of a pattern repeat, if you’re feeling saucy), meaning that you will be ending on a plain knit row. Let’s start with right-hand glove first. When you start the new row in pattern, begin with a M1 stitch, and place a stitch marker after it (preferably in a different colour to the sm you use to mark the beginning of the row). This is your thumb gusset increase stitch marker. So now you have

(starting stitch marker) (new stitch) (thumb gusset stitch marker)

Then knit 12 sts plain. At the end of the 12 plain stitches, place another stitch marker (any colour; this section is easy enough to distinguish). Then knit in pattern to the end of the repeat. Knit the next row completely plain, just as it calls for in the pattern; don’t make any increases this round. Only make increases in the rows you “do something” (ie slip or pick up). I found increasing on the side closest to the palm/furthest from the thumb made the nicest V shape. Once you have 12 gusset stitches, take them off the dpns and slip them, live, onto waste yarn. Then join the back of the hand and the palm together in the round, continuing to knit the palm plain and the back in pattern.

At this point, it’s up to you how far you knit. For the long pair I made, I knit two and a half pattern repeats before going back into the rib, and I sometimes feel that was a bit excessive. You can totally get away with one or 1.5 pattern repeats. It depends on how far you want it to come up over your fingers, really; the higher the finger cuff extends, the more useless your fingers in it are. So keep that in mind. After you’ve gone as far as you want in pattern, finish off with a few rows of k1p1 rib (I did 5) and bind off fairly loosely. Congratulations! You’re ready to do the thumb gusset!

For the thumbs, slip the stitches back onto the dpns and, additionally, pick up two, three or four stitches from the body of the glove (depending on your thumb size; three is a sensible compromise. The thumb gusset doesn’t take long to complete, so you can re-knit it if you choose your number of pickups unwisely). Knit plain in the round four or five rows (depending on personal taste/comfort), and bind off fairly loosely again.

Weave in all ends, and enjoy!!

Remember, when doing the left hand, the instructions are reversed. So what you would do is, when you get to where you want to start the plain palm, NOT make one BUT INSTEAD knit 12 plain, place stitch marker and make 1. Then add the other stitch marker to mark where the pattern repeats begin, and knit away. Again, increases look best on the palm side rather than the thumb side, so you will knit 12/make 1/knit plain to pattern/knit in pattern.

Hope that makes sense even slightly. I’m sorry I don’t have a lot of pics for this, but I’m eagerly awaiting a little package of Koigu from which I will be knitting more gloves, so maybe I’ll come back and add some in later. I didn’t have a blog when I was making these, so I didn’t take any in-production shots.

Handy tip: You can always tell where the pattern begins because it’s the only point where you’ll see two columns of knit stitches separating the diamonds. See?

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I put a few more pics up on my Flickr page with some descriptions, so you can look there too.

My first craft blog post. It only took me…all day to create. So worthwhile.