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June 30, 2010

The Lone Glove Ranger


Well, it's been completed. My masterpiece, my moment of yarn greatness. I can say in all honesty with a totally impartial opinion that this glove is the finest thing ever created by humankind:

(Action shot with the iphone camera!)

And here it is at rest on the keyboard where sonnets will be written extolling its beauty:


Yes, I finally completed one whole hand knit glove with real fingers! One. One glove.

Soon I will cast on for the second glove, since July in Southern California is such great handknit wool glove weather. And I am casting on with this schizophrenic mess:


You may be thinking to yourself, "Self, wasn't that once a pretty, well-adjusted skein of Noro Kureyon sock yarn? What the hell happened to that poor skein of yarn?"

And all I can say is that some people might be just a teetiny bit on the obsessive side and these alleged "some people" dug all the way through the skein of yarn until "they" discovered what appeared to be a similar colorway to glove #1 and thus made a yarn ball out of that part exclusively, so that glove #2 might have some hope of semi-matching glove #1. "Some people" ... crazy much?

Don't answer that.

One of the questions I've been getting asked about this glove is how to manage it with no ladders. Ladders are those telltale areas on handknit items knit on double-pointed needles where you can see almost a ridge of wider stitches where the DPNs were during construction. For me, there are two ways I avoid this and stay always ladder free:

1) I am a freakishly tight knitter anyway, but I always pull that first stitch on the DPN very tight
2) And most importantly, I move my stitches around the DPNs. A LOT.

What do I mean by moving the stitches around? Let's say you have an item knit in the round and you have four double-pointed needles. Each needle has twelve stitches on it. I would knit it that way for a few rounds then on the next round knit 12 off needle 1, and knit two off the next needle so I now have fourteen on needle #1. The next needle now has ten stitches. Knit those ten plus two off the third needle. And so on. I do this constantly in my projects (hats, especially) so the stitches don't have time to ladder. I did it on these gloves and have ladder-free handwarming.

Now, I'm no expert in knitting but I do love when I have a tip I can pass along. The only other special knittip I can offer up if you're making gloves is a little sneaky secret I learned back when I was making my first pair of mittens. This is a trick I have since used countless times -- I did it on all the baby sweaters and baby shoes I made, I did it with socks, and now I applied it liberally to my gloves.

Here it is:
When a pattern tells you to pick up and knit one stitch (or two) to cover a gap -- say, the gap between fingers-- in my world that one or two stitches would only cover a tiny bit of the gap and would leave a gigantor gaping hole. I can't have a gaping hole! So I pick up as many stitches as necessary to cover the whole open edge and on the next round I knit two together until I have my proper stitch count required by the pattern.

That trick works on necklines, armholes, even entrelac if you've had something go amiss on a square. For these gloves these was a GIANT edge of almost 3/4" long along the thumb gusset where the pattern wanted you to cast on one stitch to fill the gap. One stitch in sock yarn does not fill a 3/4" gap. Instead of doing that I picked up eight stitches and made a perfect closure, then on the next two rounds decreased evenly around so it was a gentle decrease and all was well.

No big gaping holes.

I'm so happy with my one glove! I can't believe I actually created that with my own hands and just some string and sticks. I love knitting. I love the whole process of just figuring it out as you go along, I love yarn that changes colors, I love those tiny toothpick double-pointed-needles. I even love digging throughthe skein like a mental patient and finding the beginning of the orange-purple-green colorway. I love that if you mess up on a project (which I did, several times) you get your ol' brain working and try to figure out how to fix it and in the end you make something that's like wearable art. On one hand.

Now I just gotta cast on for that second glove...

Posted by laurie at June 30, 2010 12:47 PM