During my blog hiatus, I became totally captivated by glove knitting. It started out to be just a diversion as I knitted presents for DH and DS—fingerless gloves—and it mushroomed into an obsession as I proceeded through Pam Allen’s article on glove knitting that was in IK Winter 2003 (sadly out of print, but probably part of the digital edition of the IK issues for that year). In addition to general instructions on making knitted gloves, there’s a follow-up article, also in that issue, on different types of gussets. Here are the alternatives:
I had no idea what sort of gusset would fit best, and having to knit three pairs—the presents plus a pair for me—I thought I’d make each glove with a different gusset and decide which worked the best. Ed and Will’s pairs were just plain stockinette, and I added a cable from Barbara Walker to mine.
Having gone through this exercise, I found that all the gussets fit very well, and I really have no preference as to which is better. The shaped gusset makes it a bit harder to add a design to the top, but there’s a hybrid variety—the only one I haven’t knit—that is shaped on the palm and leaves a rectangle on top. Having the plain rectangle makes it easier to use a stitch motif.
The yarn used in those gloves is Socks That Rock medium, and I got two pairs from each skein. As I knit them, I began to think of how to use up other odds and ends of thin yarn for similar projects. I also joined the Ravelry groups on glove and fingerless glove knitting (where I discovered that my gloves are really “tipless” and that most people use “fingerless” to describe gloves I think of as “mitts”), gaining some advice from experts and looking enviously at the FOs.
The house renovations have, not surprisingly, depleted a large chunk of savings, and my yarn budget this year is essentially zero. Before you start feeling sorry for me, consider that I enhanced my stash last year (before the planks of siding fell off in late summer), and I have yarn available to knit that was acquired starting in the 1970s. In short, this is the perfect year to show some self-control and use that yarn. And, serendipitously, the glove knitting group is having a KAL for stranded gloves, giving me the opportunity to try one of the patterns in Selbuvotter.
The problem was what yarn to use. The ideal yarn would be something like Jamieson and Smith’s jumper-weight yarn. Many years ago, back in the mid-1970s, I visited London and found, tucked behind Harrod’s, what I thought was the most amazing yarn shop. In fact, it still matches the well-stocked LYS today, but by 1970 standards, it was knitting nirvana. The store was opened by the knitwear designer Patricia Roberts, and it appears to be in about the same location even now. And in it were yarns that I had never seen in U.S. yarn stores of the same period, and pattern books with innovative designs. I bought one of the pattern books and yarns for one of the designs. Here’s the sweater I intended to knit:
It is still very pretty, but now that I know more about Fair Isle and stranded knitting, it is quite tame compared to the stranded sweaters I’d like to knit. It has only five colors:
whereas the yarn I bought last year, when I discovered that colors were being discontinued, for Alice Starmore’s Mara has about 14 colors, with much more subtle color gradations. Here’s just a bit of that yarn:
So despite having a sweater’s worth of yarn, I decided to use the Patricia Roberts’ yarn (called Wooly Bear) for the gloves, rather than even think about buying something new. It also seems as if this is really Jamieson and Smith’s yarn because the color numbers are the same as those on my color card. There are only two skeins each in the colors, and I’m sure I can use the natural in some future stranded sweater.
So in the next day or two, I’ll swatch for the Selbuvotter gloves and decide which pattern to use for the KAL, which starts on March 1. Have I forsaken sweater knitting? I guess it seems like it, but, hey, the gloves will be great practice for the stranded sweaters that I still hope to knit this year.