Gloves for Birthday Man

Published on Thursday December 3rd, 2009

Mr. G got a pair of fingerless gloves (actually a tweed set from this same pattern that I never Ravelled) for his birthday last year. He loved them. He wore them regularly. Alas, their little threesome eventually parted ways, as so often happens with gloves and their wearers. One glove struck off to make its fortune elsewhere and was never seen again. I told my husband I’d knit him a new pair, and he some ideas for improvements: a longer, snugger cuff. Short fingers. (I grimaced inwardly about the fingers, since they demand time and fiddliness out of all proportion to their total stitch count, but this is True Love, people. True Love doesn’t balk at fingers on gloves.)

I bought the yarn last March in Seattle at Acorn Street Yarn Shop, Rauma Finullgarn in a rich heathery brown with hints of red. (It matches Mr. G’s new beard.) I figured I’d make up the pattern as I went. Seed stitch rib for a handsome, not too clingy cuff, a variation on Ripple Stitch for the back of the hand.


I consulted with Katrin about the finger placement, as she is the reigning expert. Here’s the formula she suggested for setting up the fingers:

1. Divide the total number of stitches for the hand by 4.

2. Subtract 2 from the little finger and add them to the number for the pointer finger.

3. Put the stitches for the little finger on waste yarn, cast on 3 stitches to bridge between the little finger and the ring finger, and work two more rounds on the remaining stitches.

Then you work one finger at a time, putting the live stitches for the others on waste yarn and casting on 3 between fingers. Katrin’s reasoning for adding the stitches subtracted from the little finger to the pointer finger is that the pointer is your largest finger. She’s perfectly right. However, the middle two fingers are actually getting a total of 6 stitches added to their count because of the cast-on between fingers; the pointer and little fingers only get 3 added. So the pointer winds up at +5 while the middle and ring are both +6. So next time I might actually subtract a stitch each from the middle and ring fingers’ allotment to add to the pointer, too. It wouldn’t be missed on the palm side.


Obviously, we need photos of the gloves ON Birthday Man. He was napping when I took these, trying not to come down with the creeping crud. (Knock on wood, it seems to have worked.) Must remember to bring the gloves and the camera on Sunday when we make our usual stop for coffee after choir.

Lovisa Armwarmers

Published on Saturday March 7th, 2009

A quick and easy remedy against a chilly spring, these armwarmers can be readily knit from stash oddballs or leftovers from other projects. A dash of stranded colorwork and a faux button detail add eye-catching style. Download the PDF here: Lovisa Armwarmers

I used two different alpaca yarns, Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight (the natural color) and a skein of unmarked burnt-orange I bought at La Droguerie in Paris. Both have been in the stash for some time. The buttons were leftovers, too–from one of the first baby sweaters I made when I learned to knit. They were supposed to go on a matching cap that I never made. My Lovisas have already seen a lot of wear, since they let me bring my 3/4-length shirt sleeves back into wardrobe rotation. The garter flap above the thumb keeps them nicely in place, but it’s easy to slip my thumbs out and free my hands, too, which isn’t true of my other fingerless gloves and is turning out to be a useful feature. I’m planning other color combinations. Who doesn’t have an odd 50 or 100 yards of sport or DK leftovers lying around in every shade? I’m never able to bring myself to throw them away. I could see following the same recipe but making stripes if I’m not in the mood for stranded colorwork, or if I have even shorter bits to use up. Before you go off to paw through your own stash, a few doggie outtakes:


Published on Thursday March 5th, 2009

The faintest gleam of sunshine while I was taking my lunch break yielded this:

There’s been enough interest in this “design” from folks who’ve seen me wearing my new armwarmers around that I’ll be writing up the pattern. This should be a totally foolproof process as long as I can manage the color chart in an attractive computery way, so I hope to do it over the weekend. In case you want to go stash diving in anticipation (and this is a truly stash-divey project), these are knit with sport-weight or DK alpaca. I used Frog Tree’s (warning: before blocking this stuff was shaming me as a knitter–my stitches were cattywampus and totally ahoo at the needle joins, thanks to the 2-ply construction and loose gauge. Blocking solved everything, so don’t give up in despair as I would have if this hadn’t been such a spontaneous project.) and La Droguerie’s. I’ve got loads of both skeins leftover, so these long gloves don’t take much. Rowan Felted Tweed would make a delicious substitute; I’ll definitely be making myself a pair in some leftovers I’ve got on hand.

Also, the Minaret Opera Gloves I started in Malabrigo Sock Cordovan (be still my heart and look out my husband — I could totally elope with this yarn):

Delicious rich brownness not captured here… the sun had already gone away again.

At last…

Published on Tuesday September 23rd, 2008

… I can show you one of my favorite designs from last spring: opera gloves, in a pattern I called Minaret for the graceful shape of the traveling stitches on the back of the hand. They don’t show up on the Knit/Purl website yet, but the pattern is available if you call the store (or stop by, if you’re in Portland). The official Shibui photo you’ll see if you follow the link shows the stitch pattern very nicely, but I like these pictures Mr. G took when I wore them to a gala we attended in May.*

Here you can see the pretty “mouse teeth” (as it’s called in German) picot edge. These take two skeins of Shibui Sock in Ink (or whatever color complements your fancy opera duds).

While you’re checking out the new Shibui offerings, make sure you take a gander at Sara Morris’s Columbia Cabled Pullover. My friend Patrick is modeling it, but I put it on at the shoot and wanted to steal the sample, it looked and felt so good.

*Someone’s going to ask about the necklace. It’s Victorian costume jewelry – I’m told it would have been attached to the neck of a gown rather than worn separately – and it’s been in the family so long nobody knows whom it belonged to originally. I inherited it from Granny, but I never saw her wear it. It was probably her grandmother’s.