No finger mitts

I think I’ve knitted at least 200 fingers in the last four years and all of a sudden my own fingers are rebelling and saying they don’t want to knit any more just now. Also, I’ve decided I need some nice long fingerless mitts for when I’m volunteering in the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection as the warehouse is cold all year round and I have some gloves with short fingers but they date from about 1980 and are quite hard to get on and off. So I started these in Rowan Fine Tweed to have something simpler to knit but also to try out some patterns for a pair I’m going to knit for my friend Jan. The patterns that I’m referencing are from one of the oldest pairs I’ve seen, which were being auctioned by Bonham’s in January last year. They are dated 1818 and have a very simple small checkerboard pattern.

Bonhams 1838 glovesThe colours are what I am planning for the next pair in my series of fine gloves for family and friends and it was that that made me look at the patterns more closely. Mine are in white (Bell Busk) and turquoise (Monsal dale I think, all the Rowan tweed shade have names of Yorkshire Dales and Peak District villages) and the turquoise will match my down jacket.

So here they are in a really dreadful photo taken on my phone:

No finger mitts

No finger mitts

But the other thing I should tell you about them is that the thumb gusset shaping is asymmetrical. I did this first on the herringbone gloves knitted from a Japanese chart and then again in a pair that I adapted from a vintage pattern. The I tried it on my latest 2 pairs and really like it. So here it is again.

These will be written up for a pattern that will be available on the Knitting & Crochet Guild Ravelry page, so look out for them. All the patterns there have been donated by their designers to raise funds for the Guild and the Collection.

My exhibition at Prick Your Finger

After a lot of planning and preparation, my gloves went on display in the window of Prick Your Finger, the yarn shop and textile space in Bethnal Green. Consisting of three square frames and a display cabinet, making decisions about what to put in was difficult. In the end, I put in the last two pairs I’ve made in a frame with the design work for one of them in another frame. The first ones went into the display case to show the traditional start of the gloves; there are patterns for these in the shop so people might be tempted to buy the pattern and some wool to knit them. Then the last frame was filled with ones that matched the first two frames terms of colour palette.

Here’s some images:


The whole display with a glove for trying on and my book of cuttings

Gloves and design work

Gloves and design work

And now for something completely different: Sal’s gloves, with her hands in them – lots of stripes and darns and mends!

Sal's gloves

Sal’s gloves and hands

The display cabinet is on loan from the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection and is perfect for the space and contents: thanks to the KCG for this.


Yesterday I sent off an entry for a competition but I’m not going to say what or I think it’s bad luck. And it’s also annoying to have to confess if it doesn’t get in. Actually the chances are 50/50 on previous years so we’ll see.

So today it’s hard to get going  because without a deadline I can be quite lazy. Perhaps  unaimed is more accurate as there’s tons of stuff I want to do:
1. Make woven baskets from old maps cut up
2. Bigger cushions from patchwork for the front room
3. Draw – anything
4. Design and knit a waistcoat /bodywarmer from some denim yarn
5. Knit a top from some Colinette merino tape yarn
6. Finish the crochet blanket I’m more than half way through
7. Start a crochet blanket from my mother’s hand spun yarns

8. the hexagon crochet blanket I’m doing with my daughter

9. A new jumper for my partner on the knitting machine

plus there’s always knitting and crochet guild things to do and an exciting American project on the horizon.
Maybe that’s why I need a day off? Since starting to write this I’ve had several days off and am now feeling more like tackling some tasks .. need to finish the armhole trim on a hand spun sweater I started altering last summer first of all.
So there’s 9 projects to be going on with not to mention designing the show that I’m going to have at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green. That starts on 13th March. That is a week on Friday so not long now although it’s all being planned out on the spare bed!

Another pair underway

I’ve got several pairs on the go at the moment which is perhaps why I feel as though I’m not getting anywhere. But today I darned in all the ends of two pairs and they are ready to be pressed and photographed so I feel that I can show the next pair which are for another friend who lives in Wales.

Ribs with dates and initials

Ribs with dates and initials

The design inspiration for these is the sea around West Wales where the person they are for spends a lot of time, walking, camping, birdwatching, looking for porpoises and just generally hanging out. She also said that her favourite colours are turquoise and blue. As I have a self imposed rule to only use stash yarn, I have had to choose the closest I have which is a dark blue that is somewhat greenish and a couple of shades of greeny – blue 2 ply used together. However, I am not confident I have enough for the whole gloves so I have introduced a navy for the darker contrast in the thumb section. (Will appear in later pics).

The ribs are two colour stripes rather than two colours in the rib which makes them rather un stretchy and as for the last pair, I wanted a good amount of give here. The little wavy line is another watery reference!

I’m actually up to the fingers now so need to take another picture to catch up. Perhaps tomorrow?


Work in progress

I’m up to the fingers on the current pair, one of the set for friends who live in Wales. The patterns are organised in horizontal bands, not vertical ones, as usual and this is proving a different design problem. On the one hand (no play on words intended) this is easier as plain rounds can be worked and stitch numbers altered but on the other, it’s more difficult to make design decisions as I’ve not done any like this before.
Here they are:



Menig coedwig (Woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)



Thumb detail

The thumb is asymmetric as this seemed most appropriate for the shape of my friend’s hand.
This image, from the cover of a book in Welsh about influences on women writers, is a textile by Amanda Wright whose studio is in St David’s, where I go on holiday and near where the inspirational images for these gloves were taken. I can’t remember how I came across it, but I just love the glove and the patterns on it, and all the other images too.
Book cover with Amanda Wright's textile

How to do the cuffs?

I’m starting the second in my group of gloves for my friends who live in Wales. I can now understand the thought processes of ‘traditional’ knitters who knit the same item repeatedly as I knit more of these gloves. It is very easy to just cast on the same number of stitches with the same yarn and needles, and knit the same type of cuff. Many of my gloves have the two colour single rib as on most of the Mary Allen ones.
So now I’m knitting for a larger hand than mine – this friend is over 6 ft tall and her hands are wide, as are her husband’s. His have a double rib with single row stripes and this way you get lots of stretch. The last pair I knitted for a friend, the blue and brown, below, caused comments about the difficulty of getting them on and off with the two colour rib – there is little stretch in it.


The colour effect I want for these is mixed, as my inspiration for this pair is the sea off West Wales with its mixed and shifting colours. So I think I’m going with the coloured striped rib to aim for that effect.

This has made me look at the cuffs on the Sanquhar and Yorkshire gloves; they are usually two coloured, although there are some Sanquhar that have single row stripes on a double rib. But the Scandinavian ones have lace effects, stripes and chevrons in, as can be seen in these here at Nordic Knitting, a site that sells gloves from Estonia.


The designing is the part that I say that I really enjoy about my glove making, but I’m not sure that’s true! There are always problems, but I do love to feel as though I’m solving them. And the feeling of making design decisions that are just mine, well almost just mine, is very satisfying.

The plan is to knit three pairs in Jan – Feb as I have done the last couple of years. These three are going to be for friends who live in Wales so I have collected together what I think are suitable images, their hand outlines, initials, dates, and colour preferences. So far, so good. I would like them to work as a group, but am struggling with that. One pair is brown and green, another blue and turquoise and the third, natural colours. So the chances of them relating through their colours is slim, if non existent.

Here are some of the images relating to the green and brown theme both as individual images and at the bottom as a slide show. Both have advantages I think. Looking at these gave me the idea to stick to green and brown but to use different shades at different places, rather than changing to another shade when I’ve run out as I did in several pairs last year.

DSC_1018 DSC_1019 DSC_1029 DSC_1030 DSC_1031 DSC_1032 DSC_1033 DSC_1034 DSC_1035 DSC_1038 DSC_1039 DSC_1045 DSC_1046 DSC_1047 DSC_1048 DSC_1049 DSC_1057 DSC_1058 DSC_1059 DSC_1060 DSC_1066 DSC_1069 DSC_1070


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I think I’m there with the second pair too, as that is blue and turquiose, by request. I have just one ball of a dark greeny-blue and am putting it with two strands of 2 ply wool. both of which might qualify as turquiose. In deciding not to buy any new yarn for these glove I think that I make life difficult for myself, but it is also a good discipline.