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:

 


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Menig coedwig (Woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)

Menig coedwig (woodland gloves)

 

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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.

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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.

Designing

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.

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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.

What have I been doing?

Well, I have been busy in the glove department  –  I have been designing and knitting a pair of gloves, and writing a knitting pattern, and also an article, but all this is for publication so I can’t blog about it, unfortunately.

But I have one or two other projects on the go. I need something that I can just do in odd moments or when I’m with other people (it does happen from time to time) so I found a skein of space dyed merino from Beckside Yarns, Clapham, North Yorkshire that I’ve had for at least a year. Clapham is where we start the walk up Ingleborough so it’s a great location for me – a wool shop and a mountain all in one go. So I have started a garter stitch scarf that has a diagonal slant to it, a decrease at the start of the row and an increase at the end. These are the first few rows:

My garter stitch scarf

My garter stitch scarf

While I was in the same shop a fortnight or so ago, I spotted some Debbie Bliss yarn, very chunky and soft in a lovely colour. This I have knitted into a dickie, that is a polo neck that has a bib on the front of it to tuck down under whatever you’re wearing. The weather is so mild that when I tried it in Wales last week I had to take it off but I can see that in colder weather it will be great. If you want to see some great dickies have a look in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Around which shows one modelled on a bust of Beethoven. This is mine, without any musical interest:

Chunky dickie, front view

Chunky dickie, front view

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Back view, half the stitches cast off before starting the garter stitch bib

Back view, half the stitches cast off before starting the garter stitch bib

 

Back to blogging (and knitting)

Actually, over the last few weeks I have been knitting like mad – two pairs of gloves and a huge pair of mittens – but they are for a magazine so I’m not able to share them, or at least not just yet. So I better stop there; I was about to say what they are like and so on, but that will have to be a surprise. Suffice it to say I have been out of my comfort zone.

So this evening, coming home after spending the day sorting out several boxes of Fair Isle garments at the KCG collection, I went and found my work in progress, the brown and blue gloves for my friend Geof. I had started a finger taking the pattern round and round, but for some reason, that may have something to do with quantum mechanics, the pattern won’t repeat properly. I think it’s due to the ‘jog’ that happens in circular knitting. Anyway, coming back to it after a few weeks I thought it looked a mess and unpicked it. I didn’t even take a photo. I had been planning to take the pattern all round each finger, but I’ve now re-designed so that part of the finger is the same as the palm and part the same as the back of the hand.

Because the pattern does not go all the way round the finger the problem with the ‘jog’ is eliminated.

 

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Back of the hand facing

Palm of the hand facing

Palm of the hand facing

Look at the colour difference in the two images – I have trouble with the camera on my phone but it is so handy – just not always accurate or consistent.

Visiting gloves in collections

This month I’ve been to two collections to see and study the gloves they have. These dates have to be arranged months in advance as the appointments get booked up so I went to Bath in early November to the Fashion Museum there and last week to the V& A Clothworker’s Centre.

In Bath, the Fashion and Costume Museum

houses the early part of the collection which belongs to the Worshipful Company of Glovers.

 

They have a great on line catalogue and from that I was able to see that they have about a dozen, perhaps more, knitted gloves from the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which are, or were, ecclesiastical. These gloves are beautifully stored and conserved, each pair, or sometimes a single glove, has its own archival box and is wrapped in calico within that. The gloves have a hand shaped support inside them that extends from the wrist so the whole thing can be lifted from the box and turned over.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the quality and fineness of the work. The gauge that I was able to measure seemed to be about 10 sts = 1cm, or 25 sts to the inch. Bear in mind that all the yarn was hand spun and dyed without the aid of chemical dyes. The amount of work and skill needed to make these is unbelievable.

 

In their archival box

In their archival box

Wrapped in calico

Wrapped in calico

The gloves

 

The gloves themselves

A close up of the gauntlet, stranded knitting

A close up of the gauntlet, stranded knitting

The earliest examples are certainly hand knitted but later ones are frame knitted and shaped by cutting and piecing the fabric. Many are embellished with hand embroidery in metallic thread, either silver or gold.

 

A couple of interesting points: some later gloves were made as fashion items but in ecclesiastical workshops while two pairs from the 17th century, one ecclesiastical and one ‘fashion’ are very similar.

 

Similar gloves, one pair ecclesiastical, one 'fashion'.

Similar gloves, one pair ecclesiastical, one ‘fashion’.

At the V& A I visited the relatively recently opened Clothworkers’ centre which is in a huge Victorian building just by the Olympia trade exhibition centre. They only have 3 pairs of early knitted gloves so the two hours I had with them allowed me to examine them very closely.

There will be more about these in a later post.