Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lace-up Fingerless Gloves

Let's back-up a bit this week.  In addition to a few scarves, I also made a pair of lace-up fingerless gloves as a Christmas gift this year.  These gloves came from a knit book called AlterKnits by Leigh Radford

Very creative knit pattern book

This book I received as a gift one year for my birthday.  I've had the book for about four years and this is the first project I have made from it.  There are a ton of cute and cool items to knit or otherwise create with wool that it is definitely worth checking out. 

The yarn I chose for this project was Encore by Plymouth Yarn (75% Acrylic / 25% Wool) in a peach color. First, they instruct you to knit a gauge swatch.  You know how I feel about gauge swatches, so I sort of make one then just go with the needle size recommended, which was a size 7.  The cool thing about these gloves that make them different than many other gloves, are that they are longer up the arm and lace-up with a ribbon.  Wait until you see how nice they came out.

So, right away I make a mistake.  The pattern starts at the arm and you knit on straight needles for 6" or so.  In the arm part, on each side you do some yarn overs (yo) and create eyelets for the threading of the ribbon.  I missed the first eyelet on one side.  I did not discover this until I was, oh, I don't know.....

Can you read the tape measure?

Let's see, what does the tape measure read?  Yup, five inches along.  Well, I did what any insane knitter would do:  I ripped it out and started over.  I had to!!  I could not lace it up, in good faith, through a random stitch and give it as a gift.

Rip, rip, rip!

By this time, I had the eyelet pattern repeat down pat.  Once I got myself back on my feet and knitted the required inches for the arm, they instruct to transfer to double pointed needles (dp), aka double points, so you can knit in the round (join the two sides together to form a tube).  Double points are knitting needles that are short and have a point on each side and come in sets of four or five.  I have several sets and I hate using them.  You have to evenly distrubute the stitches over three or four needles and use the empty one as the second knitting needle.  I may have lost you but that is okay.  They are confusing and I can't ever hold them right.

But, alas!  There is a cure for the dp blues.  It is called Magic Loop.  You get a pair of circular needles in a length of at least 32" long and you do this thing where you have loops on both sides of your knitted tube.  This technique eliminates the "ladder" effect that alot of knitters get with the dps.  I'm not really going to try to explain, just click on the link above to see a video from YouTube.  It is only three (3) minutes long and it will convert you!!

Me, Magic Looping!!

This part is shaping the hand portion and the thumb.  The below pic shows that the join of the sides is seamless and you cannot tell (no laddering).  Laddering is when the joining stitch is slack and is not uniform with the rest of the stitches, but is consistent going up the side and looks like rungs on a ladder.  I think I am getting too technical, so forget all this!  Just let me show off my seamless stitches and be done with it! :-)

Yeah, Me!

Nothing else disasterous happened while knitting the rest of the gloves.  You work the hand up to the  knuckle, making a spot for the thumb.  Meanwhile, the thumb stitches are placed on a holder to be worked later. 

WIP (Work in Progress)

Once the thumb was knitted and yarn tails weaved in (I had to sew up a hole that formed between the thumb and the hand, so I just used the tail that was from the thumb), I had to model to show the almost complete fruits of my labor.

The rolled-edge is cute, huh?

So, when I got to this point, I just wanted to be done already!  But I wanted to block the gloves so the stitches will lay flat and to tame the eyelets so they will be straight and flat, not curling.  Here are some things you need when you block something:

Take the time to block, you will thank yourself

A flat surface (I used a wooden tv tray), a spray bottle with water, towel, and pins.  In this case, I did not need the pins.  The pins help set the item to a measured size; I did not need to size the gloves.  I wet the gloves on both sides until they were damp, but not soaking wet.  Rub the water into the stitches (this, to me, is like feeling a wet dog...yuck), then position the gloves in a single layer on the towel.  I folded the towel over the gloves, but left the rolled edges hanging out.  I did not want the rolls to be flat.  So I had essentially sandwiched the gloves between two layers of towel.

Towel sandwich

Then I placed some heavy items on top to weight it down.  Then I came back the next morning and took a look.  The gloves were dry and set.  On a side note, yes, that is a Dexter board game!  I just got it for Christmas from a very close friend and I played it on New Year's Eve.  The game is won by collecting your suspect game tokens in a mini black garbage bag and moving your piece around the board until you get to the marina to "dump" the evidence.  Yes, a bit demented, but if you are in love with the show, you would get a kick out of the game concept.

So, here are the final results of my lace-up fingerless gloves:

Now, how do you lace the ribbon?

I am pleased with how they came out.  I did have an interesting time actually lacing up the ribbon.  I wanted the ribbon to actually show but could only think of how a shoe was laced.  I figured it out, eventually. 

In my opinion, this was not a difficult project, considering that they are pretty much a half a glove (no fingers), but it still took me at least two weeks to complete them.  It actually spanned about a month, but I did not work on them each day and I visited MA for 10 days in December, so I finished them up when I got home during Christmas weekend.  I did not give these as a gift until New Year's weekend, so I had a bit of breathing room.

No matter what, it is always hard for me to part with my creations.  I may not have come up with the pattern or the idea, but I take pride in the finished piece, so I end up wishing I made the item for myself!  Selfish, I know, but I did give the gloves away, so it is not too selfish.  (I hope).

Now that you see how I got through a pattern, with a few hiccups.  What hiccups have you encountered in your latest WIP?  Let me know, take pics, send them to my email by clicking the envelope link below.  I would love to show off your pieces!

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