Sunday, July 8, 2007

The infamous thumb wedge

One of the readers of my blog (Wow! I still can't believe that folks read my blog. Nothing daring, racy, x-rated, just plain old knitting content) asked how I made the thumb for my fingerless gloves, pictured yesterday. I used the thumb wedge which particularly suited this pattern since it basically is a 2 purl, knit 3 repeat. I've used that particular thumb pattern since my mother taught it to me. I told you I don't like to mess with things that work.

Knit the cuff to the desired length. At the end of the row M1 by picking up the bar from the previous row between the last knit 3 stitches and the purl 2 of the beginning of the row. Twist the bar and knit 1 stitch into it. Knit row in pattern and when you come to the stitch you just made knit it.
In the following row M1 on each side of the previous M1. Continue to knit in pattern and knit an extra row between increases. Follow this pattern of increasing the thumb wedge until you have reached the desired width of the wedge. I decide if the wedge is big enough by figuring out if it fits loosely around the base of my thumb. In this pattern I increased until I had 19 stitches. (This will vary with the thickness of the yarn.) I decide how long the thumb wedge should be by trying my knitting on. When it reaches the crease between the thumb and the hand, it's long enough. This may mean that you will have to add some rows in which there are no increases. OK, now we have reached the crease between the hand and the thumb. Transfer wedge onto a piece of scrap yarn. (I usually don't have to get out of my chair to find a piece of scrap yarn because there always is at least one on the floor by my chair.)

Knit one round in pattern until you get to the end and cast on 5 stitches (maybe 3 if you use thicker yarn). I used the knit cast on, but you can also do a simple e-cast on. I cast on 5 stitches because it made an additional pattern. Then knit in the round in pattern until you reach the length you want it to be.

On fingerless gloves I like the edge to reach just above the knuckles. Then cast off in pattern. I usually use a needle a couple of sizes bigger to give it a little bit of stretchiness when casting off.

Now the thumb: put your stitches of the thumb wedge on 3 needles and then pick up five stitches on the fourth needle from the five cast on stitches and knit one round. These extra stitches are then decreased as you knit the thumb. Usually they are decreased every other row, but since this is a shortened thumb, I decreased every row, by knitting together a stitch from the edge of the wedge and one from the "bridge" made after I put the thumb stitches on a scrap of yarn.

When you are back to the original stitches of the thumb gusset, you may have to knit a couple of rows or however many it takes to make it the correct length. Then cast off, again with a needle that is two sizes larger than the ones used for knitting the glove. Voila! The thumb!

I apologize for the length of these instructions. I've noticed that there is a difference between written German and American instructions. If you look on the back of an Opal sock yarn label, the basic instructions are: Cast on, knit leg as long as you want it to be, make heel flap, turn heel, make gussets, knit foot, make toes. Weave in ends. The same for mittens. German patterns are not newbie friendly. I think they assume that you (a) know how to knit and (b) you learned by watching your mother, aunt, or grandmother; mostly all three. But this also teaches how to take any yarn and knit a sock, a glove, a sweater without detailed instructions.

If anyone is interested, some place I have a link of measurements for mittens for children, etc. I've also seen instructions for the relationship between palm width, finger length and thumb length. I will gladly dig them up if anyone is interested. Just let me know.

And now two fun links which I swiped from a knit list. You'll probably have to view a couple of things until you reach "Don't let it unravel."

And this one is for an Iphone at a drastically reduced price. In fact, you can knit it from your stash. The only cost is your time.

"Knit on!"

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