Let's talk about hand-knit gloves. I've finished the first of the Foxhall gloves for Scott and I now have some strong feelings about this particular handmade objet:
Look, gloves are really no more difficult than socks. In fact, I think they might be easier (which is to say quicker), but they are way more freakin' fussy. For starters, you can't just make them. You practically have to take a 3D cast of your gift-recipient's hand. Or sit next to him on the couch. Even my 2D (with measurements) map - recommended by the excellent pattern writers of the Foxhall gloves - was kind of useless in the end. Happily I have Scott's actual hand to measure from every 3 minutes (note: not a popular tack. Whatevs, when he has bespoke gloves, who'll be laughing last?)
The one thing that the pattern might have clarified a bit, especially since, IMO, there are scarce online resources on this topic, is how (technically) fourchettes work. I'm no expert, but I can say that the first 2 finished fingers were, um, not exactly profesh.
My problem wasn't following the directions - and they were quite clear. It wasn't in understanding the why of fourchettes, (they give a bit of extra width at the base of each finger which has implications for depth). My problem was in deciphering the how. As in, how do you construct these things so it doesn't look like a toddler did the knitting. If you've never seen a fourchette being constructed - and everything's a mystery - being instructed to cast on fourchette stitches (and maybe pick up a few extra stitches which you'll then, one row later, decrease - to mitigate mini-holes at the front notch) isn't so meaningful.
Where you add those extra picked up stitches (and which of the new stitches you decrease) is key. If you decrease at the front-side edge of the finger "crotch" (what I did the first couple of times) you get some nasty looking finger-bases. Hey, I made it through, and I improved fairly quickly, but it's only because I brought other skills to the activity.
Let's just say, I'm only showing these off once they're blocked. And I reserve the right to hide the pinkie side of the left-glove (first knit) under the right.
On an interesting side note, I did not knit one stitch with DPNs. I know, I've failed at skill-gaining. My brain just could not make it happen. What really cinched this path, however, was watching a video of a woman (a serious knitter) making fingers using DPNs. Lord, it was such a mess I could scarcely believe it. Even this knitter said: I know, this kind of looks like a mess. But it's not that bad!
Yeah, right. It actually offended my sense of order.
On the plus side, I figured out that it's really quite easy to knit the entirety of a glove using magic loop. With nary a ladder, without needles poking into already finished fingers and getting stuck on the stitches on the holder. If anything, I'm more hooked on magic loop than ever I've been?! Which is good, I guess, since I don't seem to have an alternative (yet). I will say it helps to have excellent joins at the (circular) needle where it meets the cable, and a cable that's quite malleable. And natch, one improves with experience. But it's in no way difficult. Simply fussy and a bit slower than other knitting in the round (or slightly larger small-diameter knitting).
Now, if that's the worst of it, I guess I shouldn't complain. I mean, half my glove is pretty nice! And maybe the whole of the next glove will be too.
What do you say?
PS: OMG, I LOVE this pattern:
|Starry Starry Night by Suzanne Bryan|
I have no interest in doing all kinds of challenging colourwork (never mind on socks) but these amazing things are so compelling, I have to put them on the list. Never mind when they get made. I clicked on the button to buy the minute a saw it.