Saturday, February 4, 2012

Glovely thoughts

I celebrated my birthday week the other week by eating an enormous amount of cake, watching all of Arrested Development again, and knitting with some decadent yarn.

Backs of hands

It's Camelspin by Handmaiden, 70% silk and 30% camel. In the skein it feels heavy and sumptuous and it has some of that distinctive silky scroop. The camel portion of the yarn fuzzes up subtly with handling and is a different colour from the silk, so the finished fabric has a soft iridescence to it and changes colours at different angles.


What the yarn doesn't have is any memory or stretch whatsoever. Normally my feeling would be that it's inappropriate glove yarn for this reason; gloves tend to sag unless there's some built-in negative ease, and a resolutely unstretchy yarn won't give and bounce back the way a springy wool will. And if you favour non-ribbed cuffs like I do then unstretchy silk gloves are definitely going to bunch and sag on the palm side of the wrist, where the forearm narrows just below the base of the hand.

I won't claim that these are totally perfect despite all the reasons they shouldn't be, but I will show you the countermeasures I took to mitigate the yarn's natural tendency to make terrible gloves.

Palm and back

The very edge of the cuff has some bands of reverse stockinette because I was thinking about ganseys. The reverse stockinette bands want to pull in lengthwise even though the yarn would prefer to stretch out and never come back, so I added two more bands on the palm side at the wrist to delineate the palm from the cuff. When I wear them and bend at the wrist, the bands take up the slack created and absorb the bunching. (Score.)

The other countermeasure is that I picked a stitch pattern with a lot of squish and stretch. Each zigzagging purled stripe does the same thing as the reverse stockinette bands on a smaller scale, so the fabric ended up feeling supple and stretchy after all. The plain stockinette palms feel in danger of sagging when I wear the gloves, but the sagging is held in check by the clinginess of the backs of the hands and the bands at the wrists.

The fingers took a few tries to get right. Even an eighth of an inch too short felt constricting and awful, so I erred on the side of making them slightly too long. (Too short means that I couldn't ball my hands into fists; too long means freer motion!) I put little finger stitches on hold about three eighths of an inch below where I began the rest of the fingers, again to mitigate sagginess in the palm.

Anyway, the subtle fit problems and measures to counteract them flee my mind as soon as I put them on, because the fabric feels beautiful against my skin. I would never want to knit anything not meant to be worn against the skin out of this yarn; what a waste of that downy halo it would be. I do want to knit another pair in a tightly-spun and bouncy wool yarn, though.


Leanne said...

Very clever! They are clearly very good gloves.

cauchy09 said...

i like the fist-making metric for good finger length. you never know when you'll have to rumble in your camel/silk gloves! heh.