Grayson part 2

The free pattern for these gloves goes live any day now (ETA it’s now up so here’s the link), so I thought I should say a little bit more about them. They’re an easy knit, with simple, flowing cables, and they work up really quickly. The yarn, Malabrigo Rastita Merino DK, is sumptuously soft; I loved it whilst knitting it up, and each time I slip on my gloves I love it anew. Being kettle-dyed, it has gorgeous graduations of colour, and this Solis shade is almost luminous.

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That said, I would be keen to see Grayson knitted in a solid colour, preferably in a hardy wool with great stitch definition, which would make the cables more visible. I don’t plan to do this myself but maybe someone will oblige!

However, I’m aware that many people dislike knitting gloves. When I began the first cuff, joining it in the round and settling into a pleasing spiral of 2×2 rib, I pondered on the mystery of why gloves aren’t as popular as socks. After all, there are lots of similarities; both are small items that are worked in the round (for best results), both require virtually no making up and are ready to wear as soon as they’re off the needles, both are portable, both can be a canvas for beautiful, intricate designs on a manageably small scale. And whereas socks are hidden away from the outside world in boots and shoes, gloves are on display, giving ample opportunity to show off your handiwork – so by rights they should be more popular!

When I got past the hand section the reason for gloves’ unpopularity came flooding back to me; there is no mystery – it is, of course, the fingers. Socks do not have fingers – they have a heel that needs to be turned, which can represent something of a challenge but is in the end quite satisfying, and they have a toe which is neatly grafted – but they don’t have five fiddly extremities to be knitted one by one. This is definitely what puts off many a knitter, but in my opinion it shouldn’t do. I want to strike a blow for gloves and say to all uninitiated knitters fingers are not that bad, I promise you! In fact, they’re pretty easy! Yes, OK, true, there’s a small amount of fiddling, and often a case or two of ‘dpn jam’, but they’re definitely not as tricky as they look. In fact they’re a bit addictive! They work up so quickly that once you start on the index finger you’ll find yourself rattling through them, and your gloves will be done in no time.

So, if you choose to knit Grayson or any similar glove with fingers I have a few tips:

* Once you start working the fingers you only work on a handful of stitches at a time. Put the others on waste yarn until they’re needed so you don’t have spare dpns or bulky stitch holders flapping about

* You’re instructed to pick up two stitches at the base of the previous finger before you start the next one. Pick these up from the stitches you cast on when you knitted that previous finger, from as close to the base as possible. This will ensure that all your fingers begin on the same level and fit well

* When knitting your fingers in the round use two dpns – it’s much easier and less fiddly than trying to fit such a small number of stitches onto three

There’s really not much more to it than that. Fingerless mitts are practical, but when it’s really cold nothing beats a snug, cosy pair of proper gloves.

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