Evil Genius Glove Recipe

Having conquered knitting for the foot, the Evil Sock Genius turns his attention to the hand.

Suggestions and corrections are welcome and encouraged; please message yarmando on Ravelry, or send an email to yarmando [at] gmail [dot] com. 

Target

A method for creating perfect gloves that "fit like a glove." Knit from the fingers down, these gloves achieve a customized fit using a few, simple measurements.

Weapons

    • Desirable yarn. The Evil Sock Genius naturally prefers sock yarn.
    • Some smooth, cotton yarn to use for stitch holders.
    • Long (at least 32 inch) circular needle in the size to achieve your preferred fabric gauge.
      (The Evil Sock Genius uses size 1½, or 2.5 mm.)
    • A second long circular needle, one or two sizes smaller.
    • Paper, pen, pencil, ruler and/or tape measure, calculator.

Special Skills

    • Magic Loop.
    • Turkish Cast-On.
    • Kitchener Stitch.
    • Steely Resolve.

Size Up Your Victim

Trace the hand as closely as possible, keeping the pen at a 90° angle to the paper. (This schematic is in ink so you can write and erase other notes in pencil.) Victim's fingers should be spread, but not splayed.

Measure the circumference of the hand (in inches) below the fingers (held together) but above the crook of the thumb. Record this measurement on your schematic.

Plan Your Attack

Multiply your estimated stitches-per-inch gauge against your victim's hand circumference, then multiply by 0.9 (to factor in 10% negative ease). This is your target number of palm stitches; record it on your schematic.

You can estimate your finger stitches from here. Add 24 to palm stitches, then calculate these percentages:
  • Thumb = 27%
  • Index Finger = 26%
  • Middle Finger = 27%
  • Ring Finger = 25%
  • Pinky = 22%
These percentages are average, and will naturally vary from person to person. Look at your schematic and use common sense to adjust where necessary. If you want to get really exacting, you can try this:
  1. On the schematic, measure the width of each finger at widest knuckle.
  2. Multiply by pi to determine finger circumference.
  3. Multiply by gauge.
  4. Multiply by .88 to add negative ease and account for width of tracing. Round down.
If you add up all the stitch counts for all four fingers (excluding the thumb) and subtract 24 stitches, you should match the target number of palm stitches.

First Finger

Test your plan by knitting an index finger. If it's too big, it can become the middle finger or thumb instead. If it's too small, it can become the ring or little finger.
  1. With smaller needle, Turkish cast-on 3 loops, leaving a tail of 12-15 inches. Knit 3 sts.
  2. Knit round with yarn and tail held together, increasing to 12 sts.

    If gloves will be plain stockinette stitch, knit a couple rounds plain. If gloves will be ribbed (I like twisted rib; it hugs the fingers and lets you be very flexible with gauge), skip the plain rounds.

  3. Continue increasing to reach estimated finger circumference. It's your choice whether you continue to use doubled yarn to make increases, or some other increase method.
  4. Knit (or rib) until finger is past first knuckle. 
  5. Change to larger needle, and work until finger is desired length.
"Desired length" can be measured on the schematic. Be sure to add a bit (about 1/8-inch) for the thickness of the fabric itself.

Stop and assess. Does this fit like you expected? Do you like the gauge? Is the fit tighter or looser than you anticipated? What adjustments do you need to make in your needle sizes, stitch pattern, or stitch counts for each finger?

Once you're confident about your plan, slip this finger onto a string holder, leaving a 10-12 inch tail. Knit the remaining fingers (and thumbs, of course). An Evil Genius might knit fingers two-at-a-time so that they match, and keep the completed fingers organized in a small, divided compartment box.

Join the Fingers

Arrange the first, second, and third fingers (i.e., index, middle, and ring) on your needle, leaving the string holders in place for now. I mark the back-hand side of the ring finger to remind me which one it is and which hand I'm working on. If some of your fingers have an odd number of stitches, position the extra stitch toward the back of the hand.
  1. Begin working across first finger, stopping before the last 2 stitches of the finger.
  2. Drop the next 4 stitches -- 2 sts from first finger, 2 sts from second -- off the needle.
  3. Work second finger up to last 2 stitches.
  4. Drop the next 4 stitches -- 2 sts from second finger, 2 sts from third -- and work to end of side.
Repeat for other side. You now have three fingers connected. Sixteen stitches are on holders between the fingers; you'll graft those closed at the end.

Pinky Notch

The little finger sits lower on the hand than the other fingers. This is an important adjustment to make for a custom fit, so check your schematic to measure the depth you'll need. Knit the rows necessary until you reach the pinky notch.

Join the little finger to your work as above, leaving 8 stitches (4 from the pinky, 4 from the side of the ring finger) on string holders to graft later.

Work plain until you're about 3/4-inch above the thumb join.

Thumb -- Upper Gusset

Before joining the thumb, you'll need to add 4-6 stitches. Over the final few rounds, create a small thumb gusset. Its shape and position can vary, customized for the individual hand. Here are a couple options (assume beginning of round is on the pinky side).

 Right Triangle Gusset
Right Hand
1. Work to last stitch of palm. M1R. Work back of hand.
2. Repeat another 5 times to complete upper gusset.

Left Hand
1. Work all back of hand stitches. On palm, K1, M1L. Work to end.
2. Repeat another 5 times to complete upper gusset.


 Isosceles Triangle Gusset 
Right Hand
1. Work to last 2 stitches of palm. KFB, K1. Work back of hand.
2. Work 1-2 rounds plain.
3. Work to last 2 palm stitches, place marker, M1L, K1, M1R, work to end of round.
4. Work 1-2 rounds plain.
5. Work to marker, M1L, K3, M1R, work to end of round.
6. Work 1-2 rounds plain.

Left Hand
1. Work all back of hand stitches. On palm, KFB. Work to end.
2. Work 1-2 rounds plain.
3. Work back of hand. On palm, k1, M1L, K1, M1R, work to end.
4. Work 1-2 rounds plain.
5. Work to palm, M1L, K3, M1R, work to end of round.
6. Work 1-2 rounds plain.


Put the glove-in-progress and the separate thumb onto your hand, to determine which thumb stitches line up with the new gusset stitches. Slip a safety pin or two in there to hold them together, then proceed with attaching the thumb, leaving the gusset stitches and corresponding thumb stitches on string holders.

Work a joining round, and 1-2 additional rounds.

Thumb -- Lower Gusset

This is your chance to experiment. You have from here to the top of the wrist to gradually decrease the remaining thumb stitches. 

Your first decision is where to stack the decreases. 
  • SSK {thumb sts} K2tog: The standard, "basic" thumb would stack the decrease lines so they shoot straight down the palm and back of the hand to meet at the base of the thumb. 
  • K2tog {thumb sts} SSK: This variation produces a "palm" gusset, that leaves the thumb stitches in place and draws decrease lines across the palm and the back of the hand.
  • Asymmetric: Who says that decreases need to be paired? The asymmetric gusset creates one decrease line which can be positioned anywhere you want -- below the thumb, across the palm...anywhere at all.
  • Unstacked: Why not sprinkle your decreases randomly around the glove, gradually shrinking the glove without any obvious decrease lines?
For more information about thumb gusset configurations, see Pam Allen's Thumb Gussets article from Interweave's "Knitting Daily" site (requires registration). It's for conventional, wrist-up gloves, so read it upside-down.

How quickly do you need to decrease? Kathy Canuel's thumb gusset formula would have you decrease two stitches every 3rd round for half the thumb stitches, then decrease two stitches every 2nd round for the remaining thumb stitches. An asymmetric gusset is typically one decrease every 2nd round. 

An Evil Genius would measure the length, calculate the number of rounds to the wrist, and chart his own path accordingly.
  

Cuff

Pick a ribbing pattern (K2P2 is always a solid choice), switch to smaller needles, and rib to desired depth (2.5-3.5 inches seems about right for most). Bind off (not too tight, but not too loose -- you don't want the cuff to flare).

Patch the Holes

Sorry, this is the tedious part. There are alternative techniques for joining fingers (see nonaKnits for one), but a good Kitchener graft is smooth and neat. Tip: pick up an extra stitch on either side of the loose, held stitches, so instead of grafting 4 stitches to a neighboring 4, graft 6 from each side.

Evil Geniuses gloat.

Laugh your Evil Genius laugh while you weave in your many, many ends.

As you mirror-clone your glove to complete the pair, try not to make two gloves for the same hand (it's all about the thumb placement).

Evil Geniuses credit their muses.

In addition to nonaKnits, Kathy Canuel, and Pam Allen (cited above), inspiration for this recipe also came from Meg Swansen's I-Cord Finger Gloves. The best discussion of glove design and fit can be found in The Glove Guide by the Rainey Sisters. One of my very favorite glove patterns is His & Hers Gloves by Dagmar Mora; her pattern opened my eyes to the world of possibility for asymmetrical gussets (and the forgiving nature of twisted rib). Grateful thanks to my Facebook friends, who measured their fingers and helped me determine average finger proportions.

Yarmando licenses "Evil Genius Glove Recipe" under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  Feel free to use for non-commercial purposes, and if you adapt it, please give credit.