Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Make Fitted Fingerless Gloves/Armwarmers, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my series on making fingerless gloves/armwarmers. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Part 3 is here.

Part 2: Measuring and Math

Okay, okay, I know most knitters aren't really into math. However, some basic algebra and arithmetic are critical in ensuring a good fit, so there's no getting out of it. I promise to make the math as painless as possible, and will include a step-by-step series of equations that will show exactly how I arrived at the numbers I used for the gloves I'll be knitting as I write this series.

Step 1: Make a hand turkey. Include both your fingers and as far up your wrist/arm you'd like the gloves to go. Make sure you use a big piece of paper for this, as you'll be annotating it constantly throughout the process.

Step 2: Measure all parts of your wrist/hand that will be covered by the armwarmers. You'll definitely want to measure around the fullest part of your upper (right underneath your fingers) and lower (around the base of the thumb) palm, your thumb, and a few spots along your wrists and lower arms (especially if you're like me and have very tapered arms and skinny wrists!) If you're planning on doing half-fingers, measure your fingers. Write these measurements down next to their corresponding parts on the hand turkey you just drew.

Step 3: Adjust measurements for negative ease. This step is optional; if you prefer to have zero ease, feel free to skip this step. I recommend against positive ease, though-- the finished product will come out way too loose. I tend to prefer a 5-10% negative ease for things like socks and wristwarmers. To get that, multiply your measurements from step 2 by either .9 (for 10% negative ease) or .95 (for 5% negative ease). Here's what I got when I made the conversions for my gloves:

  • Pinky Finger: 2 x .9 = 1.8
  • Ring Finger: 2.4 x .9 = 2.16
  • Middle Finger: 2.5 x .9 = 2.25
  • Index Finger: 2.6 x .9 = 2.34
  • Thumb: 2.5 x .9 = 2.25
  • Upper Palm: 7.25 x .9 = 6.53
  • Lower Palm, around base of thumb: 9 x .9 = 8.1
  • Lower Wrist: 6.5 x .9 = 5.85
  • Upper Wrist: 7.5 x .9 = 6.75
I've found it very useful to write both numbers on my hand turkey next to the parts they correspond to. 

Step 4: Convert Measurements into Stitches. This is exactly what it sounds like. Since we found out how many stitches per inch we're getting in Part 1, we can plug that number in to see how many stitches we need to cover each of the parts we've measured. You can arrive at that number by multiplying the measurement in inches by the stitch per inch count you obtained earlier (I got 8). Here's how I did it:
  • Pinky Finger: 8 x 1.8 = 14.4
  • Ring Finger: 8 x 2.16 = 17.28
  • Middle Finger: 8 x 2.25 = 18
  • Index Finger: 8 x 2.34 = 18.72
  • Thumb: 8 x 2.25 = 18
  • Upper Palm: 8 x 6.53 = 52.24
  • Lower Palm, around base of thumb: 8 x 8.1 = 64.8
  • Lower Wrist: 8  x 5.85 = 46.8
  • Upper Wrist: 8 x 6.75 = 54
You'll get some uneven numbers, but don't worry. Round up if you want it to be a little looser, down if you want it tighter. Write the stitch counts down on your hand turkey next to the corresponding parts.

Step 5: Measure the vertical distances between the horizontal measurements. This sounds complicated, but it isn't. In order to make sure the gloves fit right, you'll need to find how many rows you'll need and plan out increases and decreases accordingly. Since you did that gauge swatch already, you can measure how many rows per inch you'll be getting and can plug that number into your hand turkey. For vertical measurements, you'll want to measure between all wrist measurements, between the wrist to the base of the thumb, and from the base of the thumb to the base of the fingers. If you're doing half-fingers, measure each of your fingers and your thumb from the base to where you want the gloved to end. If not, just measure your thumb from the base to where you want it to end, and then measure your fingers (together) from the base to where you'd like the gloves to end. Plot these numbers on your hand turkey. 

This is how your hand turkey should look at the end of the process (click to see the larger version): 

I think it's time to take a break, don't you? Coming soon is Part 3: Converting the Numbers into a Pattern. There will be 90% less math in that section, I promise!

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