Monday, October 1, 2007

Felted Fingerless Gloves

Patterns for fingerless gloves that are meant to be felted are not very numerous. However, there are some instances in which someone’s hands need protection from serious cold but they still need finger dexterity.

My daughter plays in her high school marching band at all the home football games. We live in Minnesota and the football games can be quite chilly. Enter felted fingerless gloves for maximum wind and cold protection that still enable her to play her instrument.

I drew up this pattern to knit gloves in a large size with needles too large for the yarn so I could felt the gloves down to my daughter’s hand size.

I used Kraemer Vintage 2006 Limited Edition DK weight Alpaca and size US 7 needles. This yarn was so soft and cushy I think I may just have to try this yarn in a non-felted fingerless glove too.

In the photo I show both gloves, the one on the left is in its prefelted state and the one on the right is felted. I felted the glove manually, without a washing machine. I feel manually felting gives me the best control over the resulting size.

I like them. I may have to make myself a pair for early spring/late fall yard-work. And I just may have to make a few more pairs for coaches' gifts....


Angelika said...

That's a great idea. Is there something like a felting ratio or is it more like a trial and error kind of thing. I wouldn't want them to get too small or still too big.

Hilary said...

I was wondering the same did you know exactly what size they would turn out?

They are so cute -- and look very warm and fuzzy!

knitbysue said...

It it was mostly trial and error. I made my first pair with a worsted weight and the resulting felted glove did fit but was too thick. So I went to DK weight and refined the pattern. I would knit one glove and felt it to size and then modify the pattern and knit the next glove.
I did measure several areas of the glove before and after felting. And those measurements may help you out: The length of the glove (measured in several areas) averaged a decrease of 25 % but the circumference of the fingers and hand (and cuff) averaged a decrease of approx 15 %. But that shrinkage may be unique to the particular brand of yarn I used. If you want to try to make a pair I would recommend that you knit at least 6 x 6 inch swatch, measure it and then felt it and measure it again. That will give you your row and stitch shrinkage for your yarn. I didn't do that but I was willing to go with the trial and error and knit an extra glove or two until I got it right. If you want to knit and felt two gloves perfectly then felting a gauge swatch would be a good idea.
The DK yarn that I used specified a gauge on the label of 5.5 sts/inch on US 5 needles. I used US 7 needles to get a loose, floppy knitted fabric. My gauge with 7's was 4.75 sts/inch and 6.75 rows /inch.
As you felt check the progress often so you don't end up with something too small.
I manually felted mine -- Alternating between a container of hot water and cold water. It took about 30 minutes. For about 25 minutes it looked like the glove wasn't doing anything and I would be stuck with a glove that would fit Paul Bunyan but it seemed to felt and shrink in the last 5 minutes. I did use the handle end of a wooden cooking spoon to poke through the fingers occasionally so the fingers wouldn't felt shut.
Another tip: if you aren't sure of the length of the fingers then error on the too-long size. Once the knitting is felted you can 'trim' the fingers shorter with a scissor. I hope you to make a pair. It was kind of fun.