Saturday, February 02, 2013

Thumb Attempt #2

I'm still stewing in disappointment that the Cat Bordhi-inspired afterthought thumb won't work. It was just so clean! The thing I really hate about mittens and gloves is darning all the holes at the base of fingers and thumbs.

Since I need to increase the mitten circumference around the base of the thumb, there are two obvious paths. After knitting the finger portion:
  1. Knit a separate, tip-down thumb and join it at that point, then complete the mitten by decreasing down through the palm to the wrist.
  2. Cast on extra stitches, and continue working down the palm to the wrist. Work the thumb last by picking up held stitches and knitting to the tip.
For the first option, I like the I-cord technique from Handknitting with Meg Swanson. (nonaKnits also has instructions if you can't get your hands on Swanson's book).
  • The thumb circumference is about 33% of the hand circumference. Cast on half the stitches on a DPN.(Example: my mitten is 42 stitches around the hand, so the thumb will be 1/3 of that, or 14 sts; I cast on 7).
  • Work 1 row of I-cord.
  • In the second row of I-cord, K1, then repeat [M1, K1].
  • Work I-cord until thumb is desired length.
  • With a crochet hook, find the first horizontal bar at the tip, twist it into a loop, then chain up the ladders to close the gap in your tube.
At this point, you can pop the finger and thumb pieces on your hand to see where the thumb should join and how many stitches meet up. Put the stitches to be joined on holders; you can graft them closed at the end.

Work a decreasing gusset at the base of the thumb stitches as you work down the palm toward the wrist.

Aside from the I-cord thumb, there's not much I like about this. The grafting is a pain, and there are messy holes to sew up at the end. I think working the thumb last is a better plan.


Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

if you're working top-down, you just knit the thumb stitches, no grafting required. I usually do the 'swap' thing where I knit the first and last stitch out of order, so in this case, stitch 14 would be the first stitch, followed, by 2, 3, 4, etc. and stitch 1 would be the last. I found when I did that, it closed up the gap between the mitten and the thumb a little.

yarmando said...

Interesting. But if you don't graft a couple stitches together, won't that put a lot of stress right there where thumb and fingers meet? I'll have to give that a try.

yarmando said...

Note to self: check Knucks and other top-down glove patterns to see how fingers and thumbs are joined.

SeeStars said...

Hey, glad I found your blog. I just rewatched Firefly (for like the 100th time) and I was suddenly inspired to try knitting Wash's sweater. Thanks for all the work you did on the pattern. I'm excited to give it a try!

=Tamar said...

A bottom-up thumb (knitted last) will often have a few stitches filled in at the angle as the thumb stitches are picked up. So as you knit top down, increase a few stitches where you intend to put the thumb; on the next round, knit those with waste yarn. Then slip those stitches back onto the left needle and knit across with the real yarn, and at the same time increase enough new stitches there to equal the amount needed for the rest of the thumb. Then on the way down the base, decrease slowly (as you would have increased on the way up) until you get to your wrist circumference. Knit a few rounds more before starting the ribbing.

=Tamar said...

By the way, have you checked your blog roll lately? At least one seems to have been taken over by a scammer.