After knitting all those lace jumpers and cardigans, it was time for me to knit something easy and quick. A knitterly palate cleanser, so to speak. As my love for glove knitting is still going strong (even if I haven’t knitted any Reading Gloves lately), I thought some gloves would be the perfect project. I already know that gloves knitted in a stranded design are very warm and are good at keeping the wind out, so this time I’m going to try and find a stitch that can do a similar job. A firm fabric and texture are required, so I have come up with a short list of stitch categories to try out:
1) knit-n-purl texture
2) slipped stitches
3) twined knitting
4) twisted stitches
First up in the knit-n-purl catergory, are Ringwood Gloves. These consist of a very simple pattern: round 1: [ K1, P1 ], repeat to end; rounds 2 and 3: K. A pattern published by Ayles & Son, Glove Manufacturers calls the purls “knots”:
Ringwood is a town in Hampshire, UK, and has a long history of a handknitting industry and in particular, stockings, till the turn of the eighteenth century. However, in the 1850s, trade had picked up again, and this time gloves became more important. These were knitted in either cotton or wool 4 ply, and on fairly thick needles. Ringwood gloves were knitted commercially until the after the Second World War! A rare example of a cottage industry surviving into the 20th century.*
As I’m going for warmth, I’ll forgo the cotton. Instead, I’ve chosen Knit By Numbers in yellow, which is a DK weight merino, knitted on 3.5mm needles to give a firm fabric.
According to Rutt, the original gloves were very straightforward, no gussets or fourchettes between the fingers. However, I’m very stubborn and I didn’t carry out the instructions exactly, as I did add those. I’m afraid Mr. Ayles would not approve. The fabric is very pleasing in texture, although I have not, as yet, put them to the wind test. Also, it is merino wool. Not my most favourite type of wool, but just look at that yellow! I just couldn’t resist. Meanwhile, I’ve set my heart on a slip stitch pattern called Close Stitch for my next pair of gloves, but I’m struggling to avoid ladders, as it requires rounds of purling. Any suggestions?
*) Rutt, R, A History of Handknitting (Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1987) pp. 191-193