A month or so ago while at the weekly knitting gathering we have at work, I was knitting away at the laptop cozy when one of my non-knitting co-workers strolled up to us and said, "Ok, so my hands get really cold during the winter when I'm smoking outside, so I'm going to go ahead and need one of you to knit me some gloves with those little flappy mitten things. Ok? Great. Thanks." I gave it some thought and said, "Sure!" I'm not a fan of smoking, but I AM a fan of someone buying me yarn to knit with, and this is what S. promised to do. Everybody wins.
So I found a few mitten and glove patterns, we had a Very Serious board meeting to go over the options, we haggled, we dealed, we combined features and came up with the Ultimate Smoker's Mitten Glove Thingy. This is essentially based on the Cigar pattern from Knitty.com (click HERE for the pattern), but to minimize the freezing of digits not being used in the act of smoking, the only exposed fingers are the index and middle fingers of the right hand. Both thumbs and all the fingers on the left hand will be covered. Then to even further increase the warmth, I'm going to cover both gloves with a mitten flap. In S.'s words, "This is a smoker's dream come true."
Off we go to Windsor Button to pick out some yarn. After much hemming and hawing on S's part and much calculating of gauges and converting of meters and feet on my part, we finally decided on Plymouth Indiecita Alpaca Knitting Worsted Weight wool, which is 100% Peruvian Alpaca. We were both immediately drawn to the softness and warmth potential of this yarn. S. picked out a lovely dusky blue color with a sandy beige for the stripes--the two principle colors of his wardrobe, apparently. The only real disadvantage to this yarn is that it is not superwash, so I reluctantly informed S. that he would have to handwash these gloves or they would felt into doll's gloves. He shrugged and said, "Then I just won't wash them." Problem solved.
Back at the office, we made traces of his hands and I set to work. I had to futz with the needle sizes a bit to get the right gauge, but ultimately settled on a Size 4 (the Cigar pattern calls for a Size 5). I absolutely love knitting with this yarn--it's like knitting with spun cloud. I also decided to knit these using a long circular needle and the "Magic Loop" method rather than double-pointed needles. For an explanation of the Magic Loop, go HERE. So far, I'm about halfway done with the first (right) hand. I decided to do a purled ridge along the back of the hand where I will ultimately attach the mitten flap--picking up stitches has never been my strong point, so I think the purled stitches will help meet me halfway. Here are some pics of the work-in-progress:
Look at that GORGEOUS thumb gusset (this is where you increase the stitches to make room for the thumb. These stitches will eventually get taken off and stitched separately). You'd think I'd know how to do a decent increase by this point in my knitting career, but I seem to have to learn anew every time. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it though, thanks very much.