Gloves – avoiding the thumb gusset hole

owl_mittEarlier this month I knitted my first ever pair of gloves. Well, OK, fingerless mitts – but I had to start somewhere, right?

Before embarking on a new project, if possible I always check other Ravelers’ project notes to find out the problems they faced. On many of the glove notes, the words “thumb gusset” and “hole” seemed to crop up together a lot – clearly this was a big problem! However I set the thought aside and got on with my own mitts, knowing I could come back and look for solutions later.

So, I was knitting away and got to the part where you put the thumb stitches on a holder and start knitting round the palm of the glove. I noticed there was a good centimetre of unknitted yarn spanning the gap, just like a dropped stitch – at which point any sensible knitter would have gone back to Ravelry to find a solution. Did I? Nope, I decided to work it out for myself.

thumb_1

Ugh – this length of yarn will be a hole unless we do something about it!

No doubt others before me have come up with this one already, but I wanted to record the method for my own reference and (let’s be honest) savour a small but sweet victory over a common problem!

Caveat: I won’t deny it – this is a somewhat fiddly technique, so go slowly and carefully!

No-hole thumb gusset

In addition to your usual yarn and notions, you’ll need a locking stitch marker, and a crochet hook the same size as your needles or a little smaller.

  1. On the first round after you’ve put the thumb stitches on the holder, knit normally and don’t worry about that length of yarn spanning the gap, because you’ll fix it next round.
  2. On the second round, knit as per the pattern until one stitch before the gap (see photo, above).
  3. Slip the next stitch onto the crochet hook and pull a loop of the “gap” yarn through, as if you were rescuing a dropped stitch, and pop it onto your left needle.

    thumb_2

    Take up some of the slack yarn using your crochet hook

  4. Knit that stitch as normal. Note that you haven’t added a stitch horizontally, only vertically, so it won’t affect the width of the glove body – in fact it will give you a bit more ease in the thumb gusset.
  5. If there’s still some slack, you’ll need to repeat the process with the next stitch, the one on the far side of the would-be gap:
    1. If you’re doing this at the beginning of a round (e.g. for a right-hand glove), put the previous stitch onto the stitch marker, because your needle is liable to slide out of it whilst you work the next stitch. If it does, don’t worry – just slide it back into the first stitch when you’re ready to knit the second one. You can even leave the marker in place until you’re done.
    2. Repeat steps 3 and 4. Be careful, as it may be a little tight.
    3. Remove the stitch marker (if used).

    thumb_3

    With one stitch worked into the slack, the hole is already a lot smaller!

  6. Finish the round as normal.

If you still have a non-knitted length of yarn across the join you can repeat this process on the next round, though it probably won’t be necessary.

Either way, you should now have a nice solid thumbhole with no loose bits of yarn that will turn into holes!

The other thing I did was to pick up an extra stitch or two* when starting the thumb, regardless of how many the pattern said – enough, anyway, to ensure no holes. Also I worked a round of stocking (stockinette) stitch at the base of the thumb, even though the pattern said to go straight into single rib. To my mind ribbing doesn’t make a solid enough foundation for a join like this, and besides, if you’ve had to take up extra stitches it’s easier to decrease back down to the correct number in a plain stitch before you start the ribbing.

So, that’s how I knit a thumb gusset with no holes – hope you find it useful!

 

* Sure, you’ll have a thumb that’s a stitch or two wider at the base, but that’s the natural shape of most people’s thumbs, so I feel it’s no bad thing.