As I was working on my latest knitting pattern set, I realized that most of us don’t really think about hand measurements when we’re looking for glove patterns. Since knitted fabrics, and crocheted ones for that matter, stretch as much as they do, it’s easy to assume one size fits all for most patterns. Truthfully, that may well be the case for those of us with average-sized hands. Mine are in the average category when you factor in men’s hands along side women’s. I wear a women’s large or a men’s medium. Occasionally, I need to size up women’s patterns or size down men’s for myself. Mostly, I look at one measurement on the pattern and, assuming it’s close enough, I make the first one, try it on, and adjust as I go.
When I’m knitting for someone else, like my man, whose hands are large even by men’s standards, or for one of my two friends who have particularly small hands even by women’s standards, I don’t have the wing-it option of trying the glove on as I go and adjusting as needed. That’s when knowing how to measure hands and apply those measurements to a pattern matters.
The most important measurement when you’re choosing your pattern is the circumference of the widest part of your hands. That’d be just below or at your knuckles. Many, but not all, glove patterns use that measurement for sizing. If the pattern you want to use is designed for an 8-inch (20.5 cm) hand and your hands measure 8.5-inches (21.5 cm), you can probably make the pattern without much adjustment. If your hands measure closer to 7 inches (18 cm) or 9 inches (23 cm), you’ll need to make some adjustments or find a different pattern.
Me, I adjust the pattern. If it’s a very complex design, I may just try a set of larger or smaller needles. If I don’t need a lot of adjustment, that may do the trick. More often, though, I’ll need to either add or subtract stitches or rows to end with a glove that fits. That’s when the rest of the measurements for hands come in…handy.
This basic pattern includes a tutorial on how to adjust for various hand measurements. If you don’t know how to measure hands, check out the video. Once you know how to measure and apply those measurements to a basic pattern, you’ll be able to start applying them to more complex designs.
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