Last year, I tried my first crocheted fingerless gloves. I used “Hermione Shell Mittens” by Andrea Denby from Ravelry’s pattern database. I struggled with the shaping, which was probably my own beginner-mind stumbling along more than anything, but in the end I liked the overall lacy look of my finished gray gauntlets.
Deep in my basket of odd-balls, I had a bright pink yarn that came from I know not where. It had no label or tag, and showed no sign that it had been reclaimed from some previous project either. It’s been jostling about in my basket for several years at least. I honestly can’t even remember when I first noticed it in there. My best guess is that it was part of some art project when the boy was wee. Probably, it’s an acrylic blend, probably a sport yarn, and it added up to just 1.5 ounces (45 g). I decided it would make a perfect set of crocheted gauntlets.
After paging through The Crochet Stitch Bible: The Essential Illustrated Reference Over 200 Traditional and Contemporary Stitches (Artist/Craft Bible Series) by Betty Barnden awhile, I settled on a starburst pattern. That, as it turned out, took a lot longer to adjust than I’d imagined. Starburst is a fairly simple crochet pattern that aligns a set of double crochet stitches all made into one stitch with bauble stitches on the next row that radiate from that same single stitch. The effect is like a star burst or sun. I started working with groups of 9 so each finished starburst had 18 radiating stitches. They looked lovely, but I struggled with sizing the overall piece. Twenty stitches around made the piece too tight and thirty stitches around made it too loose no matter the hook size.
When I shifted to smaller starbursts, 10 stitches total made with groups of five, I found a happy medium. I settled on a 6.0 mm hook after trying 3.75 mm, 4.25 mm, and 5.0 mm with a total of 25 stitches for the cuff portion. I was expecting to finish these as a simple pair of gauntlets, but I had more yardage than I’d reckoned on so they became a set of lacy pink fingerless gloves with a very simple thumb finish. Compared to the gray set I crocheted last fall, these are lighter and maybe a little lacier, but they’re also far simpler in their finishing. Had I enough, I would have worked up a thumb similar to the one on the gray set. Given how light and lacy these are, the fully exposed thumb actually works quite nicely, giving these a playful, almost innocent look.
One of the shaping challenges I ran into with the gray gloves was the lack of stretchiness of crochet. There’s some stretch, but not like you find in a knit-purl ribbing like the basic ribbing found in many knit fingerless glove patterns. Crochet is flatter, at least the lacy kind of crochet I’ve been working with. The palm of the gray gloves fits terrifically, but the cuff is just a tiny bit loose. I found when I had the fit I liked in the cuff for my pink ones, the palm was too tight, but when I had the palm the way I liked it the cuff was a bit too loose. I solved the problem by adding 5 extra stitches, or one starburst, to the palm when I closed the top of the gap for the thumb. That gives my gloves just enough shaping to make them feel just right.