It’s been a very glove filled weekend. I made great progress on the fair isle gloves I started for my brother…until I realized the gauge was a whole stitch per inch tighter than I had calculated originally. So off the needles they came.

My beaded lace gloves, however, are meeting with far more success. Today I picked up the stitches for the thumb. There are lots of ways of doing thumbs for gloves or mittens. The method that probably results in the most “natural” fit is to increase stitches on one side as you knit from the wrist to the thumb. However, gloves made in this fashion are, in my opinion, not as nice looking as gloves where a little anatomical correctness has been sacrificed for the sake of appearances. And unless you are making a pair of incredibly tight gloves, the finished product should still fit quite well.

I use a method that I like to refer to as an “afterthought” thumb, because it’s similar to an afterthought heel. I’m fairly certain there’s a real name for it, but I’ve forgotten. When knitting the main part of the glove, you will need to knit the stitches where the thumb is intended to protrude in scrap yarn:


Use some scrap yarn that is roughly the same thickness and that you can easily distinguish from your main yarn. If you want to live dangerously, you can omit the scrap yarn and simply cut directly into the main yarn later. Personally I prefer to play it safe.

Next, pick up the stitches directly above:

and below:

the scrap yarn. Again, if you prefer, you can do this step after removing the waste yarn, but I find that I always lose at least on stitch.

Finally! It’s time to get rid of that unsightly scrap yarn. You can either cut it out or simply unravel the scrap stitches:

My scissors are a bit big relative to this fine yarn so I unraveled.

You should now have a hungry thumb hole staring up at you:


To minimize holes at the base of the thumb, pick up a stitch at the end of each needle (4 stitches total). Some people prefer to pick up more stitches and decrease later. I find that 4 is usually enough and that any remaining holeage can be fixed when weaving in the ends. Finally, transfer a few stitches onto a third needle:


And now you are all ready to knit the thumb!

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