November 10, 2014

Autumn Diamonds Gloves

Found this pattern for Autumn Diamonds gloves when looking around Ravelry for half finger glove patterns. I filed it away for later use because the only drawback to crochet, is that it is not knit. There are just so many darn cool patterns for knit and some of the most intricate and coolest, I think, are Fair Isle patterns. So when I saw someone actually make something close in crochet, I HAD to try it out.

I got a coupon in the mail for yarn, went to Joann's, and found something suitable. It calls for a 3 weight yarn and I went with Patons Silk Bamboo in Sapphire, Stone and Ivory. These are 50g skeins and it should have been enough to do both gloves in the pattern as called for, but you in fact need more like 100g of the "base" color you want to use. It is slick and shiny and I thought it would feel lovely on. Obviously, I have chosen different colors than the pattern... One thing to note, the pattern calls for a 4mm hook, but I used a G marked 4.25mm**. That I thought would help keep my stitches looser to be able to work into.
Paton's Silk Bamboo
I had to slightly rework her chart colors to make sure I knew what I was doing. It was a pretty simple matter in Numbers (Mac excel) after I changed the grid size around. And it gave me an idea of how they might turn out looking. I decided to do the blue as the base and have the pattern in the ivory and stone.

This pattern, right off the bat, gave me a lot of trouble and I couldn't get two rows in without having to rip it out. The start is a chain and sc (she used the term "UK dc" which is the same as a US sc) into it like a lot of patterns. It is worked in the round as well. The knit look of these gloves comes from something called the Waistcoat Stitch.

Now perhaps it is the yarn I am using, but I could not find the spot on the post of the single crochets to work into. You have to work into the v of the post to make the waistcoat stitch. I watched several videos and studied all her pictures and just couldn't find it on my work. Perhaps I work too tightly too. Or my G hook has too big of a return and not a pointy enough head...

I started over the fourth time and decided to take a nod from my crazy gloves and start with a foundation row single crochet, rather than chaining and working into it. It certainly made my first row look much nicer and neater. When joining this foundation row you need to use your tail to close that first chained edge to get the circle nice and neat. After the foundation sc row, I did another row all the way around of sc, joining with a slip stitch and chaining one at the end. This way I had a clean row of sc to try to work the waistcoat stitch into.

This time it was a bit easier to see the v of the post, but it was still a gigantic pain to get the hook in, let alone pull up a loop. It was super slow going. I got through the first full design with little trouble, but switching colors every three stitches made the work even slower.

Still, I had no idea how tough it would be until I got into the rows of the diamond design. By the first rows of white I had a lot of trouble making sure I was switching colors on the right stitches. I printed out my sheet to try to make sure I was doing it right. It is tricky since only a few of the rows in the diamond pattern are repeating color change wise.

After I did the first full set of three white rows, I decided to simplify the pattern immensely.

I really like the scaled down version. It seems cleaner, and I love that the negative space of the blue looks like hearts. Obviously I am now worried that by removing so much of the secondary stone color that I will run out of blue yarn.

The fabric you create with this stitch is so thick and stiff, it is kind of amazing. there are virtually no holes or spaces as in most crochet fabrics. I was also worried that carrying the yarn along the inside would make it tough to put on and wear, but you change color so frequently that is it tightly controlled. And the places where you don't change color gets bound up inside the next row of stitches.
35 rows in on the left, right is what the inside looks like
At this point I had competed row 35 and now had to start working on the thumb gusset , while maintaining the pattern and switching into rows of stone color accents. For the thumb area, you are adding a stitch at the beginning and end of each row. This meant that at the full width of the thumb, I had 14+9+8 stitches of blue in a row. I decided then for those rows to cut the gray at the end of each row in order to have that thumb gusset as tangle free as possible.

Pattern wraps all the way around. :)
A single glove took me almost two months of working. I stopped and rested a lot since it is really tough on your hands if you don't have a sharp topped hook. And sometime it took a full minute to get the hook into the right place. I'm easily guessing 30 hours for one single glove.

At the time of posting this, I actually only have one glove made. I plan to make the second glove in the reverse accent colors, blue base but where there is stone(gray), use ivory(white) and vice versa. And I did run out of blue though making this single glove, so I will have to get another skein of the Sapphire to complete the pair.

Unfortunately, after all this work, the glove does not fit. Sure I managed to get it on, but it is like a contortioner's trick to fold my hand in on it self and pull it on over my thumb. This yarn and stitch has no stretch or give to it whatsoever. So I kind of have no motivation to make the second to match... unless I can find someone it fits on, who wants it, and is willing to pay for them.
Fits like a ... vice.
I have another set of three yarns, that I wanted to make a second set in as a gift. However, with such a tough pattern, I might not. But now that I have a grid to work from, I could make these with just about any design I could think of. Pretty cool.

If I ever sell these, they would totally fall at the more expensive end of the price spectrum.

Difficulty: Hard
Time to complete a pair: about 60 hours

**Note on G Hooks: Fun Fact: I found out while working on this pattern that old G hooks, like the ones I got from a garage sale, are 4.25mm, while new ones that you get in the store today are 4.00mm. So please do check your hook and just make sure you make both gloves with the same size. I can't find a reason for the size change, maybe manufacturers just wanted to keep it uniform in the size increases, but now you know. :)