Basic Glove - Fingers

There are many combinations of stitches that can be used to knit the fingers of a glove. I created a series of diagrams, with three different examples (patterns), to explain how fingers are created in knitted gloves. This is definitely the case where a picture (or several) is worth a thousand words. Using the approach outlined here, you will be able to create custom fitted fingers appropriate to the number of hand stitches on your needles.    Read more

When I am designing gloves, I make a quick sketch of the stitches to map out the fingers--simple colored circles work for me. I will start with a quick review of the stitch diagram.

The glove construction diagram will be used as the basis for describing the stitch placement on 2 circular needles for the finger steps, so I will briefly describe the image. The top row of circles represents the stitches on the first circular needle, with the start of round at the upper left. The loops represent stitches and each group of 10 sts was colored for clarity. To use this diagram, picture your hand palm side up, with the fingers coming up between the two rows of dots (between the two circular needles).

The next two charts illustrate different ways of knitting 4 fingers from 58 stitches (the number of stitches in the hand of the basic glove.)

Reading the Universal Finger Chart
Let me first describe the diagram. The top circular needle, cable or stitch holder holds the stitches for the back of the hand. The bottom set of stitches represents the palm side of the glove. I have rendered the stitches in four colors--a color for each finger. The stitches in the middle are shared between two fingers; for one finger they are cast on stitches, for the adjacent finger, the stitches are picked up. The arrows represent stitch direction and I have marked the start of round for each of the four fingers, with a red dot.

The same chart applies to both the right hand and left hand. In the first example, a common design where all fingers are knitted the same diameter (i.e. with the same number of stitches), the key differences are finger lengths. Since you will be trying the glove on to determine when to begin decreases for the finger tip, you will not mix up the fingers. The thumb is already knitted or knitted to within 3/8" of its tip from an earlier step so you won't put the glove on backwards.

Knitting Direction
It doesn't matter if you start with the finger on the left or the finger on the right of the chart. If you start with the finger on the right, you will proceed across the diagram from right to left. If you start knitting the finger on the left, you will proceed across the diagram from left to right. You don't even have to knit the small rounds in the direction I indicated. If you are left-handed and knit counterclockwise, read the chart accordingly.

In Other Words, Knitting Words
Before starting the fingers, all stitches are divided between two circular needles, or placed on two stitch holders, with the palm stitches on one and the stitches for the back of the hand on another.

    Right Hand (finger instructions for Basic Glove)
    First Finger
  1. Place the first 8 sts (dark blue) from the palm stitch holder on a 2.25 mm dpn. Knit these 8 sts. Cast on 3 stitches using a knitted cast on and a second dpn. (The cast on stitches are represented by bicolored (pink/dark blue) circles, dark blue sides representing the cast-on sts when the diagram is worked right to left, pink sides the sts picked up in the subsequent step.) Knit across the back stitches, adding a third dpn, when convenient.
    For the index finger, you could actually start knitting the last eight stitches (dark blue back of hand), and knit in a clockwise direction across the palm stitches and then cast on 3 sts. You could also knit the baby finger similarly.
  2. Redistribute the stitches across the 3 dpns (6, 6 & 7sts) and knit all rounds, until you are within a row of 3/8" from the fingertip, when measured with the glove on the hand.
  3. K across the 2 needles holding 6 sts. On the needle with 7 sts, K2tog, k across.
  4. Form the finger decreases:
    The decreases begin 3/8" below the top of the finger, when measured with the glove on the hand. The pattern below places the decreases at the beginning of each needle until 9 sts remain, as a memory aid and to minimize the chance of forgetting a decrease. It is important to measure this distance on the hand. If you knit a snug finger design, the number of rounds may be higher to compensate for lateral stretch.
    Round Starting Sts

     Decrease Pattern (same across each of 3
    needles)

    Ending Sts
    1 18 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    needle
    15
    2 15 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    needle
    12
    3 12 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    needle
    9
    4 9 *(Sl 1, k2tog, psso), repeat for each needle 3
    5 3 Sl 1, k2tog, psso, weave tail through last st 1

  5. Do not weave the yarn tail at the finger tip through any but the last stitch at this point. This weaving is done after all the fingers have been knitted. It is convenient, however, to weave the tails at the base (start) of the fingers at this stage.
    Middle Finger (2nd finger)
    Please reference the dark pink stitches in the Finger Chart.
  1. Transfer the next 7 sts (dark pink) from the stitch holder #2 (palm stitches) to a 2.25 mm dpn.
  2. Knit the 7 palm sts, cast on 3 sts (represented by light blue/pink circles in the chart), k 6 sts from stitch holder #1 (back of hand), and pick up and knit 3 sts on the side of the index finger (circles colored pink/dark blue).
  3. Redistribute the 19 sts across three (3) 2.25 mm dpns so the needles hold 6, 6 & 7 sts.
  4. Knit stocking stitch in the round, until you are within a row of 3/8" from the fingertip, when measured with the glove on the hand.
  5. Form the finger decreases as for the index finger (steps 4 to 5) above.

Third Finger
Follow the instructions for the second finger and the light blue circles on the chart.

    Fourth Finger
    Please reference the green colored stitches in the Finger Chart.
  1. Transfer the last 8 sts (green) from stitch holder #2 (palm stitches) to a 2.25 mm dpn.
  2. Knit the 8 palm sts, knit the remaining 8 sts from stitch holder #1 (back of hand), and pick up and knit 3 sts from the adjacent finger (circles colored green/light blue).
  3. Redistribute the 19 sts across three (3) 2.25 mm dpns so the needles hold 6, 6 & 7 sts.
  4. Knit stocking stitch in the round, until you are within a row of 3/8" from the fingertip, when measured with the glove on the hand.
  5. Form the finger decreases as for the index finger (steps 3 to 5) above.

Finishing
If you have not completed the thumb decreases, test for fit and do so now. Try the glove on again to make sure the fingers are of appropriate length. If so weave the remaining yarn tails in.

    Quality Tips
  1. Begin a finger round by knitting stitches from either the back or palm, not the "between" stitches. This will prevent the occurrence of a yarn tail at the cast-on stitches and reduce the chance of a "hole" from a loose loop. I prefer to cradle the new stitches between established stitches. My preference is also to start a round on the palm side so that the yarn tails will be woven in on the palm side, the less viewed side.
  2. Try on the glove to determine the starting point for finger tip decreases. The knitted finger will stretch differently to accommodate the different widths of fingers and it is easier to just try the glove on for the ideal fit.
  3. The thumb has been knitted completely (tail remaining) or to within 3/8" of the tip (and placed on small stitch holders (i.e. on 3 locking stitch markers). When you begin knitting the index finger and try on the glove, you may find the thumb needs to be a little longer.
  4. For durability purposes, I used 2.25 mm dpns to knit the fingers, although I knitted the hand and cuff with 2.5 mm circular needles.
  5. Sometimes when I pick up the stitches between fingers (bicolored circles) I will pick up & knit an additional stitch at the top and bottom intersections to reduce the likelihood of a hole. On the subsequent round, I knit these "extra" stitches together with the nearest palm or back of hand stitch.

Design Variations

This chart shows how the same 58 sts can be used to create larger fingers. Also, you don't have to make all the fingers the same diameter. In this case I made the middle fingers wider by casting on additional stitches to accommodate a ring and large knuckles.


This third example shows what you can do with 60 hand sts. In this case just 2 stitches were cast on between adjacent fingers. By the way, 18 stitches also worked fine for my hand size, but I preferred a bit more air space (19 sts)--I didn't want tight gloves in cold weather.

These examples serve to illustrate how you can change the finger diameter and accommodate different hand diameters or numbers of hand stitches. If you are knitting Fair Isle or other multi-yarned gloves, the tension is likely to be tighter than for a single color yarn, so you may need more stitches per round. Also the tension (hence number of stitches) can vary with different stitch patterns (lace, garter, etc.). Make sure to create your test swatch before finalizing the number of hand stitches.

The number of rows of decreases required also varies with the tension and the number of stitches in your round. Please refer to the link below for decreasing from 21 or 24 sts.

Basic Glove - 64 Stitch Design
The 64 stitch glove body was used for the fingerless gloves, which were knitted with 2 colors using a stranding technique. Since the stranded technique in the round has a tighter gauge, extra stitches were used in the design to compensate. I have included the thumb charts for this design as well.

Related Posts
Knitted Cast On
Basic Glove
Basic Glove - Thumb Opening.
Basic Glove - Finger Decreases (by thirds).

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