Glove Construction - Hand Measurements

I found it helpful to analyze how a glove fits before I designed my own knitting pattern. I looked at leather gloves and the single pair of knitted gloves that I had purchased, and studied the wear and fit problems. Then I knitted a pair to size, and documented the process as I progressed. The first step is measuring the hand and understanding how the measurements translate into the knitting pattern. Read more ... to see the critical measurements and steps for knitting gloves.     Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

Although I enjoy wearing gloves and love having them in several colors to subtly (or not so subtly) brighten my wardrobe, I only have a single pair of purchased knitted gloves because I wasn't able to find gloves to fit. I have long, narrow fingers and if the gloves fit in circumference, the fingers are too short. If the fingers are long enough, the gloves are much too loose. The approach described in the Basic Glove series will allow you to create custom gloves that fit. Click here to read the article: Basic Glove.

The basic measurements that determine fit are wrist circumference, hand circumference, wrist-to-thumb distance, thumb-to-index-finger distance and finger length. The length measurements are guidelines; you actually knit the lengths to fit. Finger dimensions are accommodated in the finger and thumb designs and variations.

The wrist circumference is needed for the cuff dimensions. Wrap the tape measure around the wrist at the wrist bone, overlap the end and read the measurement. Do no put your finger under the tape or introduce additional ease as you would for sewing. The knitted glove has enough stretch that this is not required.

Next, measure the hand circumference above the thumb, but below the fingers. Use the same method as for the wrist. This measurement determines the maximum width of the gloves.

The thumb offset and the thumb position are the two measurements needed for positioning the thumb. The thumb "sticks out" to the side from the index finger, when the hand is flat on the table. The thumb is also below the centerline of the index finger when you look at it from the side, as the glove photo illustrates.

Thumb Position The thumb opening starts 2 to 2-1/4" above the wrist, at the bottom of the "V", not at the top of the thumb webbing. This is important to provide range of motion in the finished glove. In this photo, the measurement is 2-1/8". The exact position, within +/- 1/8" is determined by trying on the glove as it is knitted.

The thumb offset determines the circumferential position of the thumb opening in the glove. To make it clear what is being measured, I photographed this measurement on the glove. The red line represents the centerline of the index finger, the starting point for the measurment and the base of the stitch gauge. The slide marker indicates the end of the measurement. The measurement corresponds to a 3 st offset for the tension of this knitting. If you are knitting with 2 circular needles, the edge of the index finger nearest the thumb will be the last stitch on the first needle for the left hand glove. The thumb opening will begin 3 sts in on the second needle. The tension (also called gauge), which translated to 3 sts, was determined by knitting a test swatch in the round, since the glove was knitted in the round.

The thumb offset of 3 sts is shown in the diagrams below: 3 sts in from the right on the 2nd circular needle (right thumb), and 3 sts from the left end for the left thumb. The right thumb opening is represented by dark blue circles and the left thumb by dark pink stitches.

Next Step
Begin knitting the cuff.

Related Posts
Basic Glove
Tools & Sources
Knitwear Design Tips (swatching)
Basic Socks (photo showing stitch gauge measurement)

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