Basic Glove - Thumb Opening

These instructions apply to a thumb knitted from a slot, created with a waste yarn placeholder. The advantages of this style of thumb include its ease of construction, ability to accommodate many stitch and color patterns and simplified glove construction. You continue knitting the pattern as if the thumb weren't there, which it isn't until later. When using two circular needles and this thumb design both the right and left hands can be knitted identically to the start of the fingers, reducing construction complexity. Read more ... for stepwise instructions and photos.

Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

Knitting the Thumb
Please refer to the Basic Glove article for steps that precede knitting the thumb. In the preceding step, waste yarn of an equivalent weight to the glove yarn was used to knit 9 stitches. The waste yarn served as a marker for the thumb opening as well as a holder of stitches on either side of the opening. The glove was then knitted to the approximate start of the finger openings. (Refer to the photo above.)

The thumb and fingers are knitted with 2.25 mm dpns for durability, whereas the rest of the glove is knitted with 2.5 mm circular needles. In this step, I knit most of the thumb (to within 3/8" of the thumb tip). This enables me to accurately position the start of the finger openings, while providing sufficient ease for the hand between the thumb and index finger. If you decide to complete the thumb tip at this point, leave a yarn tail and do not weave it in, in case you need to alter the thumb length slightly, when you are fitting the fingers. It helps to pull the tail to the inside of the glove to keep it out of the way while the fingers are completed.

  1. Pick Up StsPick Up StsPick up 9 sts from the row above the green waste yarn on one dpn and another 9 sts from below the waste yarn on a second dpn. It is helpful to use needles 2 sizes smaller when picking up the stitches. In the photo at right, the two yellow arrows point to the next sts for each needle. Click on the photo to view a larger image. Normally the stitches would be picked up on the outside (knit side) of the glove, but because this yarn is so "furry" I found the stitches easier to discern and pick up on the purl side (inside of the glove). You have to be careful though, when you slip the needles back through the thumb opening to the outside of the glove. Transfer the sts to two (2) 2.25 mm dpns. For more details and photos, click on the following link: Basic Glove - Picking Up Thumb Stitches.
  2. 1st Round1st RoundOn the outside of the glove, you will have two 2.25 mm dpns lying parallel to each other. Start knitting in a clockwise direction across the first needle. Then pick up 2 sts in the intersection between the two needles (left or right depending on where you began). Then knit across the 9 sts of the second dpn and pick up 2 sts to complete the rectangular opening (22 sts). Distribute these sts across three dpns (see photo). Sometimes I pick up an additional st at each end for a total of 24 sts and knit a round or two (knitting through the back loops of the picked up sts, the first time through) to prevent a hole from appearing at the intesection. After completing a second round of 24 sts, I reduce the number of sts with a K2tog to return to 2 picked up sts at each end.
  3. Trial FitTrial FitTry on the glove periodically to determine when to begin the decreases for the tip of the thumb. For me, this is 3/8" from the tip. If you have long fingernails, you may want additional ease.
  4. The following decreases are used for all fingers in this glove pattern. Since the gloves are solid colored, and there was no color or stitch pattern to preserve, I decreased by 3 sts, equally spaced in each round. Start on the round that represents the total number of sts on your needles. For this example the thumb has 22 sts, so I decreased 1 st and then began on the round that applied to 21 sts.
    Round Starting Sts

     Decrease Pattern (same across each of 3

    Ending Sts
    1 24 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    2 21 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    3 18 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    4 15 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    5 12 *(K2tog, knit to end of needle), repeat from * for each
    6 9 *(Sl 1, k2tog, psso), repeat for each needle 3
    7 3 Sl 1, k2tog, psso, weave tail through last st 1

  5. ThumbThumbComplete the thumb. The yarn tail is pulled to the inside, but is not woven in until after the fingers are fitted in case adjustments are required.

Next Step

Related Posts
Basic Glove
Basic Glove - Picking Up Thumb Stitches
Glove Construction - Hand Measurements.

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