Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How to Knit Long Fingerless Gloves

I like to knit a lot of fingerless gloves as I find them extremely useful in a variety of situations. I particularly like long fingerless glvoes (elbow-length), for when I want a little bit of extra warmth when I'm wearing a t-shirt, but don't want to wear  coat. (And it's easier to carry around gloves than a jacket.)

I've written up a general recipe for how to knit yourself long fingerless gloves, specifically in relation to my knitting of my Doctor Who Scarf Gloves. However, you must know your knitting gauge and you must have your arm measurements, as shown below.

If you don't want a generic recipe, I've included pattern instructions for *my* size gloves below. I hope this helps you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I'll answer as best as I can.

Choose from one of the following:



Generic Recipe


  1. Make a gauge swatch. 
    • Get your stitch count - number of stitches per inch
    • Get your row count - number of rows per inch.
  2. Measure your arm. You are going to need someone to help you with this part:
    • A -- the measurement around your wrist
    • B -- the measurement around your arm just below your elbow (or wherever you want the gloves to end)
    • C -- the  distance between A & B. This measurement helps determine how much you need to decrease from your elbow to your wrist.
    • D -- the measure around your arm at half the distance of D. For example, if C = 9 inches, then you want to measure your arm at 4.5 inches.


Now for the math part:

  1. Number of stitches at A =  A x stitch gauge
  2. Number of cast on stitches = B x stitch gauge = ___
  3. Number of stitches at D =   D x stitch gauge = ___
  4. Number of stitches to decrease (E): = #2 - #1 
  5. How many rows to decrease:

    • (C x row gauge) ÷ #4 = Decrease 1 stitch by ____ rows 
NOTE: These measurements are for ZERO ease. If you want negative ease, reduce the number of stitches by 5-10% (or more, depending on what you want)

I put together a worksheet if you don't want to do the math. Fill in the GOLD boxes.


Dealing with the Thumb:


Personally, I like thumb gussets, but you can do any sort of thumb treatment for your gloves. Here's some ways you can deal with the thumb. I've linked some tutorials that I found (but will not vouch for... so caveat emptor). I've tried all three treatments and prefer thumb gussets
NOTE: Make sure to use the Jogless Jog method for any stripe color work.



Pattern for Small-Medium Gloves

If you don't want to do the math, or want an example, the following are MY numbers for gloves that fit me.
  • A: 6 inches
  • B: 10 inches
  • C: 9 inches
  • D: 8 inches
  • Gauge:
    • Stitch gauge: 8 st/ inch
    • Row gauge 9 rows / inch 
Consequently, the numbers for my pattern are:
  • At B, cast on 80 stitches = B (10 inches)  x stitch gauge (8 stitches/inch)
  • At D, I should have about 64 stitches =  D (8 inches) x stitch gauge (8 stitches/inch)
  • At A, I should have 48 stitches = A (6 inches) x stitch gauge (8 inches)
  • For decreases:
    • I need to decrease my stitch count between A & B by 32 stitches ===> 80 stitches - 48 stitches = 32 stitches
    • I have 81 rows to decrease 32 stitches == C (9 inches) x 9 rows/inch
    • 81 rows ÷ 32 stitches = 2.5 rows per stitch
    • So, I have to decrease by 1 stitch every 2.5 rows. The .5 rows is a bit of an annoyance to remember, but I can double the row count (2.5 x 2 = 5): Decrease 2 stitches every 5 rows

Consequently, my general pattern is this:
  1. Cast on 80 inches and do ribbing for 1.5 inches.
  2. Switch to Stockinette and decrease 2 stitches every 5 rounds. 
  3. Continue Step 2 until you reach 4.5 inches (C ÷ 2).You should have 64 stitches (or thereabouts)
  4. Continue Step 2 until until the glove is 9 inches @ 48 stitches.
  5. Knit rounds until reaching the base of the thumb.
  6. Work glove and thumb gusset until you have 17 stitches for the thumb. (See thumb gusset tutorials above).
    • Place 17 thumb stitches on waste yarn.
    • Continue working the rest of the stitches (47) in the round.
    • Make 1 stitch to get 48 stitches.
  7. Continue working in the round until 1.5 inches from desired length.
  8. Do 1.5 inches of ribbing.
  9. Cast off
  10. Thumb:
    • Pick up 17 stitches of the thumb + 4 more stitches
    • Knit thumb until desired length.
Note: These are general pattern instructions.
Please make any modifications as you need for yours.


Stripe Pattern

For the Dr. Who Stripes, I followed the original scarf pattern as listed on the Doctor Who Scarf webpage. I started the stripes as follow, using either end of the scarf to start a new glove. Although, frankly, you can probably start anywhere in the pattern and get your own unique looking set of gloves.

The following illustration should help you get started. Remember to follow the rest of the original scarf pattern.

(Divide row count by 2)

In order to make it scale correctly for the gloves, I divided the number of rows by 2. For example, if the pattern said,  22 rows of Red, then I would only knit 11 rows instead. (I was also contemplating dividing by 4 so I could incorporate more colors into the gloves, but in the end, I chose to divide by 2.)