"Fledge is the stage in a young
bird's life when the feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently
developed for flight. It also describes the act of a chick's
parents raising it to a fully grown state." - Wikipedia
Two weeks behind schedule, I had stayed up late finishing it.
Thanksgiving vacation was over. My middle daughter Flory was
leaving the next morning; going back to the university and to her
own apartment. I wanted her to have her birthday sweater before
she left our nest. Flory tried it on right away. A perfect fit.
Two skeins of yarn remained.
"Would you like a matching hat?" I asked. "Or mittens?"
"Gloves." she said. Then, gauging my reaction, she slowly added,
Mittens are my specialty. Over the years, I have knit Flory many
pairs. Gloves were out of my knitting comfort zone. But I knew
gloves were what she really wanted.
Knitting for Flory is knitting for the grateful. Her birthday
sweater is a fine example. It replaces the one I knit her almost a
decade ago. Stretched out and threadbare, she still wears it. And
when she was a teenager, a baby mitten I knit, hung over her bed.
Would gloves capture a place of honor, too?
Much of winter knitting is about tubes. Hats, the simplest of
the bunch, are short cylinders, the top formed by evenly placed
decreases. Socks are long skinny hats. Short rows pooch out a
heel. Increases create a gusset. Deceases shape toes the way they
do hat tops. Mittens are socks, minus the heel, and each with a
branch, the thumb. Both mitten and thumb end with hat top/toe
decreases. Gloves are the most complex member of this gang, every
one a five branched mitten. And that's why until Flory's request,
I collected glove patterns and never knit them.
When graduating to the next knitterly step, say from hats to
socks, or in this case, mittens to gloves, a stripped down pattern
is recommended. It will guide you through unfamiliar techniques
without losing you on the cables.
through my files for a Plain Jane glove, I found The
Fledgling. Its buttoned garter cuff matched the garter
detailing in Flory’s birthday sweater. What’s more, in my stash
were two perfect buttons—-hand painted, die-cut wooden birds. The
Fledgling Gloves, as the name suggests, proved to be an
excellent starter pattern to follow. And jaunty enough, to be worn
by my very own fledgling.
When knitting anything in pairs, after finishing the first one, it
is best to proceed directly to the second one. Without delay, lest
you forget an important detail of your recently acquired
knowledge. And that's just what I did. After several evenings
knitting, gaps were closed, loose ends woven in, and the sweet
little bird buttons were sewn on.
Occasionally, I set up a small shrine to admire my knitterly
triumphs. A lacy shawl is draped artfully over a chair. A cabled
sweater is displayed, cables side out, on the dining room table.
But the Fledgling Gloves were different. I wanted Flory to see
what I made her right away. I wanted their warmth to guard her
hands against the cold predicated that night. So I wrapped the
pair in red tissue paper tied closed with a length of her birthday
yarn. Then my husband and I headed down to the museum where she
Flory was sitting behind the front desk, ready to give a tour, if
needed. Confident, grown-up. A short while later, on a break, she
untied the red bundle. And just as I had hoped, she admired the
garter cuff, the sweet little bird buttons, and the ten wooly
fingers that made it a glove, not a mitten.
As you work on gifts for friends and relatives, may your warmth
be loved. Happy holidays!
Glove Knitting Notes:
Pay attention to gauge. Gloves are a snugger fit than
Knitting on 4 needles rather than three will allow you
to try them on as you work.
Before you load your thumb stitches on a stitch holder,
bend it into circular shape to accommodate your thumb
and allow for continued fitting needs.
To ease the knitting of fingers, place your inactive
stitches on a long circular or divided evenly on 2 dpns
and secure each end with point protectors
Other glove patterns you might like:
Almost gloves--a good place to start: