I always took
the thumb gusset for granted. (If you're new to gussets, they're triangular-shaped
areas of "extra" fabric that provide space in certain areas of a garment to allow
freedom of movement.) Every pair of gloves, mittens, or fingerless mitts that I've
knitted has had thumb gussets written into the pattern.
Then I started knitting a pair of mitts that didn't incorporate the gusset, and
I discovered how crucial they are. I finished one mitt, tried it on, and
immediately realized that I would never wear the finished pair. So I didn't
finish them. I still have the project in a bag; my intention is to rip out the
mitt to the wrist and put in a thumb gusset, and then finish the other mitt the
|The palm gusset. Increases are worked every other round, only on the palm side of the glove.
I recently saw an article in Interweave Knits
all about thumb gussets, and I
really like the palm gusset, shown in the photo below. Here's an
excerpt from that article:
A thumb gusset is shaped like an inverted triangle positioned along the thumb
side of the hand with the apex slightly above the wrist and the base hitting
the thumb where it separates from the hand (illustrated below). The widest part
of the gusset—or base of the triangle—should approximate the thumb
circumference, which for adult mittens and gloves is almost always 3" (7.5
cm). If in doubt, wrap some of the cuff comfortably around the base of your
thumb and count the stitches needed to encircle it.
The depth of the gusset is
usually between 2" and 2½" (5 and 6.5 cm). All of the following gussets
rely on increases to create the triangular shape, but they differ in their
final appearance. The method you use to work the increases will further affect
their appearance. To give the gusset a refined look, work directional increases,
left-slanting on the right edge of the gusset and right-slanting on the left
edge. Work the increases every two or three rounds until the gusset measures
the desired width.
A palm gusset is unusual in
that all of the stitches for the gusset are taken from the hand stitches.
Symmetrical increases are used to replace the palm and back-of-hand stitches
that form the gusset. Working the increases every other round creates a strong,
graceful line arched across the hand.
To make this gusset, you'll need to do some easy calculations. First, determine
the number of stitches needed for the gusset. If the number isn't even, round
up (for a standard fit) or down (for a snug fit) to the
nearest even number. Subtract this number from the total number of hand
stitches and divide the remainder in half.
||The thumb gusset (shaded) is a triangular-shaped area of extra stitches at
the base of the thumb.
For our example, we used 16 gusset stitches, which left us with 22 hand stitches;
half the designated hand stitches calculated to 11 stitches.
knit a palm gusset:
Work half the designated hand stitches, inc 1,
place marker (pm), work the designated number of gusset stitches (half these stitches
will come from the end of the second needle, half will come from the beg of the
third needle), pm, inc 1, work to end (for the remaining half of the designated
hand stitches). *Knit 1 round even. Inc round:
Work to first marker, inc
1, slip marker, work to next marker, slip marker, inc 1, work to end of round.
Rep from * until there are 2 fewer than the original number. Work a few rounds even,
if necessary, to bring the height of the gusset even with the place on your
hand where the thumb separates from the palm. Next round:
Work to marker, transfer
gusset stitches onto a holder or waste yarn, use the backward loop method to CO
2 stitches over gap, work to end of round. Continue to the tips of the fingers
as specified by your pattern, then work the thumb.
the gusset stitches evenly on 3 double-pointed needles. Join yarn at right edge
of stitches, and work around to CO stitches at other edge of gusset stitches;
use a fourth needle to pick up and knit 2 stitches at the base of the CO stitches
to complete the round-there will be the original gusset stitches plus 2. Join
into a round. Dec Round 1:
Work to 1 stitch before picked-up stitches, k2tog, ssk—2 stitches decreased.
Finish as for basic gusset thumb.
—Pam Allen, from
Interweave Knits Winter 2003 (For the entire article, click here.)
This article puts me in the mood to knit gloves; maybe I'll finish my mitts and use the palm gusset. Check out some of the glove patterns in the Interweave Store and get motivated to knit gloves with me!
P.S. What do you think about thumb gussets? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments.