Category Archives: Knitting

How big are your hands?

I have absolutely no idea what happened to the last fortnight. I suspect some sort of super-local warping of the space-time continuum. I’m certain all the days happened, in their proper order, for all the things which I was meant to do on each day were, indeed, done; but spare time there was not.

We visited these shaggy beauties on my friends’ farm. I asked all the correct knitterly questions (breed etc) but none of the answers have stayed in my head. For want of a better picture, here are said sheep.


Since making our fingerless gloves, I’ve been pondering on the size of hands. It’s rather easy to find standard size charts for other parts of the body (eg here), but I couldn’t find anything for hands. I’m sure they must exist, just not in my personal library or on the corner of the internet I searched.

I did a completely unscientific analysis of the top 50 free fingerless glove patterns in Ravelry to get a feel for the sizes out there. A surprising number had no size info at all. Many of those that did give an indication of size were one-size-fits-all (women) and where there was a measurement it was 7 inches circumference. In very loose terms, ‘small’ is between 6 and 7 inches , ‘medium’ between 7 and 8 inches and ‘large’ 8 to 8.5 inches.

The most surprising thing (to me) was that I have always thought of my hands as being small. I’m pretty compact overall (others have used words such as ‘short’ or ‘petite’) and my hands seem in proportion to the rest of me; so, I’m small = my hands are small. Turns out they’re decidedly average – 7 inches – so I’m medium, not small after all. Who’d a thunk it. I suspect though that I might have stumpy fingers, but given that I have no standards to compare them to, I can’t be sure.

In the interest of science knitting, I am going to take my trusty tape measure and measure as many hands as I can persuade to be measured. (That’s a whole lot of measuring just in that sentence.) If anyone would like to help me out, I will be recording the following (preferably in centimetres; I am of an age that uses a hotch potch of metric and imperial – lengths are centimetres and metres except for human heights which are feet and inches; distances are miles. I know, it’s illogical but there you go.):

  1. Circumference, on the dominant hand, measured at the widest point, inside the thumb.
  2. Total hand length, from a point level with base of thumb to the tip of the middle finger
  3. Middle finger length
  4. Gusset height, from base of thumb to inside thumb
  5. Gender and age (ages in children, just ‘adult’ will do for the rest of us).

Hand measurements

My personal measurements are:

  1. 18cm (7in)
  2. 16.5cm (6.5in)
  3. 7cm (2.75in)
  4. 7cm (2.75in)
  5. F adult

If you’d like to help out by leaving your measurements in the comments, that’d be great. I promise to share the results.

*I recommend getting a helper. Measuring your own hand is not as easy as you might think*


Hers and hers fingerless gloves

The littl’uns’ school is out in the country surrounded by fields. An idyllic spot with plenty of fresh air; just sometimes there’s a bit much fresh air when the wind comes straight off the north sea and blasts across their playground. Big littl’un’s skin is suffering and her hands are splitting and bleeding, poor love. She’s not a big fan of full gloves, they impede climbing and playing on the monkey bars, so I’ve made her a pair of fingerless gloves to protect her wee hands a little bit. Made some for myself too in the hope that I’ll soon be out doing some gardening.

These are remnants of sock yarn – there’s some Regia in there but I can’t remember the others – bad bad knitter, must start project notebook and keep yarn bands. Mine were two semi-solid yarns but the littl’un wanted a semi-solid mixed with a variegated yarn.

Knit in the round, I started with corrugated rib cuffs; knit stripes for a wee while then increased for a thumb gusset. The ‘jog’ on the stripes on the small pair is pretty noticeable, so on the bigger pair I had a go at jogless stripes. It’ll work on stripes 2 rows or more deep – knit the first round as normal, then when you get back to the first stitch of the second round, slip it purlwise. Carry on as normal for any remaining rounds until your next colour change then repeat.

I continued stocking stitch stripes for a few rows above the thumbs then finished with corrugated rib on my pair, a standard 2×2 rib on the littlun’s for a bit more elasticity.

I think they’d be improved by a bit of palm shaping – whatever the opposite of a gusset would be  – a pleat? A few stitches decreased between the cuff and the palm for a snugger fit anyway.

Little littl’un has suggested that it is her turn to be knitted for. Don’t let me forget. (She won’t.)

Not running but (speed) knitting

Let’s be honest, this March isn’t living up to much. I got all hopeful that spring was coming a couple of weeks ago – had washing out on the line, even went outside without a coat a couple of times. I checked back through photos from the past two years, and I’m definitely not imagining it: March can sometimes be lovely.

This March? This March sucks. This was the weather that the T-boy ran a half marathon in over the weekend. It was bad enough for the spectators; I can’t imagine how nasty the blowing snow was for the runners. The course was altered to miss the worst of the snow drifts (and the worst hill, which apparently was a good thing).

Spectating in snow

Cheering on Dad in the Run Garioch half marathon

The littl’uns both ran too (over rather shorter courses). I am perfecting the art of race support (carrying spare clothes and food) as the perfect excuse for not joining them in the whole running thing, but it hasn’t stopped them asking why I don’t run. ‘Because I’m not very fast’ is my usual answer. ‘You’re quite fast at knitting though, Mum’ they said.

Well, I don’t know. How fast is fast, when it comes to knitting?

Hazel Tindall, a Shetlander, is renowned across Scotland for being amazingly fast, clocked at 262 stitches in 3 minutes – that’s 87 stitches a minute. Wow. She is also a fantastic exponent of fair isle work.

If we’re just talking speed though, Miriam Tegels is in the Guinness Book of Records as doing a mind-boggling 118 stitches in a minute. One hundred and eighteen. Crikey.

The main difference between these two awesome knitters’ styles (go search on You Tube for video of them knitting) is that Hazel’s speed knitting uses English style (yarn in right hand) – the style of knitting I use – whereas Miriam uses Continental style (yarn in left hand).

I couldn’t resist seeing how fast I could go. It wasn’t very impressive; 100 stitches in 3 minutes. That’s a third of the speed of those ladies. I have a feeling the cheapy yarn and nasty plastic needles I used didn’t help, but I don’t think they made that much difference. I am mighty tempted to teach myself Continental and have another go. Everyone needs a challenge, right? I shall go away and practice and report back later.

(Big littl’un would like it noted that she did 30 stitches in 3 minutes, which I think is brilliant.)



I properly love blocking knitting. That slightly alchemical process of wetting a crinkly bit of fabric; carefully, carefully spreading it out and pinning it; then going back to admire it, gently touch it and assess how dry it is … magic I tell you. The lovely smell of damp wool too; sure, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as a perfume ingredient, but for me it’s up there with hyacinths and hot bread as one of my most favourite homely smells.


I got new pins too. Lovely round-headed pretty little things. They don’t just look nice though, they’re much easier to grab from the box and harder to lose if they’re dropped on the carpet. Form and function. Perfect.


I’ve heard great things about blocking wires. Think I’ll have to put a set on my Christmas list.

This bit of lace is going to be a cowl. I started knitting it over a month ago but ran out of yarn and then had what might be described as issues getting a new ball. Buying the wrong colour once was a bit daft, buying the wrong colour twice was plain idiotic. The third ball I managed to get right though. At the moment it’s just a flat piece of knitting; once it’s dry I’ll decide how to finish it off. I’m thinking a button fastening all down the short edge, but we’ll see how it pans out. I started calling this my snaw-day cowl when I cast it on and it’s forecast snowy here for the next few days at least so it’ll still be a valid name when it’s done.

Mindless Scarf pattern

Mindless Scarf

Here’s my finished Mindless Scarf. I’ve made mine in cotton so I can wear it through spring (and summer in Scotland) all year round! The cotton gives a good stitch definition too; the fabric is quite crochet-like. It could be made in any yarn you like though; just knit a swatch first to work out your finished size. The colour I used is discontinued (why are my favourite colours always discontinued? Yellow and orange yarns never seem to get shelved).

Mindless Scarf

The details:

Yarn 4 x 50g balls Debbie Bliss Cotton DK; 100% cotton in colour 13003.

Needles 4.25mm straights (approx. US size 6)

Gauge 22 sts, 27 rows to 10 cm in pattern (but gauge not vital)

Cast on 30 sts. (I used a cable cast on.)

Row 1 (and all WS rows): p2, (k2, yo, ssk) x3, p2, (k2, yo, ssk) x3, p2.

Row 2 (and all RS rows): k2, (p2, yo, p2tog) x3, k2, (p2, yo, p2tog) x3, k2.

Continue in pattern to desired length (mine is 1.85m long, 12cm wide). Bind off. Block if necessary/desired. (Mine is unblocked in the photo.) Wear with pride.

(Abbreviations explained in my ‘Knitting Abbreviations’ page.)

Mindless scarf on a banister

So what’s a knitter to do when it’s too dreich* outside to model a finished scarf? Use the banisters of course.

Mindless scarf

This was such an easy knit, it’s been my mindless knitting for the past week; picked up and worked on for a row or two whenever there’s been a spare minute – waiting for the kettle to boil or the bath to fill – all those little bits of time that add up to hours and hours over seven days.

Having yarn-overs and decreases on right- and wrong- sides makes it interesting enough not to become tedious, and a great project for anyone wanting to practise wrong-side lace work (that would be me).

I’ll write up the pattern (all two rows of it) once the weather cheers up enough for a photo shoot without risking hypothermia.

* Driech = Scots term for miserable cold wet weather. Wikipedia calls it “Fit tha wether is like in Ab’rdin. Ispecially whun they hiv haar which is like fog but bluidy worse.” They’re not wrong.

Randomly on a Monday

I thought I’d overslept on Sunday, it was so bright outside when I woke up, but no, it had snowed unexpectedly. Not ideal for my promised Mothers Day lie in, but perfect for a bit of back garden skiing practice. (I did get breakfast in bed before the skiing began.)

Child skiingThe old dog gambols about like a pup when it snows, I guess the smells all change when the ground’s covered. We get deer coming in to the garden too when it’s cold and that’s about the most exciting thing that can happen in a dog’s world. (Second only to a trespassing cat.) One of these days I’ll knit him a pair of booties for the winter; he won’t appreciate them, but it’ll stop me shivering when I look at his bare feet in the snow.

Dalmatian in snow

There was a shocking knitting crime committed last night. Not by me (unless you count the stupid mistakes that caused me to rip back the frost flowers hat), but by the BBC in Call the Midwife.

Knitting a crochet square

Yes, she’s pretending to knit a crocheted square. No wonder she’s holding on to it so tightly!

I was very tempted to email the Beeb a ‘come on, you can do better than that’ missive, but I’m sure someone else will have done it by now. They may have redeemed themselves instantly by using several of Kate Davies’ designs in the very next programme broadcast last night.

My mindless knitting scarf is just a foot or so short of its finished length so there is a chance of a finished object tomorrow. No promises mind.