Where are you in the knitting mitten instructions for thumbs debate?
The other day, I was astonished at how passionately two knitters were debating. Knowing both of them, it’s not surprising they were passionate. What surprised me was the topic of their debate: knitted thumbs. Each was absolutely convinced her favorite thumb was “the best,” and other ways of knitting thumbs just don’t fit right. It took the calming influence of another knitter to put the discussion in perspective.
She noted while she preferred one type of thumb, her husband another. Perhaps, she calmly asked, it depends upon our individual hand shapes? Or even what we do with our hands when we use the mittens? Maybe this is a case of individual preference? Since I’ve usually made only one type of thumb for myself, this discussion started me thinking: Just how many different thumb types are there? And are there times one would be better than another?
So, what are the types of knitting mitten instructions for thumbs?
Peasant Thumb: Often considered the simplest thumb to knit. Knit without a gore, or wedge-shaped insert, this thumb is often preferred when a complex color pattern is used. The peasant thumb allows the pattern to continue without interruption. The thumb is knit slightly into the palm, so the mittens are either left-handed or right-handed. There’s no adjustment in mitten width for the thumb. The thumb tends to be flat.
Gore Thumbs: Knit with a gore either in the side seam (side seam gore) or slightly into the palm (normal gore or normal thumb). The side seam gore thumb will not interrupt the knitting pattern, while the normal gore thumb interrupts it. The side seam thumb makes the mittens identical, so it’s often used for knitting young children’s mittens. If either is made in circular knitting (no side seam) and a stockinette stitch, the mitten will rotate so these two types of thumbs may be indistinguishable. This can give more flexibility to the mitten, because thumbs don’t grow out either of the sides of hands, or directly under the index fingers. The mitten body is narrower above the thumb than below it. For many folks, this feels like a more fitted mitten. The thumb tends to be rounder than the Peasant Thumb.
Norwegian Gore Thumb: Knit with a gore and a peasant thumb, this thumb also interrupts the color pattern. In Norwegian mittens, though, this interruption is often incorporated into the color pattern. The mittens are either left-handed or right-handed. While this mitten has a thumb gore, the mitten body continues above the thumb with the same number of stitches. This thumb also tends to be a flatter thumb.
Many knitters view these as two types of thumbs (those with or without gores) or four types of thumbs.
Do you have a favorite?
About the Author: Ina Gilmore
Ina Gilmore learned to knit as a child. She enjoys sharing her knitting adventures, tips and techniques. You can find her online at her knitting blog, The Knitting Yarn, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theknittingyarn, and on Ravelry as theknittingyarn.