A week ago it seemed that spring was well and truly on its way. Now all anyone can talk about is the cold spell we are gripped with, complete with the infamous 'Siberian wind' and impeding heaps of fresh snow. I didn't take it too seriously, until I was out on my bike the other morning (in case you are new here, my mode of transport is bicycle). A seasoned cyclist who knows how to dress for the weather, I actually had to turn around, go home and put on more layers. It was proper freezing!
Happily, the parts of my body that weren't cold were my hands - encased in a pair of bulletproof gloves that I knitted three years ago out of aran-weight Donegal tweed.
Aran weight gloves?! Yes, you read that correctly! The epitome of elegance they are not. But on days like these they remind me that elegance ain't everything.
I think my original reason for making these, was to give myself a refresher on how to knit gloves without the process taking up too much time - hence the heavy yarn. And because I needed minimum stitch counts for the fingers, and didn't want the gloves to be huge, I used 2.5mm needles. The result was a dense, rustic pair of gloves that made my hands look like they belonged to a forest elf.
At the time I fully intended to rip them out. But then I put them on and ended up wearing them on a 10 mile bicycle commute into town in frigid temperatures and 25mph wind... There was no more talk of ripping after that, no matter how bulky and forest-elfish they made my hands look!
In the course of three winters, the palm sides of the gloves have felted as a result of constant contact with my handlebar grips. And little gaps have opened up between a couple of the fingers. Other than that, they've held up pretty well.
In the coming winter it might be due a new pair. As there is not much I can do to make them more flattering, I am just going to embrace them as they are, in all all of their dense bulky rustic goodness. And perhaps knit them in red...
If you live in a cold climate, haven't knit gloves before, and aren't bothered by the heavy yarn look, I do think it makes sense to knit your first pair in aran weight - as it will teach you all the principles of the process and take only a fraction of the time. I did not write mine up as a pattern, but here are a few that look good on ravelry, and are available for free -