Four months later

Back in January, as I embarked on the busiest and arguably my most stressful semester thus far, I started a pair of Sanquhar gloves. Because naturally, when you have lots of stress, the best response is to add a comparable amount of stress to your knitting. As it happens, I got about 75% through them in January but then set them aside for more portable projects, and they sat long enough by the wayside that I became worried they would enter the eternally despondent land of Unfinished Objects, never again to return to the friendly grove of Works in Progress.

Thankfully, this was not their fate. I picked them up again last week and finished the rest of the second glove, and lo, they are beautiful.


Pattern: Sanquhar Gloves, instructions by Tata & Tatao, largely composed of a set of charts and a few English translations from Japanese. (You have got to love the modern knitting world wherein a centuries-old traditional Scottish knitted garment is re-interpreted through pattern instructions in Japanese, then re-fashioned into English translation.
Yarn: A Touch of Twist light fingering weight (270yds per 50g), in dark purple and pale teal, purchased at Rhinebeck 2008.
Needles: 2.0mm steel DPNs.


The pattern actually directs you to use laceweight and 1.5mm needles – and don’t get me wrong I’d still love to try that – but this would have resulted in gloves too small for my own hands, and in any case I was looking for an excuse to use this bit of my Rhinebeck purchases. (I still have 2 balls of the same yarn remaining, in a pale purple and dark red. Hmmm). Overall it worked quite well, though somewhere between January and May I must have had a gauge shift, because the fingers on the 2nd glove turned out slightly bigger than the first. Happily, this is not very noticeable when they are worn, and in general the pair fit, well, like a glove. (Ho ho ho, I kill me).


This is, to say the least, an adventurous pattern. One of the main challenges is that because the instructions are English translations from Japanese, they are relatively sparse. However, the charts are quite clear, and the Sanquhar knitting format leaves little room for maneuverability, which is good for interpretation – the ‘blocks’ format of the motif are all the same size and as long as you can keep this consistent, and work at a gauge that will produce a glove of the correct size for you, the pattern will work. Although this is my first time knitting colourwork at such a tiny gauge, once you get the hang of it it is easy to develop a sort of rhythm to it, as is often the case with stranded colourwork.


The only thing I didn’t quite do properly were the finger gussets – I fully admit that I pretty well fudged those. I would like to try another pair of these sometime in order to give it my 100% and do better. But you know? These still kick ass. I’ll take ’em. The overall result is an incredibly intricate, light yet warm pair of gloves that nobody else on Earth has. I am actually debating whether to put them into regular Winter rotation come November – they are gorgeous and I would love to show them off, but on the other hand I don’t think I would recover if I lost one, or both.

Thankfully I have the summer to ponder that. Onwards, yes? Yes.


  1. The totally kick ass! Beautiful! I think you should definitely wear them next winter.

  2. They are amazing. I agree that you should wear them. But, I’ll warn you, I know a knitter who made the Bird in Hand mittens (worth looking up if you don’t know the pattern) and she lost them!

    Still, they are too beautiful to hide away.

  3. Wow – the amount of work in those is awesome

  4. Oh, that delightful feeling of completion!

  5. Wow! Very nice pair of gloves! I would not want to loose them either, but on the other hand, I would love to show them off! I think both are achievable πŸ˜‰

  6. Simply lovely! They *almost* make me wish I could wear gloves without my fingers going numb. πŸ˜‰ (I can wear gloves for about 3 weeks in the fall and 3 in the spring. Otherwise my circulation is just TOO poor and my fingers get way too cold. But these are tempting!)

    As for security issues, two words: safety string. Make it long enough that it won’t feel restrictive, and if anyone comments look them dead in the eye and say, “It took me XX hours to make these gloves, and I DON’T want to lose them.” Proceed on your merry way. It would be an absolute crying shame to lose these. (I am planning on doing this when I finally tackle mittens, especially since I usually stuff them in my pockets and am getting tired of the lumpyness that ensues.)

  7. That thudding sound you heard, that was my jaw hitting the floor. Kickass gloves! I admire your talent and patience πŸ™‚

  8. Those are absolutely stunning. I’m so impressed!

  9. Gorgeous gloves – I love the colour combination.

  10. Gorgeous! Keep them out during summer just to look at them and wear them in fall and winter. At least, that’s what I would do. If you lose one, it’s a good excuse to make some more gloves. Nice work!

  11. Those gloves are amazing!! I’m so impressed by your determination to take on small colourwork like that, in a pattern translated, as you put it, ‘sparsely’. They are gorgeous gloves!!!

    I also agree with a previous comment about an idiot string for the gloves- losing one would be heart breaking.

  12. tinebeest · ·

    Fantastic job!

    I agree with Laurie: safety string! Sweet memories of learning to crochet in primary school, and making a safety string must have been among the first useful things we did with the endless chains we made πŸ™‚

  13. These are the most gorgeous pair of gloves I have ever seen. I would do the little kid string thing too. Truthfully, I would duct tape them to my wrists, or maybe super-glue them to my hands. I just took a class in Japanese knitting–learning to read the charts, learning some of the stitch patterns, etc. Knitting truly crosses all cultures. I love that.

  14. They are little works of art! Just gorgeous!! (I, too, would sob uncontrollably if I lost one!)

  15. they came out so lovely!

  16. There you go with the blue again (lol). You’re still the queen of stranded color work to me! They came out great!

  17. wow, those are just awesome! πŸ™‚

  18. I think I left the same comment after you posted pics of Autumn Rose…


  19. Beautiful!

  20. Fantastic, Glenna!

    Honestly, girl, I know the amount of work that goes into just knitting gloves-with-fingers, let alone stranded-knitting-gloves-with-fingers…

  21. It’s beautiful! I love tatao website and I printed out the glove instruction 2 years ago and haven’t tried knitting it yet (embarrasing). I’m Japanese living in Singapore since last summer and my knitting passion is the lowest in my life since there are no season in Singapore!!! But now, I think I should look for the pattern again and try knitting something.
    I love your blog and I really admire your talent. Wish I can knit like you.

  22. wow. them there gloves are a bit of stunning my friend! And I must say, I really do enjoy your style of review. I always feel that I come away from your thoughtful discussions with something more to chew on and a deep desire to be so eloquent. Just thought you should know!

    Happy Stitching!

  23. Lovely gloves and colours!

  24. rosebel · ·

    very beautiful, what a labour of love, and the detailing.. exquisite!

  25. They’re gorgeous. I have a set of English patterns for sanqhaur gloves that I purchased from a museum (or something like that). There are 4 different patterns. If you want to borrow them, let me know.

    THis almost inspires me to make some myself.

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