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hand-shaped fingerless gloves

I suffer from hand pains similar to arthritis, especially when I overuse my hands with too much crochet, typing, driving, etc. A few years ago, I saw some hand specialists and was given various support devices to help minimise the pain and help my recovery. The biggest problem is at the base of my thumbs (the ‘basal joint’, according to the hand specialist I saw), and, over the years, I’ve discovered that what helps most is the warmth and compression provided by a stretchy fitted glove that supports my thumb.

various support gloves for hand pain

  1. Wrist support prescribed by specialist (good for wrist pains, but it does nothing for my thumb).
  2. Custom-made rigid thumb support to immobilise my thumb joint (I only wear it at night now, as I can’t do anything with my hand while wearing it).
  3. Handeze therapeutic support gloves are quite helpful, but the side seams dig into my hands, so I have to wear them inside out. I also find the fabric between my fingers slightly annoying.
  4. My first prototype sewn thumb-support glove.

thumb-support glove for basal joint pain
My well-worn thumb-support glove.

After trying all sorts of options, I developed the fingerless support gloves pictured above, sewn from stretch fabric (with the seams on the outside so they don’t dig into my hands). I’ve worn them for years whenever I feel the need, and, as you can see, they now look a little worse for wear!

I need to make some more, but, in the meantime, I found some stretchy sock-type yarn (Elle Stretch) and wondered if I could use that to crochet some gloves that may look a little more respectable to wear in public, help support my hands with warmth and compression, and still be flexible and unobtrusive enough to let me crochet, type, etc without hindrance. I decided to make these gloves a little longer than the fabric gloves, to keep my knuckles and wrists warm and supported too. And here’s the result:

fitted crocheted fingerless gloves by planetjune

I approached this project just like I would the shaping for an amigurumi: single crochet in a spiral, with (invisible) increases and decreases for shaping, to match the shape of my hand exactly. To save breaking the yarn, I surface crocheted down the finished thumb to get back to the hand and continue the main part of the glove. To keep it stretchy, I used foundation single crochet in place of chains for the foundation and the thumb gusset.

fitted crocheted fingerless gloves by planetjune

You can see that the shape conforms to my hand so well that the gloves are still hand-shaped even when I’m not wearing them! Although, from the above photo, they may look rigid and uncomfortable, the stretch in the yarn means they have plenty of give and I can easily move my hands into any position (see the photo below), so they’re fine to wear while typing and crafting. I’m actually wearing them now, as I type this post :)

fitted crocheted fingerless gloves by planetjune

Please don’t ask for a pattern – as this is a very fitted glove, I shaped it to fit my hands perfectly. There are so many factors to consider: gauge, the stretchiness of the yarn, and the size/shape of your hand; creating a pattern that would work for all hand sizes would be more work than I could justify.

fitted crocheted fingerless gloves by planetjune

Isn’t it interesting to see how my amigurumi-shaping skills can be translated into making functional items, as well as decorative ones? I wonder what other useful objects I could crochet…

9 Comments »

  1. WOW! Amazing! I have been putting off making myself some hand/wrist warmers for some reason unknown to me, and now I think I know! I was waiting for this! ;) hehe

    Thanks for the suggestion of making them to “fit” our hands, and the suggestion of the yarn, I wouldn’t have thought about trying to find a stretchy yarn to crochet something like this!

    Thanks June!

  2. Doug said

    I’ll second Monica’s request re: fit.
    Specifically, did you measure your hand and then the yarn, or did you test-fit as you did reach round? (Or something else?)
    I’m very curious how the yarn will hold up re: getting saggy from multiple uses, will it lose it’s spring, etc…
    Thanks! This is such a cool thing!

    • June said

      No measuring required, Doug! With a foundation single crochet instead of a starting chain, I could just wrap it around my wrist to see when it was large enough, and then start spiralling from there. One advantage of crochet over knitting is that, as there’s only one live stitch which you can easily secure with a stitch marker, you can stop for a fitting at any point, as often as you want. (That’s also an advantage of making these for yourself, not someone else – a recipient may get sick of trying them on every couple of rounds…) I only tried them on 3 or 4 times to check my guesses, as I’m very used to visualising a 3D shape in my head and then reproducing it in crochet, but you could do as many fittings as you need to stay on track and keep it fitted but not too small.

      I’m also interested in seeing how they hold up to wear and tear – I was going to whip up a few more pairs, but I think I’ll give these a good test run first and see if they get saggy or wear out too quickly. I’ll report back after some serious wear-testing…

  3. Great idea! They look good too. I wish my brain worked better in 3-D like your does. Maybe if I exercised my right brain more I could!

  4. Nancy said

    Hi June,
    Thank you for your clear explanations and demonstrations! I have referred back to your site for reverse single crochet, and have recommended it to friends.
    I belong to a prayer shawl group, and put the RSC on a shawl. Now I’m completing a baby blanket in pastel yellow and using ivory for the RSC edging.
    God bless you,
    Nancy

  5. I need a compression glove for my thumb like what is pictured in #2. Do you know where this can be purchased? I do not crochet, but feel that one would work for me. Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • June said

      #2 is not a compression glove; it’s a rigid orthotic to keep the thumb immobile. It’s moulded by a specialist around your hand – I was referred by a hand specialist to an orthotic clinic where they made it for me.

  6. Cora said

    I was wondering how is the wear and tear on these? I am thinking of makeing some myself and would like to know. As i am also planning on makeing some for hubby who is hard on fingerless gloves.

    • June said

      I’ll tell you after the next (southern hemisphere) winter – it’s been far too hot for me to even consider wearing them for the past few months! They didn’t show any signs of wear from the use I got from them last winter though, and they haven’t stretched out at all, so I think they’ll hold up pretty well.

      It’s probably very dependent on the specific yarn you use though; I’d check ravelry reviews of sock yarns you have available to you, and look for one that’s not scratchy (hands are more sensitive than feet) and holds up well to wear.

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    June Gilbank
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