I’ve got to say, they’re a pain in the butt to knit — well, the fingers are, anyway — but in terms of practicality, gloves beat mittens every time.
I made three pair last year, two for me and one for my mom, and I’m working on another pair for a friend right now. I wear mine all the time in the cold weather, and find it’s a lot easier to drive with knitted gloves than mittens.
Anything you have to grip is going to be easier, of course.
Here’s the biggest problem in my experience: finding a well-written pattern. I don’t know what it is about gloves, but the patterns are almost always difficult to follow. There are some I’ve had to re-write for myself before beginning to knit.
I did find one pattern easy to follow: Pattern #1 from the Fall 2011 issue of Vogue Knitting. Surprisingly, for VK, which usually has more contemporary patterns, they’re traditional Nordic gloves. That’s the pair you see here.
There are some small errors in the chart that don’t really show up if you follow it the way it’s written. Check your gauge and check it again. They call for size 3 needles with a stranded pattern that’s 6 stitches to the inch. I went up to a size 6 needle and even then I was lucky blocking it allowed me to stretch it out some.
I made this pattern first with a merino wool, then with an alpaca/merino blend, and finally with some shetland wool. The shetland was by far the easiest to work with; the alpaca/merino blend (above) had the prettiest end result but tended to slip off the needles, especially when working the fingers.
Like I said, they can be a pain to knit at times, but the end result is so worthwhile I’m willing to make a few more pairs. I’d just like to find another pattern!
Below is the pair knit with shetland wool (left) and merino wool (right). The merino wool was Milla Mia, which was slightly lightweight for the pattern, although I wear these gloves all the time and they’re just fine. The shetland wool was bits and pieces from my stash and I honestly couldn’t tell you what all it was.