February 22, 2011

Mitten thumb anatomy

What is a 'sore thumb' - does it mean it sticks out? asked Mary-Lou after my last post.

Yes, it does. I have seen the expression several places. Here's an example, my "Selbu meets Holland" mittens. And here's Nanette's explication. I've mostly seen this used by American designers, but that might be a coincidence. The advantage is that the thumb does not interrump neither the back nor the palm pattern. The disadvantage is that it's not entirely anatomical, and the thumb have a tendency to draw the back pattern a little bit towards the palm (at least when I wear them).


Then there's the peasant thumb, or invisible thumb, commonly used in Latvian mittens. Here's an example I made last year.

I love the way the palm pattern continues on the thumb and makes it almost invisible. But then, this is not anatomical either. The hand is broader around the thumb than around the wrist and the fingers. So when wearing, there is more stretching around the thumb.

Then there's the gusseted thumb,"Selbu thumb" maybe, common in traditional Norwegian mittens. You can see a nice schematic of the different thumbs here. (Of course the sore thumb also have a gusset, so this is maybe not such a good name.)

I have used a gusseted thumb in several patterns, for example in the "Selbu Peace&Love" mittens, and in the Lizard mittens. I like that you can use the gusset for small patterns, like a heart or a lizard. It's also more anatomical, the thumb does not stick out directly to the side, nor does it stick out from the palm, it's somewhere in between. Hence, anatomically, I prefer this type of thumb.



Designing and knitting, I think they're all nice thumbs, it depends on the pattern.

P1000936

There are also thumbs that don't fall into any of these categories. These have some kind of increase to account for the larger circumference around the thumb, but there's no gusset. Like these "Give a Hoot" mittens, where the increases are done in the palm. And in my "Blomst" mittens, the increases are made on the back of the mitten, and the thumb is made like a peasant thumb, but with increases on the back, and the placement of the thumb, this makes the mitten thumb more anatomical. (And I did study anatomy...!)

Maybe there are more thumb types too?

And probably there are more names for the types I have described here.

What do you call these thumbs?

And what do we call them in Norwegian? I don't know. My knitting vocabulary is getting better in English than Norwegian. That's a pity, really. Are there any Norwegians out there who can enlighten me and add to my Norwegian knitting vocabulary?

4 kommentarer:

LEO said...

Ha I love your comment about the more anatomical thumb. :) As for the thumb made with increases on the palm, I'm not sure English language knitters have a name for that, but I do know that Finnish knitters call it an Indian thumb. Why I have no idea.... I'm curious to see what others might have to say about this! That's my new favorite kind of thumb since the palm increases follow the line of the palm so nicely.

Johanne said...

Ja, vi får nog gå i gruppterapi och tala igenom det här med tumkilar ordentligt. Det finns en duktig svensk stickare, som har kurs i att sticka bara tumkilar. Den ska jag gå någon gång. Kan det räknas som terapi tror du?

torirot said...

Høres ut som perfekt terapi - eksposisjonsterapi, tror jeg det kalles :-)

God sommer!

yoel said...

Cool! Thanks for the great overview of different thumbs. It's good to know I'm not the only person who obsesses about mitten thumbs and how they are not anatomical! :)

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