Thumb gussets shouldn’t be scary. They’re basically increases and then holding those stitches for later.
Any time knitting creates an unusual shape it can be scary – but it shouldn’t. A thumb gusset is a simple way to create some nice shaping and it’s truly a simple method. Here are some step-by-step instructions for you if you’re still not convinced.
Step 1: Increases
Follow the pattern and work the increases. If the pattern just says “increase” or “make 1”, I suggest the lifted increases. They’re tight and work great on a thumb gusset. They’re the type of increase I used in these pics.
For your first thumb gusset, I suggest working a left-leaning increase, then the stitches in between, then a right-leaning increase. Once you’ve made a few gussets, you might want to switch the direction of each increase by starting out with a right-leaning increase and then ending with a left-leaning increase. They both work and make nice increases for this step.
Just note which one you use so you can make your second thumb the same way as your first.
Step 2: Hold the thumb stitches
Thread waste yarn through the thumb stitches so you can save them for later use. Knot them together so they form a thumb but leave the waste yarn loose enough so you can try it on as you go. You’ll thank me in the next step.
Step 3: Work the rest of the hand
Follow the pattern and work the rest of the hand.
If your pattern tells you to cast on any extra stitches at the base of the thumb, I suggest the backward loop cast on.
Step 4: Pick up thumb stitches again
Put the held thumb stitches on the needle again.
Pick up stitches at the base of the thumb, as instructed by the pattern. You may also want to pick up a couple extra stitches on either side and then decrease them right away. You won’t be changing the stitch count at all by doing this, but you’ll likely avoid or limit holes in that area.
Work the thumb as instructed in the pattern.
That’s it! Now you have a beautiful thumb gusset and a glove or mitten that fits well.
Thumb gussets are more forgiving than sock gussets because they’re not supposed to fit tightly – they have more give. If you’re considering making a pair of gloves or mittens as gifts, it’s a great way to try out the gusset.
Where can I use a thumb gusset?
We have several patterns for fingerless mitts, mittens or gloves so you can give you new-found skill a try.