A Pair of Ingenious Knitted Gloves: The Richmond Gloves to Knit

The best knitting projects inspire curiosity. In examining a pattern before casting on, a knitter might wonder: “Why did the designer decide to include this particular element?” “What function does this part serve?” or, “How was this technique developed?” The knitted gloves by Lesley O’Connell Edwards, featured in the March/April 2018 issue of PieceWork, is one such project.

Originally, the Richmond Glove pattern existed only as a set of instructions written by a knitter named Henrietta Pulleine Ryder. She lived in Richmond, England, and designed an ingenious pattern in the 1860s for knitted gloves that are simultaneously functional and delicate. Fast forward to 2017, and the pattern was picked up again by fellow Englishwoman Lesley O’Connell Edwards, an avid historian and Victorian knitting pattern enthusiast.

In her explorations of historical knitting patterns, Lesley brings a piece of needlework history back to life that otherwise may have been lost. So the knitted gloves could be recreated by a modern knitter, she made a few edits to the pattern while honoring the original designer’s intent.

Richmond Gloves

The ingenious construction of the “Richmond Gloves to Knit” include a double-layer glove made in fine yarn on fine needles with the lower layer a fully fashioned glove complete with fingers, while the upper one is fully fashioned over the hand but without fingers. Photos by George Boe.

Unlike some unusual patterns sourced from the Victorian era, the Richmond Gloves are subtle and timeless enough in their design to fit perfectly into the modern age. Their unique design leans toward the functional rather than the flamboyant. The finished gloves are presented in one long piece, which includes a fingerless mitten on one end and a glove on the other. They are knit using a provisional cast-on at the cuff, which allows for a seamless join. The fingerless mitten is turned inside out and fits over the interior glove. This technique allows for a double-thick cuff, hand, and thumb while leaving thinner material exposed at the fingertips for increased dexterity. The resulting fabric is thin enough to avoid bulk while the wool yarn and double thickness provide extra warmth where needed.

We modern-day knitters should consider ourselves fortunate to have access to beautiful, timeless knitting patterns such as the Richmond Gloves. By recalling the past and honoring the work of knitters who came before us, we continue our living tradition. Knit these fascinating gloves for yourself or as a thoughtful gift: they are sure to delight your friends and family.


To make your own pair of Richmond Gloves, just like the ones by Lesley O’Connell Edwards in the March/April 2018 issue of PieceWork, get the Richmond Gloves to Knit Kit today! The kit includes 2 skeins of Blacker Yarns Pure Blue-Faced Leicester Laceweight yarn in Ivory Tree Coral and both the print and digital editions of the March/April 2018 issue of PieceWork, our 25th-Anniversary issue.

Enter PieceWork’s 25th-Anniversary contest! Win one of 25 amazing prize packs. All of the details are here.

Featured Image: Knit the magical Richmond gloves for yourself or as a gift for someone special.

Discover more ingenious kits to knit from PieceWork!

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