In this photo tutorial, I demonstrate how to add an “afterthought thumb” (aka: a “peasant thumb”) to your glove or mitten. This method is used in place of a gusset and allows you to simply knit the stitches where you want your thumb to be (with a waste yarn) and later pick up these stitches to create the thumb.
Drop your working yarn. Using about a yard of a slippery contrast color waste yarn knit the thumb stitches. These are the stitches that will later be picked up. (My example: 8 sts)
Place the stitches that you just knit back onto the lefthand needle, slipping them purlwise. At this point, you can knot the waste yarn together in order to secure these stitches.
You will now pick up the stitches that were knit in the working yarn (immediately below the waste yarn stitches). Pick up the right leg of each stitch, one at a time. Working from right to left.
You will pick up the same number as the number of stitches that you knit with your waste yarn. (My example: 8 sts)
Now, you will pick up the stitches immediately above the waste stitches. Again, picking up the right leg only, one stitch at a time. Working this time from left to right (for Magic Loop). Picking up the same number of stitches that you knit in the waste yarn. (My example: 8 sts) Note: If using DPN's, you can pick the stitches up from right to left. The order does not matter for DPN's.
Note: The reason I am picking the stitches up from the left to the right is so I'm set up for working in the round, as I am working Magic Loop.
Now that you have picked up all of your stitches, you can remove the waste yarn. Unknot and slowly pick out the waste yarn.
Once the waste yarn is removed, all of the live thumb stitches will be exposed and already resting on your needles. (My example: 16 sts)
For my afterthought thumb, I like to pick up 2 stitches on each side of the thumbhole. These 4 stitches will be immediately decreased in the following round. This helps fill any holes created by the afterthought thumb. Begin with the bottom needle (the needle that you first picked up stitches with.) PU and knit a stitch just to the right of the first stitch on the needle. You can use whatever make one method that you prefer.
Now, PU and knit a stitch just to the left of the last stitch on the needle. (My example: I now have 10 sts on my first needle)
Turn glove upside down to work the needle above the thumbhole (the needle appears at the bottom in this photo).
PU and knit a stitch just to the left of the last stitch on the needle. (My example: I now have 10 sts on my second needle)
You have now completed the round and should have 4 additional stitches. (My example: 8 + 8 + 4 = 20 sts)
For the very next round, work as follows: *K2tog, knit to the last 2 stitches on needle, SSK. Rep from * on the second needle. You have now decreased the 4 additional stitches back to the original number that you picked up. (My example: 16 total sts)
Left side view of thumb:
As you can see, the increases that were made are disguised by the following round of decreases. Note: If you have a larger thumb at the base, you can choose to knit a round or two BEFORE decreasing. For a smaller thumb, decrease a second time for fewer total thumb stitches.