Friday, March 21, 2014
Hand In Glove
A few weeks ago I ceased all this silliness. I decided to look for The Perfect Glove. I would still practice thrift, perhaps not quite so stringently, but even more critically, I would work on my injudiciousness. With those two thoughts in mind I made a list of everything I required in a glove:
1. Finger protection: thorns, biting bugs, glass, rusty nails, the odd attacking snake/squirrel/chicken.
2. I want my fingers to stay clean. My heart sinks when I peel off my gloves and my fingers are ingrained with hours of dirt. I wear gloves to AVOID this scenario, not encourage it.
3. Warmth. Who wants to dig around in the winter garden with numb digits? Not I.
4. Breathability: they should never, under any circumstances, turn my hand into a gross white prune.
5. They must be easy to remove and put on. Bonus points if I can put them on with one hand.
With that criteria in hand, I assessed my current gardening gloves. I had two types.
First, the bulk buy glove.
Pro: Comfortable, breathable, with a useful grippy feature about them. Lightweight fabric makes them cosy to wear. Washable. Reinforced fabric across the knuckles. Leathery-like substance over the fingers. And I can put these babies on with my nose.
Con: They have irritating lumpy seams at the end of the fingers that continually irk me. And forget wearing them in the rain. Your hands will get wet, muddy, sweaty, AND they'll turn into prunes.
Rating: B (B+ if you only wear them in sunny weather)
The Atlas GRIP.
I have, over the years, purchased many many pairs of these gloves. Sold everywhere. Often on sale. At the moment I have five pairs kicking around, in varying stages of decrepitude.
Pro: These are great gloves if cheap and cheerful are your main criteria. The palm side is rubberized while the back is usefully elasticized. The rubber is thick enough to endure many a hearty rose pruning. The rubber is molded so that it WANTS to slide onto your hand, which gives them an edge in the Easy To Get On category.
Con: Theoretically the rubber/elasticized fabric combination seems a sound plan, but in execution it doesn't quite work. The rubber on the back of the finger tips extends only to the first joint - just enough to ensure that you'll be tempted to imagine them Dunk-Proof. But they aren't. And once that elastic gets a whiff of moisture these gloves become Graspy Cold Gloves of Hell. No protective coating over the knuckles, an omission I've rued more than once.
Price: $ (I'd give them half a $ if I knew how to do it on the keyboard)
I needed more in the waterproofing category, with a little less cracking of rubber. A clerk at a garden centre told me I needed leather. It was an intriguing thought, so I went with this pair:
Pro: Shockingly comfortable. My frugal soul is pained to admit that sometimes you DO get what you pay for. Leather knuckle cover. Sturdy leather finger tips. Highly breathable, with a clever hint of elastic around the back of the wrists (prevents dirt from tumbling into the finger stalls).
Con: We were inseparable until it started raining, whereupon I discovered that my lovely leather is useless when wet. They inhaled the water, the (non-leather) portions grew sodden, and they looked like giant, deformed mitts of mud. So not attractive. We had to part ways.
Rating: A (as long as it's not raining, but you could always just wear them around the house)
With the knowledge that the rain wasn't going to be letting up any time soon, I went back to the garden centre and bought another pair. A waterproof pair. At the till I was told that these were really excellent gloves. That buoyed me considerably.
The Atlas "Best Damn Gardening Glove Ever" (or something to that effect)
Pro: Again, shockingly comfortable gloves. Your hand positively slides in (the word sinuously wouldn't go amiss here). The rubber extends well up the arm, which allows all sorts of watery scenarios, from rescuing bees in watering cans to working in the rain or wet. The rubber appears more durable than that of the Atlas Grip, which perhaps explains why they stamped Vinylove next to the size. It's how I felt, wearing these.
Con: Haven't found any yet, but perhaps working in hot sun would be one of them. Think hot pruney fingers. Fevered brow. Low comfort levels. That sort of thing.
So there you have it: my life in gloves. What should I try next? What sort of gloves do you use? I know some say that comparisons are odious, but in this case I feel it's warranted.