the pearl

Gauntlets of +1 Warming

They had to admit it — everyone on the team was freaked out when Jensen started knitting.

Not so much that he knew how to knit, because that seemed like the kind of dumbass thing Jensen would pick up, like how he kept 20-sided dice in his pack, or how he could make shadow puppets out of duct tape and spare weapons. And no one really raised so much as an eyebrow over the fact that he picked it up on one of his trips to see his sister — Beth was at that age where she'd learn it at Brownies, or Campfire Girls, or whatever sort of group you send little girls with genetic tendencies towards being freakishly smart and frighteningly hyperactive to.

No, what freaked his team out was when Jensen decided that the best time to knit was right in the middle of a goddamned mission.

He was all set up, laptop at the ready, radio in place, and he reached into his bag, pulling out two thin metal sticks and what looked like dark grey string. He fiddled with the sticks and string, reaching his fifth row when someone finally noticed what he was doing.

"Jensen," Pooch said. "What the hell is that?"

Jensen looked down at his hands. "Scarf," he said, surprisingly terse. "One, two, up, over, two together..." he muttered to himself.

Pooch stared at him. "You're knitting?"

Jensen exhaled. "Yep." The needles clicked as he finished another row.

Roque stared at him, then shook his head. "That's seriously fucked up. Clay, are you looking at this?"

Clay turned around and blinked. "Jensen," he finally said. "What the hell are you doing?"


"And you're doing that because..."

"Aw dammit!" Jensen put down his knitting. "Dropped a stitch. Thanks, guys, seriously. It's great to know that you're all so very, very concerned about what I'm doing that you're willing to completely sabotage it just by repeatedly asking me about it. Fuck!" He pulled the yarn off his needles and began winding it into a ball again.

Roque looked at him. "Jensen, not only were you fucking knitting, like a goddamned grandma or something, you were knitting while you are supposed to be getting us access to that warehou—" He was interrupted by a beeping coming from Jensen's laptop.

"You have full access now," Jensen said, still not looking up from the ball of yarn in his hands.

Clay and Roque shared a look.

Pooch shrugged. "Hey, if it makes Jensen shut up for five minutes, I'm all for it."

And just like that, Jensen's knitting became another one of the ridiculous things he did, like the gun-parts dinosaur, and choosing his MREs by rolling dice.


It was a couple more weeks before Jensen actually finished something.

They were up in the Andes, and it was freezing. They knew it'd be freezing, but there's a big difference between knowing and actually sitting in a rickety shack where the wind chill was in negative digits and blowing right through the walls.

And in between drinking lukewarm cups of instant coffee and rotating who had to sit next to the draftiest wall, they hunkered down in the shack, wearing as much clothing as possible, trying to not move in an attempt to stay as warm as possible.

Except for Jensen, who sat there knitting. He was bundled in an oversized parka, a thick fur-lined hat on his head, but his hands remained bare, furiously clicking metal needles.

"Jesus Christ, Jensen, aren't you cold?" Pooch said, his voice muffled by clothing.

Jensen looked up briefly. "Fuck yeah I'm cold," he said. His eyes dropped back down to his work.

"Then why are you doing that?"

Jensen shrugged and reached for his multitool. "Needed something to do." He cut the yarn with his knife, then dug in his pocket for a needle.

And maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the boredom, but everyone watched him slowly sew up the rectangle of knitting into a cylinder. The room was eerily silent, the only sounds the wind whistling through the cracks in the walls and Jensen occasionally making little noises to himself as he sewed.

The tension grew, all eyes on Jensen's hands, so when he held up the finished object, everyone unconsciously exhaled, not even realising they had been holding their breath. "There we go..." Jensen said, looking at it happily. He threw it at Cougar. "How's that?"

Cougar pulled the cylinder onto his arm, thumb sticking out of a hole in the middle, then reached into his pocket and pulled another cylinder onto his other arm. He held his arms up, showing off the knitted gauntlets that wrapped over his forearms and palms, leaving his fingers free. He then held up his thumb in approval.

Jensen grinned. "Awesome."

Roque looked at Cougar, then at Jensen. "You're knitting things for him now?"

"Yeah?" And if Jensen blushed, no one could tell in the dim light of the shack.

"What, you gonna fucking make him some cupcakes next? Maybe little ones with hearts on them? Write 'True Love Forever' with pink icing or some shit like that?"

"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, Roque," Jensen said, holding his head high as Pooch and Clay laughed. "I know you're all just jealous, especially when the frostbite sets in and your fingers fall off and Cougar's still got all his fingers and is nice and warm because of my awesome gauntlets."

"Besides," Cougar suddenly spoke up. "Beth makes the cupcakes."


Jensen's Gauntlets of +1 Warming

You need:

Needles. Or sticks. Or chopsticks. Or 6mm pine dowelling and a pencil sharpener to make points.

Yarn. Wool smells. Acrylic melts. Cotton or bamboo is awesome, but make sure the person you're making these for likes the color, because no one's gonna wear the neon green gauntlets. Unfortunately.

A sewing needle with a big enough eye to hold your yarn. You could sew them up with regular sewing thread, but that'd be a pain in the ass, and surgical thread just dissolves. So have a needle that can hold your yarn and make everything easier.

How to:

Cast on enough stitches to go around the person's arm — about midway from the wrist. You're generally looking at around 40-50 stitches, but check. A lot.

Knit. Keep knitting. Don't bother doing anything fancy, because these are supposed to just be warm, not fucking girly or anything. Knit until they're long enough to reach the middle of the person's hand. Or to the knuckles. It's their choice, but up to the knuckles does make your punches a bit softer when you hit someone. Not by much, and the person gets awesome bruises.

But also make sure you're not getting in the way of their trigger finger, because that kinda sucks if it gets in the way, and they almost miss their shot because of your gauntlets. Not that they'll really miss it, because, c'mon, like that could happen, but almost.

Cast off.

Fold in half the long way and sew up along the edges. Leave a hole for the thumb, otherwise people'll get grumpy and try to cut one and it'll totally fuck up your work and you'll have to make them all over again. That's usually like around two inches from the top, and then another inch before you start sewing it up again. But check with the person you're making them for. Repeatedly.

Do all this again for the other arm, then give them to the person you made them for. You might want to do this privately, because everyone else will make fun of you. Because they're jealous.

This The Losers story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at