"Where are your gloves? Why aren't you wearing your gloves?" If I've heard these words come out of Romie's mouth once, I've heard it a thousand times. I'm out in the garden, with my gloves on, and oh, look there! A weed! I reach over to grab it to pluck it out and I just can't grasp the thing with my gloves on, so I peel them off and well, there they stay.
As a dental hygienist, I resisted the change in the '80s when wearing protective latex gloves became a requirement. Not because I didn't know it was in my best interest, but because I lamented the loss of tactile sense while wearing them. It's always been the same with garden gloves. I want to really feel what I'm doing.
I've looked at various brands of gardening gloves in just about every garden center I've visited (and that's a lot), and while I found some that I thought might be good, something stopped me from buying them (usually the price). I wondered why somebody couldn't make women's gardening gloves that weren't bulky yet looked nice.
Somebody finally did.
Last week, I received a pair of Ethel Gloves to try. The day my gloves arrived, I was just about to head out to the garden to do various tasks, so it was a good day to put them to the test.
The first thing I had planned was to finish spreading mulch. We use Black Pearl and if you don't wear gloves, you'll end up with charcoally dirty hands. I'd worn gloves to do this before, but always managed to have some of it make its way down into my gloves and had to take them off and remove the irritating pieces of shredded wood. Ethel has a ring of elastic around the wrist and it was very effective at keeping stray mulch out of my gloves.
The next task was weeding. I actually enjoy doing this and as a result of staying on top of the weed situation, none of them ever gets to be very large. Pulling small weeds can be very difficult while wearing gloves, so invariably, the gloves come off. Especially if I'm trying to pull those ground-huggers. With Ethel Gloves on my hands, I had no problem at all grasping and pulling them out.
I needed to deadhead some flowers, and I fully expected the Ethel Gloves to be more than adequate for this task. With the leather-like palms, I was able to grab the flowers and hang on while pruning them away. There are flowers that are stickley, like Gaillardia and Sea Holly, and I didn't get stuck once while holding onto these.
However, while pruning the roses, I discovered that the knit fabric used on the back of the gloves gets snagged by the thorns on neighboring canes and stems. I do love the fabric because it's stretchy and conforms to my hands while allowing air to get through so my hands don't get hot. But the snag factor means I won't be using them when working with my roses. Ethel, how about developing a good glove for use when working with roses?
After a day of working in the garden, putting the gloves through all my normal gardening tasks, they were pretty dirty, so I decided to wash them. They are machine washable, but I didn't want to run a load just for the gloves, so I washed them in the sink. I had to rub a bit to get the black out of the orange knit fabric between the fingers, but they came perfectly clean.
I hung them to dry (as recommended) and wondered if they would shrink. They didn't. They fit just as well as they did when I first put them on. They dried pretty fast, too.
As far as fit goes, I have an average hand size for a woman. I'm 5' 4" with a small frame and I chose size medium. They fit me well, but I wouldn't want them to be any smaller, so if you're waffling between one size or another, I'd recommend going with the larger size.
I'm a detail person, so I wanted to call attention to a feature that I didn't see mentioned on the Ethel Gloves web site. They have a tab attached to the opening of the gloves with a small buttonhole-like opening. This is perfect for hanging the gloves on a nail or hook for storing. To keep the gloves together, it might be nice if they added a plastic snap on the wrist cuff.
All told, I love these gloves. No more "man hands" for me! Since I tend to ditch the gloves after a short time when working in the garden, my hands have suffered and Romie complains that I am getting what he calls "man hands".
Ethel Gloves are so comfortable and allow me to do so many tasks as well with them on as I can when they're off, that I won't be taking them off like I have done so often with other gloves in the past. I'll once again have nice, soft hands with clean nails.
Thank you, Ethel.
For a limited time, you can buy Ethel Gloves at a 10% discount just by entering LITTLEACRE in the Discount Code box when you check out. This special discount is good through August 7, 2008.
The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.