Fifty some odd years of active living have left me with hands that don't work as well as they used to, so I protect them as much as I can these days by wearing gloves at all times whenever I'm working in the garden. In fact, I go through about three pair every year, so this has caused me to have some opinions about what makes a good work glove for women. Here are two of my favorites, for different reasons and purposes:
Ethel gloves (shown above) was passed along to me by my good friend Cindy, of From My Corner of Katy. We were both at a Garden Writers Association meeting in Dallas last summer, and this pair was in a goody bag Cindy picked up at a reception. Sadly, my goody bag didn't have any gloves, and this made me ridiculously despondent. Cindy, being the good soul that she is, swore up and down that she couldn't wear these gloves, so she gave them over to me. The only problem was, they were a size too small. I took them anyway because I am greedy.
As it turned out, these have become my favorite gloves for nearly every task, precisely because they are a size smaller than I would have bought. In fact, I have another pair of Ethels that are the "right" size, and I put these on instead. The reason is that the snug fit, which has grown slightly stretched and more comfortable over time, has made them like wearing a pair of surgical gloves. I have terrific "feel" for delicate work while wearing them. They are almost like a second skin, only less likely than my real skin to suffer the slings and arrows of gardening--which in turn means that once I put them on, I seldom have to take them off until my work is done.
Womanswork, was also a freebie, though I can't remember from where. They are a little thicker and chunkier, so not as useful for sensitive tasks, but that also means that they will stand up better to abrasive work, like one might do when moving stones. In spite of being more substantial than the Ethels, they are very comfortable and breathable, more so than the gloves I'd previously used for heavy work. They fit better than my former favorites, too. In fact, I like these so much, I have completely switched my allegiance and vow never to return. Probably.
An additional benefit is that the Womanswork also have a weird suede-like, rubber-like palm and fingers, which seems to be relatively impervious to fluids. As a consequence I like to wear them while painting, instead of latex gloves, which always get hot and sticky.
Between the two brands, I figure I've got things covered. I don't like the color on either pair, but I figure, what-the-hey, they were free. Besides, I'll wear these out about mid-summer and need to buy new pairs, so I'll have a little more control over the important stuff.