Thursday, 27 September 2012

Knifty Loom Knit Leg Warmers

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Up until now, I have only used the straight loom knitter for a simple scarf or two and as I wanted to do a lot more experimenting with my newly discovered wooly craft, I thought a  project on a round loom would be just the thing to get me started.  These little leg warmers were an experiment from the start, but I love how they turned out, and in the process I've now mastered a couple of new stitches and learnt a few tricks along the way.


As the leg warmers were to be used for an exercise/dance class for a child, I didn't want to have the yarn too thick, so chose a baby weight 4ply wool, which has the added bonus of being available in the soft pastel colours that are so prevelant in ballet class leotards.  I used 4 x 50g balls of Bella Baby 50% Merino Superwash and chose 2 in lilac and 2 in baby pink and the 24 pin loom/knifty knitter.  The leg warmers are knitted with two strands of wool at a time.

I wanted to start with rib stitch and found the instructions on youtube (which were actually for the brim of a hat, but worked very well for the leg warmers).  The video is a series of 2 and takes you from casting on through to forming the actual rib stitch and although Dawn is demonstrating a knit 2, purl 2 rib, it perfectly shows how to do each stitch and is easily amended for a knit 1, purl 1 rib.


Pattern



Using 2 strands of colour 1, work 10 cm (approx 4 inches) of knit 1, purl 1 rib stitch




 
 
When I first started what would eventually be 10cm of rib stitch, I was quite dismayed at the amount of time it took to complete just one row.  The purl stitch in particular is quite time consuming on the loom and I was tempted to put the loom away and get out my trusty old knitting needles instead.  Once I saw the result though, I completely changed my mind.  The rib stitch combined with the soft 4ply wool gave a wonderful "shabby chic" look that I simply adore.  In fact , I'm thinking my next project will be done entirely in rib - I just can't seem to get enough of it.  One thing I found useful is to always make the first peg to the right (or left if you are right handed) of the small stick out peg on the rim,  a knit stitch.  I had to undo the rib twice as everytime I had a break and went back to work, I chose the wrong stitch to start on and ended up with something that didn't look anything like rib!!



Once you have completed the rib, pull the initial "cast on" stitches over the loom pegs (ensuring the the rib rows line up) and work as per a normal knit row by pulling the lower stitch over the upper stitch.

I wanted the bottom rib of the leg warmers to form a cuff, as the dancer they are being made for has very rather thin ankles and we needed some bulk in that area so that the leg warmers didn't flap about as she was moving.  The cuff can simply be rolled up, or even just knitted to 5cm if you wanted to skip this stage.

  
Using colour 1, purl one row


Knitting the purl row first ensures that the item is knitted inside out on the loom.  When changing colours for stripes, it's then a simple matter of looping the 4 strands (two different colourways) over each other, as shown, to produce a neat finish.



Using colour 1, knit one row (using e-wrap stitch as shown in video)

I chose garter stitch (one row purl, one row knit) to give the main body of the leg warmers a bit of texture and bulk.


*Using Colour 2 -  purl 1 row, knit 1 row
Using Colour 1 - purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row*
Continue pattern from * to * until work contains 8 pink stripes
Using colour 1 - Purl 1 row, Knit 1 row
Work 10 cm (approx 4 inches) of knit 1, purl 1 rib stitch 
Cast off.

I didn't make the top rib into a cuff, but left it as a 10cm piece of rib so that the dancer can fold it, or not, as she pleases.  Our leg warmers have a total length of 45cm (approx 18 inches) but can be made shorter or longer depending on how many stripes you include in the main garter stitch section.  To cast off, I found this video particularly helpful.



Happy loom knitting

Deb

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16 comments:

  1. How would you make this for a baby? I have a very small loom for making rosettes. Would that work?

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    1. I think the Rosette loom may be too small, but I don't own one myself, so I can't be sure of sizing. It might be best to do an inch or so of rib, take the work off the loom and try it on baby's leg for size. The rib is the tightest part so if that can fit around the calf it should be fine. Otherwise, I'd suggest an adjustable loom and experiment the same way. Good luck with your project - Deb

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    2. Thanks so much. These are really cute by the way. I'm going to take your advice and try it out. Also, I have not used an adjustable loom before, so I'll look that up if this doesn't work!

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    3. all the best with your project - they're lots of fun to make

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  2. These are so cute! I bought my looms at a garage sale and the blue one is missing :( I think I might check on craigslist to see if anyone has some looms they are willing to part with or check the local thrift stores. I pinned your project and I am looking forward to others.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Carla - that's a shame about the blue loom, but if you also look out for an adjustable loom, they are really versatile and will take you through all the sizes you need. I'm loving the loom so rest assured there are many more projects to come - Deb

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  3. thank you!!! im making mine out of fluffy yarn. one thing someone told me to do, which was particularly useful with ribbing was to pull the pegs out (every other) and swap them for pegs from say the red hoop so my pegs are blue red blue red, and now i remember what im supposed to be doing :)

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    1. I love the idea of swapping the pegs to avoid the confusion of ribbing. I'll definitely be checking my looms later to see if the pegs come out :-) Deb

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  4. Oh my! I have a knitting machine and I have dozens of needles but I do NOT have looms. I am on eBay correcting this serious lack right now! I have been wanting to knit myself some thick lovely stockings for this coming winter and your legwarmers have answered the question of how to knit them. My 4 year old also asked me to teach him how to knit and this might provide a possibility as I learned to knit with a toilet roll and 4 icypole sticks on it in this exact fashion. Thanks.

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    1. I love the idea of stockings on the loom - so warm and cosy for Winter! The loom is really easy if you've done the toilet roll/icy pole knitting, it's just a teeny bit more sophisticated :-)

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  5. What size loom would you recommend for someone who doesn't have small legs?

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    1. Hi Dava, Thanks for your message. As a general rule the knitting from a loom will come out slightly smaller, or the same size, depending on your tension, as the loom you are using. So it's best to measure the widest part of the leg and then the inside of your looms to choose the best fit. Sometimes it can be worth investing in an adjustable loom if your in between sizes on the round looms. Hope this helps - Deb

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    2. Thanks so much. That does help a lot. Though I don't have an adjustable loom at the moment. That is having to wait till next month. But I need to make them before then since it's 80's day for team day at my work! But I truly do like the ones you've made and I feel like I'll be using your pattern since I enjoy the overall look =) Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Awesome! I've recently fell in love with the loom and after making several things really wanted to have a go at leg warmers. Still a bit unsure of yarn colour changes though.
    Thank you so much for this!

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    1. A pleasure! Good luck with your leg warmers - Deb

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  7. GRACIAS POR EL PASO A PASO SI NO TE MOLESTA LO COMPARTO CON MIS AMIGAS.....

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