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.
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
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
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
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