Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Leg Warmers and Headband Gift Set

Any time I don't feel well, I end up knitting. It's quiet, and I can work in the near dark. This has been a bad week for headaches therefore a great week for knitting.

Last night, I got the urge to make leg warmers for Gwenny. Did I mention I'm also an emotional knitter, making whatever I "feel" like knitting?  G looks so cute in her skirts and jumpers, but her little legs get really cold. Leg warmers seemed like an obvious solution. I dug through my yarn bin for scraps and whipped up these.

Then... if you make leg warmers for Gwenny, you're going to have to make a headband for Afton. Still recovering from last week's children's book bonanza. After they were finished, I realized that the set made a great last minute baby shower gift/diaper cake topper.

Construction-wise, these are the definition of versatility. Dig through your yarn bin for any leftover yarn in pretty much any color, thickness or material. Just adjust your stitch count to your gauge.
I suggest wool, but acrylic works too. Cotton doesn't have enough stretch for this pattern, but I'll post another soon using cotton.
You can use one color or more. You can make the stripes any thickness you want. I made thick stripes by changing the color every 6 rows, but they would be super cute with thin strips, changing every row or ever other row, or even a pin strip effect, using one color for 4 rows and a coordinating color for 1. Also, a variegated yarn would look great. Go crazy. They're leg warmers. They don't have to make sense.

You will need:
Size 4 for infant or size 7 for toddler dpn
Worsted weight yarn (I used less than 100 yards for the entire set)
Tapestry needle
Tape measure

Gauge: 4 st to an inch, 6 rows to an inch

dpn double pointed needles
k knit
p purl
st stitches
sl slip
ssk slip, slip knit
k2tog knit 2 together
m1 make one
If you're new to increasing/decreasing, read this.

Cast on 24 st using a knitted cast on
Evenly distribute st along 3 dpn for circular knitting (if you've never knitted in the round, watch this video)

Row 1: k2 p2* repeat until end
Row 2-6: repeat row 1

Row 7: if changing colors, do so here k to end of row
Continue stockinette stitch until leg warmer is 6" long (or 1" short of desired length). If changing color for cuff, k one round in new color before beginning ribbing again. Otherwise the color change will look awkward.

Repeat cuff instructions and finish using sewn bind off. Make sure you use this bind off method, otherwise you will create a really cute tourniquet. 


Using worsted yarn and size 7 dpn, cast on 4 (6 for toddler) stitches - using a provisional cast on looks better when you graft the ends together, but it's not necessary.
Row 1: sl first st, k3(5)
Repeat row 1 until headband measures 11" for infant, 16" for toddler
Join ends using kitchener's stitch (instructions for joining garter stitch are at the bottom of the page)

Cast on 5 st to size 7 dpn
row 1-8: sl first st, k4
row 9: k1, ssk, k1, k2tog, k1 (3 st)
row 10-26: sl first st, k2
row 27: k1, m1, k1, m1, k1 (5 st)
row 28-36: sl first st, k 4
Use a regular bind off on row 36.

Tie the bow in a half hitch and sew to headband using leftover yarn and tapestry needle.

These instructions might sound daunting, but I made the whole set in about 3 hours under the influence of migraine meds. You can do it!

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