Saturday, January 10, 2015

Leg or Arm Warmers

(Click on photos to enlarge)

We’ve been experiencing several Arctic blasts this winter and I’m cold!!  I normally don’t mind hibernating thru this time of year but we haven’t been so lucky this year to be able to stay in when we want to.  Sometimes there just aren’t enough clothes to keep a body warm but I happened to think of some leg warmers that I made a few years ago for others and seemed to remember that I had one pair left in my cupboard that just needed seaming up.  So I quickly seamed them and am a believer!  Oh my, no cold bodied person should be without them during the winter time in the upper Midwest.  I ran thru my stash and found enough yarn to make another pair so now I have 2 pairs.  I most undoubtedly will make another pair but these 2 pairs will atleast give me a pair to wear while one is in the laundry.  

I used my g-carriage for the pairs I made previously, probably because I was busy with other things and the g-carriage can run while I’m doing other fun stuff.  But this year, I used my KH965i and ribber and I think I like them better.  Ribbing with the g-carriage doesn’t seem to retain its memory like a machine and ribber but that may be just a matter of adjusting to a tighter gauge with the g-carriage.

(One each warmer from 2 pairs, slouched)
I used superwash wool sock yarns, except for a couple pairs that I made with acrylic sock yarn for my sister who is allergic to wool.  They are so simple and easy to make, just a rectangle knit to desired length and seamed up.  They can be adjusted for size by adding or subtracting stitches and rows.  They can be worn slouched or pulled up to knee for maximum coverage.  One 100 gram skein of sock yarn will make a pair but I found that by adding more length, the top can be rolled down to make a cuff and they are extra toasty and seem to stay in place better. 

Gauge will vary with yarns as not all sock yarns are created equal.  As with socks, sock yarn will stretch with wear so be mindful of this when you chose your tension.  The warmers are best if they fit snugly but not tight.  If you want your warmers to slouch, use a loose gauge.  A tight fabric will not be as warm as a looser knit fabric, so do some experimenting with the yarn you’re using.

So here’s my take on easy, peasy leg warmers.

Machine:  Standard gauge machine with g-carriage or ribber
Yarn:  Any superwash wool/nylon mix or sock yarn of choice
Tension:  6 to 7, depending on yarn and size
Size:  Will fit woman’s medium and will be about 16” unstretched
               (Add or subtract stitches and rows depending on size desired)

Start with dividing a 100 gram skein in half.  A postal scale is invaluable for weighing ounces.

(Made with acrylic sock yarns)
1.  CO 90 sts, with closed CO of choice.  (With the g-carriage I like to use a double needle e-wrap.  With the ribber, I like to e-wrap CO the main bed, knit 1 row across, then transfer stitches to the ribber bed in desired ribbing pattern, hang CO comb and knit away.  I prefer 1x1, 1x2 or 2x2 ribbing.)

2.  Knit in ribbing for atleast 170 rows, more if you want foldover cuffs and if you have enough yarn.

3.  Loosely bind off.  I like to end with the carriage on the left and do a back stitch bind off, which will give a nice flexible BO.

4.  Seam with mattress stitch or I prefer to use a Bickford seam, which gives a nice flat seam and makes the legwarmers pretty much reversible.

Think outside the box and make arm warmers using the same theory as for the leg warmers; knit a ribbed rectangle in width and length as needed for size.  Leave an opening in the seam a couple inches below the edge for the thumb to fit through.

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