Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leggings to match the BSJ

Hello, Friends far and near,

You think you have Too Many Projects on the needles?  I tried to count my WIP's once, and stopped counting at fifty.  It's no wonder that after 40 years of knitting, I am still buying new needles all the time.  LOL.   I need to find a way to finish more than I cast on.  Casting on is so much fun...

I love to make Baby Surprise Jackets, the "geometric progression" baby sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman, aka the "BSJ". The pattern is available from her daughter, Meg, at   Easy and fun.  They're like potato chips, bet you can't make just one.   I have even done them in my size, the ASJ.  Go buy the pattern, it's the best deal in the Internet.

Marilyn, one of the moderators of the "knitbabysurprise" group on Yahoo, mentioned that she had once made leggings that use the same method of double increasing as the BSJ, resulting in leggings that look matching.   I think this is a great idea, as I always wanted a matching legging to use when I want to give a baby set that looks good and matches.

I googled for the free pattern she mentioned, but I could not find her  "BSJ-esque" legging pattern, so after much googling around, I gave up and started experimenting based on Marilyn's recollections of knitting them.   I just finished them and they're cute and "go with" the BSJ.

Free Baby Leggings Pattern to match EZ's BSJ

The beginning is the grey part in the crotch and them the increases create the rest from there.  Same geometric progression idea as the BSJ. Fun to knit.  This is what I did to make them. Using a circ, I cast on 8, knit them, pulled the left hand needle out and picked up 8 stitches from the underside of the cast on. Now I am going round in a circle, much like the toe-up cast on of a sock. Knit front and back each stitch around.  Knit one round even.  Using 8 markers I set up to inc 2 (one each side of the marker) at each of the 8 points every other row. Just like the second half of the BSJ, but more so since it's 8 inc points.

I kept going until one side of the octagon (between any 2 markers) was 10 inches, since I wanted a 20 inch waist to fit my niece.  You can pick your own side length depending on the size waist desired. One side of the octagon is equal to one half of the waist measurement.  It's all proportional.   As EZ said, "babies are square."   Don't worry about the leg length, that is adjusted at the end.

Now comes the hard to describe part. I decided which segment was the back waist and short rowed a bit to give some diaper room. (5 pairs of short rows, if you catch my drift) This is optional if you do not enjoy short rows.  See the picture below.

Then I knit down one segment (to become the side seam of the leg later).
If you want to lengthen the leg, this is the place.  You can add as many rows as desired here to the next segment.  I decided the cuff was enough and did not add any more. 
Then I knit a 3 inch CUFF in K1, P1 ribbing, bound it off but did not break the thread.
I crocheted the sides of the ribbing together and then did 3 needle bind off until I had attached the 2 leg-side segments together and my live stitch was back at the waistband.
Put the live stitch on the right hand needle and knit across the next segment (front waist band), knit down the next segment (leg side seam again), another rib cuff, another 3 needle bind off.
Last stitch on the right hand needle.
Now I have only the 2 waistband segments on the needles plus 2 stitches.
I did 3 rows K2, p2 ribbing, one row with holes for the lacing (k2, yo, p2tog).
Two more rows ribbing and a suspended bind off. Thread in a lacing. All done.

The tie is a boot lace from the 99 cent store.   Ribbon is more "girly", but I like the rugged looking boot  tie against the rough texture of the garter stitch.

I alternated the colors every 2 rows to be able to see the construction, but I might not do that again. Kind of fugly in these strong colors. The yarn is from the sixties, acquired at a yard sale.  One of the ball bands actually had a date in 1961 stamped on it.

The back photo shows the 5 pair of short rows added for more diaper room.

Now I'm trying to catch up to the others on the KAL on the on the matching BSJ.  I will be able to catch up because in order to use this yarn and needles and end up with the size I want, it's cast on 120, knit 25, ddec, etc. The bulky BSJ. So it'll go real fast.  (The normal is 160, right?)  About half as much work.

Have fun with your leggings.  You're welcome.

See you soon,

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