Before we get to this month’s pattern, I have to pause and celebrate for a minute, because Knit Your Comics was featured in Bitch Planet #7!
I’m incredibly grateful to Lauren Sankovitch, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Laurenn McCubbin for contacting me about featuring the pattern as part of #Bitchcraft, and also letting me add a few extra pictures and update the pattern with additional instructions.
I know most of you know me as a Marvel girl since I write the weekly Marvel news column, but the truth is, the first comic I ever read was Teen Titans way back when Geoff Johns and Mike McKone were the creative team. I was a DC-only girl for a long time, and I am incredibly excited about Batman v Superman. I am even more excited because this movie includes Wonder Woman, even though she seems to be missing from some of the marketing. Diana deserves better, and this month’s Knit Your Comics is inspired by her in order to make up for the lack of Wonder Woman BvS merch.
I never watched the Lynda Carter TV show growing up, but I still felt its influence, which is why even though I very much dig the Xena look that Gal Gadot is rocking in BvS, it’s this costume design I think of when I think of Wonder Woman.
Which is why this month’s BvS-inspired Knit Your Comics is inspired by the iconic ’70s costume.
I’ve been calling them legwarmers, but they are intended to be slim fitting and can also function as bootliners. This is one of those patterns that looks simple but is actually pretty complicated. Although the legwarmers are mostly knit in stockinette, the pattern requires some intermediate techniques, including short row shaping and seaming, and a lot of fuss, which is why I’m rating it C for Challenging.
Yarn & Other Supplies
This pattern could potentially be a great stash buster, especially if you are wondering what to do with all that white and red yarn you just bought to make your Deadpool banana hammock, since it is totally dependent on gauge. But sometimes you just want to buy. Like many people who work with yarn, I have a very large stash that could possibly be classified as a hoard.
I bought this value yarn from Michaels because it came in red and white and black and purple and was $2.79 a bag. And within that bag were two giant skeins.
The yarn is a lighter weight than most value worsted (read: Red Heart), and more like a heavy DK, but it’s a lot softer too, and without that annoying acrylic squeak. 10/10 would recommend, especially if you have large projects that require a lot of yarn and don’t need to be particularly warm.
For this pattern you will need:
- a 16” circular or straight needles sized to gauge,
- a longer circular, extra yarn, or a big stitch holder for when you need to work on the white stripe but keep the top edge live,
- a small stitch holder for when you are seaming but need to keep the top edge of the stripe live, and
- a yarn needle for seaming.
To avoid colorwork and to keep the stitches all going in the same direction, the bootliners are knit flat in two pieces, then seamed up the middle to create a tube. The topmost edge stitches are then picked up and the top picot edge is knit in the round.
The leg is the part that involves math and swatching, because the gauge in inches is very, very important, since that’s also how you measure your ankle, the widest part of your calf, and your lower leg between your ankle and your knee. The pattern is made for a plus size leg and will need to be sized down for straight sized people, and because I’m awesome, the lovely Alenka modeled how to measure these for you because I told her I wanted a straight sized person for comparison purposes and not at all because I secretly am knitting her a birthday present.
So, once you have your ankle measurement, your calf measurement, and your ankle-knee measurement, you have to figure out your starting point and your ending point, and how you plan on getting from the start to the end.
- Ankle: 11”
- Calf: 19.5”
- Ankle-to-knee: 13”
My gauge is about 5 stitches by 6 rows, and the white stripe will be about 1” wide so, my starting point is 44 stitches, minus 5 stitches, for the white stripe, so 39 stitches. But that’s for something super tight. To make sure the fabric lays well, I’ll actually be starting with 49 stitches because I knit loosely and I’ll be seaming, which subtracts a stitch on either edge of what’s being seamed.
The Lower Leg (In Red)
Cast on 48 stitches on 4.0 mm straight needles or a long enough circular needle. I know I just said 49. That’s not a typo. I’m casting on 48 because the picot edge YO pattern will add an extra stitch.
To create the bottom picot edge:
Knit four rows in stockinette stitch.
Row 5: (RS) K1, YO, K2TOG. Repeat until last stitch. YO K1. (49 stitches)
Row 6: Purl across.
Continue in stockinette for four more rows.
Now, you can sew the edge in later like I did with the Bitch Planet patterns, or you can pick it up and continue knitting. If you are picking it up I recommend this tutorial, but the basic idea is that you:
- fold over the picot edge,
- pick up one of the cast on loops,
- knit one of the cast on loops with the stitch that’s on your needle, and
- repeat for all loops and stitches until you reach the end of the row.
I know that I had you cast on 48 stitches and now there are 49, so technically there are not enough loops from the cast on edge to be picked up, but I cheat a little and use two loops from the same stitch on the last two stitches because it’s on the back side and nobody is going to see it.
After you finish your picot edge, it’s time to work the body of the legwarmer. Since we are going to be seaming the edges, you will be working in stockinette with a garter stitch edge. Garter stitch edging is created by knitting the first and last stitches on all purl rows.
Now here is where the second math part comes in. If you start with 49 stitches for 11” and have to end up with enough stitches for 19.5”, how many stitches do you add? It’s not actually 8” worth of stitches.
I guessed, based on what I know about what how socks stretch on me, and figured that 71 stitches would be about right. I increased every 7th row (since that was about 1” based on my gauge) from 49 to 71 stitches, which is a total of 22 stitches, or 11 increase rows, which is 77 stitches, which gives me nearly 13” worth of fabric. Once you’ve finished this part, your leg will look roughly like a trapezoid.
Now it’s time for short row shaping!
The short row shaping is what gives the bootliner its nifty little curve on the top. You’re going to do it on either edge of the trapezoid in order to create tiny wedges. Short rows can be created in many different ways, but I’ve found that the wrap and turn method works fine for this project. It also doesn’t matter if you start the short rows on a knit row or a purl one (RS or WS in stockinette), since no matter what, you’ll be doing one set of short rows starting on a purl side, and one starting on a knit side. In theory you could do these short row wedges any number of stitches, but remember to keep working the first and last stitches of the row (the first/last stitch in your short row sets) in garter stitch for seaming purposes.
First short row set, starting on the RS
Row 77 (RS) Knit 6 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 78 (WS) Purl to last stitch. Knit.
Row 79 Knit 5 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 80 Purl to last stitch. Knit.
Row 81 Knit 4 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 82 Purl to last stitch. Knit.
Row 83 Knit 3 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 84 Purl to last stitch. Knit.
Row 85 Knit 2 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 86 Purl to last stitch. Knit.
Now we’re going to knit around to the other side of the trapezoid and do another set of short rows.
Knit around, making sure to pick up wrapped stitches.
Row 78 (WS) Purl 6 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 79 (RS) Knit across.
Row 80 Purl 5 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 81 Knit across.
Row 82 Purl 4 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 83 Knit across.
Row 84 Purl 3 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 85 Knit across.
Row 86 Purl 2 stitches. Slip 1, wrap and turn.
Row 87 Knit across.
Now that you’ve finished all your short rows, you can either keep them live by slipping them onto another circular needle, a length of waste yarn, or a stitch holder. Your trapezoid will now have little ears at the top. I’ve pinned and blocked mine to a blocking board to show the shape, but you don’t need to actually block it.
The White Stripe
The white stripe is seamed to go down the center of the boot. Once again, your gauge is critical here. Since my gauge gives me 4 stitches per inch, I decided I was going to have 5 stitches in the center, or 7 stitches total since I will lose the edge stitches when seaming.
As with the other bootliner, you’ll want to work a bottom picot edge with one less stitch than you will actually be knitting with, so in this case, you will cast on 6 stitches.
Cast on 6 stitches.
Knit 4 rows stockinette
Row 5: K1, YO, K2TOG, YO, K2TOG, YO, K1. (7 stitches)
Row 6: Purl across.
Knit 4 more rows stockinette.
Row 11: Fold the picot edge and pick up the cast on edge. Knit together cast on edge stitches with stitches on the needle as per previous instructions.
Knit in stockinette with a garter stitch edge for seaming for as many rows as you need to meet the edge of your trapezoid, including your wingtips. It should be the same amount as your final row including your short rows (so, 87 in my pattern), but don’t be afraid to knit a few extra rows just in case you mess up when seaming.
Once you’re finished, you will have a long skinny rectangle that looks like this.
Transfer the live white stitches to a stitch holder while you’re seaming.
Seaming the Pieces
Once you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to seam. Leaving extra long cast on tails on your pieces is extra useful for seaming purposes, but if you haven’t done so, never fear! As a reminder, I learned how to seam from this tutorial, and it’s still my favorite. One further tip! When seaming the increase rows, pass the needle under both “bars,” making sure you are keeping to the outermost stitch.
Seam both sides, all the way up to the last stitch. The increases create a kind of cool diagonal shape when seamed to the white stripe, and your increase rows should be happening in parallel. You should also seam the picot edges together, or at least the front half.
Once you’ve finished seaming, you will have created a tube that you can now knit in the round using a small circular or dpns.
The Boot Top
Transfer the stitches from your large circular, waste yarn, or stitch holders to a small circular or dpns. Now here’s the fussy bit. You are going to bind off the stitches on the rows that were seamed together, going from 71 + 7 stitches to 69 +5, or a total of 74 stitches to be worked in the round for the top picot edge. I transferred those 4 stitches to a small stitch holder, then worked each set of two.
Now you’re done with all the hard bits! Into the final stretch with another picot edge.
Knit as many rows in stockinette as you need to mimic the width of the white stripe down the center, or you can make it a little taller, if you like, like on Lynda Carter’s original boots. For this pattern:
Rows 1-7 Knit in the round
Row 8 YO, K2TOG. Repeat around.
Rows 9-12 Knit in the round.
Row 13: Bind off loosely for seaming purposes.
Fold over the top picot edge and handstitch the cast on edge to the fabric. I use the white loops on the color change row for the seam. And that’s it! Your legwarmer/bootliner is now finished!
When you try on your legwarmer, it should fit snugly and stay up on its own, but because it’s knit in stockinette, it will be inclined to slide down when it gets overstretched. This isn’t a problem if you’re only wearing them as bootliners, as shown here.
But if you’re wearing your legwarmers with sneakers, once it starts slipping, you might want to try machine washing it to tighten up the stitches a bit. If it’s still way too loose, you can also try adding a layer of fleece inside for added warmth and snugness. Lining the legwarmer will also cover up those unsightly inner seams.