Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Civil War Leggings

I am surely not the first to reproduce these, but I had a fun time working on this antebellum (1840s) legging pattern.

From the rolled cuff, to the ribbing, to the calf increases, they have some lovely features. On the table, it's nearly impossible to guess what they are.

On, however? They look great. I can't wait to try them out in some chilly weather.

The original text reads as follows:


Two ivory needles and rather fine lambs'-wool are required.
Cast on 44 stitches, knit 7 rows, then knit 2 inches, knitting and ribbing 2 stitches alternately; knit 8 rows, continue plain knitting and increase at the beginning and ending of every 4th row; when you have 60 stitches knit 4 rows, then decrease in the same proportion as you increased until you have but 52 stitches; knit 6 rows, and finish to match the top. Sew them up.

I used DK weight and size 5 needles and still had to cast on more (for a total of 54 stiches) than the pattern called for in order to fit me. So the questions is, as always, would it then have been made in a heavier yarn? The term "rather fine" makes me think, no. I put it down to my Irish dancer ankles.

Modern Translation/Leggings

Use Size 5 needles and DK weight wool.
Cast on 54 stitches, knit 7 rows, then knit 2 inches in K2/P2 rib; knit 8 rows.
Begin increase section:
row 1: K1, Kf&b, K to last 2 st, Kf&b, K1.
rows 2-4: Knit
Repeat rows 1-4 until you have 80 stitches. Knit 4 rows without increasing.
Begin decrease section:
row 1: K1, K2tog, K to last 3 st, K2tog, K1.
rows 2-4: Knit
Repeat rows 1-4 until you have 70 stitches. Knit 6 rows without decreasing.
Work 2 inches in K2/P2 rib; knit 7 rows. Cast off.
Seam up and weave in ends.

If you are interested in bartering for a pair, let me know.

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