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Braided Joggers



Wow! I really impressed myself with these joggers! This is without a doubt the the hardest thing I've ever knit. I have never knit pants before, and I wasn't following any pattern. I was, quite literally, making it up as I went. I don't want to pat myself on the back or anything, but I think these joggers turned out pretty darn nice!

I'll take you on my journey of knitting the Braided Joggers. What better place to start than with the yarn. I won this yarn several months ago through a giveaway with Stylecraft Yarns. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but of course I was excited about free yarn! I picked this light blue because I thought it was pretty. This yarn sat in the corner of my room for months. It was just kind of mocking me because I didn't have a clue what to do with it. It is DK weight, which is lighter than the yarn I normally use.

At first, I thought I was going to use the yarn to make a triangle scarf. I even bought some yarn to make a striped scarf (I thought the light blue would be too bold by itself). I'm not sure why I decided to scrap that project.

I'm not really sure how I came up with the idea to make joggers. I wanted to buy a pair of joggers because they seem comfortable. I'm currently in virtual school, so joggers seemed like a closet staple at that point. Somewhere along the way I decided I needed to knit myself joggers instead of buying them, and I decided this DK acrylic yarn would be perfect for the project.

Now that I had my yarn and my item, it was time to start thinking up designs. I put off starting on these joggers for while. I had never knitted pants before, and I was having trouble figuring out how to shape them. I also wanted to make sure I got the design just right. I played around with a few cable ideas and also very plain ideas. Ultimately, I decided less is more and kept them relatively plain except for the cable down the sides of the pants. I played around with doing stripes or cables and ultimately decided a nice cabled braid would be the thing to do.

I also decided I wanted to knit these top down. I figured it would be easier to make the waist and then split for the legs rather than knitting up both legs and somehow joining them to make the waist. 

I put this project off for a little longer because I knew it was going to require a lot of measuring and trying on and math. I put it off until winter break thinking I wasn't going to do anything else. For some reason, they got set aside for a sweater instead. When I got back to school for the spring semester, I forced myself to start the joggers and finish them.



First thing's first, I had to gauge swatch. I knew this would be instrumental in doing the math as guessing and checking didn't seem like a good method. I also wanted to play around with some different needle sizes. Once the swatches were done, I got out my needles and calculator as it was time to cast-on!

I was originally thinking to use the measurements on the Craft Yarn Council, but, after measuring my waist, I decided I would be better off making them custom to my body. I cast-on the number of stitches I needed to hug my waist for the waist band. I decided to do a 2 x 2 twisted rib so that it would be more stretchy and hug my waist. I also decided to fold the waist over and sew in elastic as I figured the rest of the pants would be pulling the waist down. This seemed like the best choice to keep them secure.

Following the waist band, I took another long pause as I knew I was going to have to do more math. I knew I was going to have to figure out where to put my cable so that it would go down the outer edge of the leg. Luckily, I had two stitch markers on either side, so I was able to just count out the appropriate number of stitches from the markers to keep the cable centered. Of course, I also swatched to figure out the best pattern for the cable. I was also putting off how to figure out how to shape around the butt. Ultimately, I decided to use the make one right/left method for the next several rows until the circumference was wide enough to fit around my butt and hips. I aimed for about 2 extra inches around my butt to make them a little baggy. While, I'm not sure that was the best method as there is now a weird seam, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

From there I had to finish knitting down the butt. Despite my gauging, this ended up being a guess and check situation. I would knit a bunch of rows, try and measure how much farther until I got to the crotch, knit that many rows, and try them on again. I must say, I had to make them way longer than I thought they would be. 

I was so excited when I finally got to split for the legs. By then I was so excited to feel like I was making progress that I didn't waste any time doing the math! Again, I wanted to try and give myself roughly 2 inches of extra room in the circumference to make them baggy and looser like joggers. I used a cable cast-on to cast-on the stitches for the inside of the leg, and I was off. I knew I wanted to knit several inches before starting the decreases down the leg.

For some reason, I decided the best way to do the decreases for the leg was to decrease 1 stitch every row and only decrease on one side. I quickly realized that was not going to be an effective method. I finished right above the knee and decided to just knit several rows down over the knee. I figured this would be fine, and I would pick up the decreases after the knee. 

I knew once I got past the knee I would be doing my final bit of math, so, of course, I put it off for a bit. I knew I needed to change how I was doing the decreases. Not only did it look weird, but i needed to try and keep the cable centered so it would run straight down my leg. I sat down and did some hard math, but I figured out how to keep the cable centered and decrease evenly the rest of the way down the leg.

All that was left was the cuff! That was easy, I did the same 2 x 2 twisted rib and the same number of rows as the waist band. I can't tell you how exciting it was to cast off the left leg! And then I did the leg all over again for the right leg. It was much easier this time, however, since I had already done all of the math. Full steam ahead! There was a little bit of anxiety on the last leg because I didn't know if I was going to have enough yarn, but once I cast-off and sewed all of the elastic in, I had several yards to spare.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how, if at all, I wanted to make this pattern available for my fellow knitters. After a lot of thinking (and I had several months to think about this), I have decided to simply write a description of how I went about knitting the Braided Joggers. While I would have liked to have typed up a pattern graded for all sizes, as a full time law student, my studies have to come first. I am afraid that I will not be able to dedicate the time necessary to grade this pattern. Additionally, as previously mentioned, I made this pattern custom to my measurements, so any math I have already done won't be super usable in grading the pattern. However, I still wanted to make something available so others can knit these joggers themselves (with a lot of time for math). I would have really appreciated some kind of guide or how-to when I was making my joggers, so my hope is that others who want to knit pants may find this helpful.



Materials
U.S. 5/3.75mm ciruclar needles, 16" and 32"
U.S. 6/4.0mm circular needles, 32", 24", and 16"
DK weight yarn (I fall between a size small and medium and used 1290 yards, 4 balls of Stylecraft Special DK
Cable needle
Many stitch markers (about 12)
Roughly 2 yards of elastic
Darning Needle
Sewing Needle and Thread

Skills
Cast-on
Cast-off
Knit
Purl
Cable
Knit two stitches together
Slip, slip, knit

Definitions
K = knit
P = purl
C12FB = slip 6 stitches purlwise onto a cable needle and hold in front, knit the next 6 stitches, knit the 6 stitches on the cable needle
C12BF: = slip 6 stitches purlwise onto a cable needle and hold in back, knit the next 6 stitches, knit the 6 stitches on the cable needle
K2tog = knit two stiches together
SSK = slip 1 stitch knitwise, slip next stitch knitwise, knit through the two stitches on the right needle

Pattern

**I recommend readig through the whole pattern before beginning.

1. GAUGE SWATCH!! Gauge swatch with both needle sizes. This is so important because this is how you will calculate number of stitches and rows.

2. Measure waist. Cast-on on size US 5/3.75mm 32" circular needles number of stitches that is equal to your waist size. Use your gauge swatch. I knit 4" for my swatch. I divided the number of stitches by 4 to get the number of stitches in 1", then multiplied by the number of inches that my waist measured. I knitted in a 2x2 twisted rib about 3 inches with the idea that it would be folded over around elastic. I recommend placing a stitch marker at the beginning that is of one color and a stitch marker at the quarter point, halfway point, and three-quarter point of another color.

3. Measure around widest part of your butt. Switch to US 6/4.0mm 32" circular needles. Knit all stitches (minding the cable pattern below) I don't know if this was the best way to shape around the butt, but I did a make 1 left after the first stitch in every row and a make 1 right before the last stitch in every row for the next several rows. My goal was to have enough stitches that there would be roughly 2 extra inches in the circumference I measured. 

4. At the same time, you will want to start the cable. The cable is started on the same row that you switch needles/the waist band is ended. The cable takes up 24 stitches. I recommend placing stitch markers to set it off. You will want to count 12 from the quarter markers on either side and place a marker. You will want to then count out 9 from both sides of the sitch marker and place a stitch marker. The quarter stitch markers can then be removed. The cable pattern is as follows and will be carried out down the whole leg:

    Row 1: P3, K18, P3
    Row 2: P3, K18, P3
    Row 3: P3, K18, P3
    Row 4: P3, K18, P3
    Row 5: P3, C12FB, P3
    Row 6: P3, K18, P3
    Row 7: P3, K18, P3
    Row 8: P3, K18, P3
    Row 9: P3, K18, P3
    Row 10: P3, K18, P3
    Row 11: P3, C12BF, P3
    Row 12: P3, K18, P3

This cable pattern will be repeated down the whole leg.

5. Knit until the piece measures about 1" below the crotch.

6. Split for the legs. Knit across the row until you get to the halfway marker. Put the remaining stitches on hold using a scrap piece of yarn or spare needle wire. You will also want to switch to US 6/4mm 24" circulars at this point. Measure the top of your thigh and be sure to cast on the number of stitches that give you an extra 2 inches in circumference. (ex. use number of stitches in 4" gauge, divide by 4, multiply that number by the circumference of upper thigh plus 2). Use cable cast on to cast on remaining stitches for the inside of the leg. 

7. Knit about 4-6" down the leg. Knit until you've reached the part of your leg that starts to decrease. 

This is where it may differ significantly for people. What worked for me may not work for everyone. 

8. I decreased one stitch every row on the second to last and third to last stitches. I placed a marker before the last stitch at the end of the row to remind myself. I decreased 18 stitches using the knit 2 together method, which is the same number of stitches I casted on for the leg. I believe casting off these stitches is what allowed me to keep the braid even down the side of my leg as I decreased the bottom half of my leg.

Change to US 6/4mm 16" circulars when stitches pull tight on the US 6/4mm 24" circular needles.

9. I knit about 3 more inches over my knee cap.

10. I measured the rest of my leg and the circumference of my ankle plus 1 inch to determine how many stitches to decrease and how far I had to do it. I calculated the number of stitches needed around my ankle using my gauge swatch (number of stitches in 4" gauge, divide by 4, multiply that number by the circumference of ankle plus 1). I subtracted that number from the number of stiches I currently had. I then used my gauge swatch to determine how many rows I needed to knit down the rest of my leg. I then figured out how to evenly disperse my decreases throughout those rows. I ended up decreasing by 1 stitch every other row. On every 1st and 3rd decrease row, I knitted two stitches together one stitch after the beginning of the row. On every 2nd and 4th decrease row, I used slip, slip, knit to decrease the second and third to last stitches. I placed a stitch marker after the first stitch and before the last stitch to remind myself where to decrease. This is what my decrease pattern looked like:

    Row 1: K1, K2tog, K all (minding the cable pattern)
    Row 2: K all (minding the cable pattern)
    Row 3: K to the last three stitches (minding the cable pattern), SSK, K1
    Row 4: K all (minding the cable pattern)
    Row 5: K1, K2tog, K all (minding the cable pattern)
    Row 6: K all (minding the cable pattern)
    Row 7: K to the last three stitches (minding the cable pattern), SSK, K1
    Row 8: K all (minding the cable pattern)

11. Knit to 1 inch above the ankle. Switch to US 6/4.0mm 16" circulars when necessary.

12. Switch to US 5/3.75mm 16" circular needles and do the same ribbing pattern as the waist band (2x2 twisted ribbing) for the same number of rows.

13. Cast off leg in pattern. Leave a long tail of about 2 feet to use to sew the cuff.

14. Pick up stitches for second leg. Knit around the row (minding the cable pattern) and pick up same number of stitches as the last leg.

15. Repeat steps 7-14 for the second leg. Mind the cable pattern all of the way down. Use the same needles as in stpes 7-14. Do the same decreases. 

I recommend sewing the crotch together after getting an inch or two into the second leg. This will help keep the finished leg from flopping around.

16. Cut a piece of elastic that is slightly looser than your ankle. Sew the elastic in a circle. Flip leg inside out. Place elastic around the cuff. Fold the cuff down and sew. The seam should be on the inside of the pants.

17. Repeat step 16 for the other leg.

18. Cut a piece of elastic that is just barely looser than your waist. Sew in the elastic in the same way as step 16. You will probably need more yarn than was left from cast-on.

19. ENJOY YOUR BRAIDED JOGGERS!!!! THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE AND COZY!!!

I would absolutely love to see pictures of your Braided Joggers!!! If you are on instagram, use #braidedjoggers when posting a picture and tag me (@knitting_with_sara).

Happy knitting!



Comments

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