Knitting Projects for Class: Fingerless Mittens and Barre Leveler

Two problems that sometimes arise in ballet class are cold hands and wobbly freestanding barres. I found these two quick and easy knitting patterns that provide simple solutions.

Fingerless Mittens

With cold weather¬†here, I see people layering on garments: leg warmers, rip stop (“trash bag”) pants, wrap sweaters, and more. One day I saw a person wearing fingerless mittens and thought, how clever! Fingerless mittens keep your hands warm while allowing you to still feel (or in my case sometimes grip) the barre. This free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn called Highland Gauntlets is perfect. Scroll down for instructions.

If you want to cover your lower arms as well as you hands, just follow the pattern. If you want to shorten the gauntlets and just cover you hands and wrist, simply shorten the gauntlet potion of the pattern to you desired length. I altered the pattern a little to shorten the gauntlet into fingerless mittens.

knithand2 (1)

knithand1 (1)

Freestanding Barre Leveler

 

Have you ever started class only to hold the barre and realize you unfortunately picked a wobbly one? The music has begun, the teacher has handed out combinations and it is too late to changes places … so you are stuck with a barre that moves every time you touch it. This barre is no help for balance and the sound it makes with every wobble is irritating/distracting. You could solve the problem by putting a towel under one of the barre’s four feet, but you might want to use your towel. A piece of paper is usually too thin to be helpful. I’ve seen an old ballet shoe shoved under a barre, but who wants to use his or her own ballet slipper in case there isn’t an extra one lying around the studio?

I’ve encountered plenty of shaky freestanding barres and finally decided to 1) test the barre for steadiness before class begins and 2) if needed, whip out my simple knit square to put under a foot of the wobbly barre. I used this simple pattern called “Not Your Average Washcloths” by Elizabeth Prusiewicz.

knittingbarre

Of course you could use any small square pattern — think of it like a coaster for the barre. Find simple knitted square patterns here and here.
Now you’re ready for the cold weather with warm hands on steady barres!

 

Legwarmers Part 2: Making Your Own

legwarmers

Like some of the other adult ballerinas I know, I both crochet and knit. I’ve crocheted myself a few pairs of failed legwarmers. They always end up too short and slip like crazy if I actually try to wear them with ballet. I’m forever jealous of these wonderful looking legwarmers made by Knit Two, Pointe Two, Bake Two Together. Her pattern is here, and I’m tempted to break out my knitting needles to make them.

However, I’ve been searching for good patterns to crochet (I’m better at crocheting than I am at knitting) and I stumbled upon these, the Draft Dodger Legwarmers. Besides having a pun-y name, The cuffs at the top and the bottom made me think, even though these don’t contain elastic, they might not slip. I’m still working on them (they’re really long–if you’re considering making them I’d think about cutting back on how many stitches you start out with), but I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Have you made your own legwarmers? How’d they turn out?

Legwarmers Part 1: Shopping For Legwarmers

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The Bambu Legwarmers I admire so much.

As it gets colder and colder in Pennsylvania, my ballet instructor keeps stressing the importance of picking up some legwarmers (or cutting the toes off a pair of long socks) so that our ankles can stay nice and warm.

I’ve been rocking legwarmers since summer (even though it was ridiculously hot–I’ve had some ankle troubles), so I own about four pairs of legwarmers, and I’m some of which have been picked up from dance stores, others of which I’ve picked up from stores like Target. I even picked up a pair of pretty purple ones from Burlington Coat Factory for $6 dollars (a steal, even if they are a little short for my taste).

The Body Wrapper Legwarmers I'll be picking up after Christmas, which are only a tenth of the cost of the others.

The Body Wrapper Legwarmers I’ll be picking up after Christmas, which are only a tenth of the cost of the others.

My current favorite pair is a pair of long Harmonie ones that I bought over the summer from the Rosin Box ¬†(it was one of the only pairs they have, because, you know, who buys legwarmers in the middle of summer?), however I find that sometimes they slip a little around my knees, but for the price, they aren’t bad.

I’ve fallen in love with these echauffe leg warmers, and how they closely hug your leg and won’t slip, as well as the wide variety of colors they come in. However, they’re a bit steep at $80 per pair.

So I’ll probably be picking up a pair of these from Discount Dance or Amazon. They look like they’ll serve about the same purpose and not fall down easily, but they’re made of more of a warm-knitted material instead of the Bamboo yarn of the echauffe legwarmers.

Do you rock legwarmers year round like I do? What is your favorite pair?