These can be knit in any size, at any gauge. So pick your yarn and needles and make yourself a nice big swatch. These are made entirely in the round, so make your swatch in the round too. Then measure (honestly) your thighs, hips, and waist. Take measurements on both thighs and average, just in case. Using your gauge and measurements you’ll calculate the stitch count for each section, then subtract some for negative ease. In case you’ve never made a garment this way I’ll show you my calculations here: My gauge throughout was 5 sts per inch.
Thigh- 19.5 inches at 5 spi = 98 sts 98 times 0.9 (90% for a 10% negative ease) = 88 sts each thigh
Hips- 33.5 inches at 5 spi = 168 sts 168 times 0.93 (for added flexibilty at leg join, only 7% negative ease here) = 156 sts at hip
Waist- 26 inches at 5 spi = 130 sts 130 times 0.9 (10% negative ease again) = 118 sts at waist
If you end up with odd numbers or fractions just round up a bit.
Pick your favorite stretchy cast on and start knitting your legs on a 16in needle. Work in K2P2 ribbing for a couple inches before switching to stockinette and knitting to the desired length. My legs were 4.5 inches long, and they are very short, you may well want a longer leg. When your first leg is done you can store it on your 24in needle while you make the second.
When both legs are done you’ll need to calculate your crotch stitches. Like so: [my numbers are in parentheses] Thigh stitches (88) minus half-hip (156 /2 = 78) stitches = crotch (10) stitches each leg.
Put the crotch stitches for each leg on waste wool and assemble both legs on the 24in. needle. During assembly, place markers at center front and back, and at each side ‘seam’ Knit 2 rnds plain.
Now we will start the short-row bum shaping. Knit across the bum to your left side seam- slip marker, wrap, turn. Purl back to the right side seam- slip marker, wrap, turn. Knit all the way around (one and a half rounds), and back to the left side seam – slip marker, K2, wrap, turn. Purl to right seam- slip marker, P2, wrap, turn. Knit all the way around again. Do you see the pattern? The next short row will be 4 stitches beyond the marker, then 6, 8, and 10. Knit one full round between each set of short-rows. These 6 short rows were all the shaping I needed. Other people may need more or less.
Knit around until there are about 12 rnds at your center front marker. Then we’ll start the waist decreasing. This will decrease at the rate of 4 sts (2 pairs) every 3rd round. We’re going to start our decreases at center front and back and move outward one stitch every decrease pair.
Like so: Knit to within 3 of front marker, SSK, K2, K2tog, knit to within 3 of back marker, SSK, K2, K2tog, knit 2 rnds plain. Next set of decreases: knit to within 4 of front marker, SSK, K4, K2tog, knit to within 4 of back marker, SSK, K4, K2 tog, knit 2 rnds plain. And so on through as many decreases as you need to reach your waist number. If you need to decrease a number of stitches that doesn’t divide evenly by 4, put the extra set of decreases at the back.
Do they look like shorts yet? I would recommend that you put everything on waste wool and try them on now to see how they feel. Do you like the height of the waist? Do you need more/less bum shaping? I liked the bum, but wanted the waist higher (and to finish the ball) so I knit around another 10 rnds plain before switching to ribbing.
When you are satisfied, start working K2P2 ribbing. You can add eyelets for a drawstring if you like. K2 YO P2tog around to make eyelets. Then keep on ribbing until you are sick of it or run out of yarn. Bind off loosely.
Last bit of finishing is the gusset. If these are for everyday wear you probably don’t need one- just graft/weave the crotch sts together. If, however these are for a dancer or another high-kicker, the gusset is a good idea.
This took me several tries and I’m not sure it’s perfect; but it’s functional and that’s just fine. So put both legs’ gusset stitches onto 4 dpns, join yarn and knit 2 rnds. Then on just one leg’s sts we’re going to do more short rows. I had 10 sts so that’s how I’ll explain it. K8, wrap, turn. P6, wrap, turn. K4, wrap, turn. P4, wrap, turn. K6, wrap, turn. P8, wrap, turn. K10, graft gusset and leg sts together. Make sense? You can extrapolate that out for however many crotch stitches you end up with.
And that, my friends, is how we do that. If you have any questions or confusions please let me know and I’ll try to help!