It is winter and layering is essential, if you’re a big person or a little. Whether you’re outside romping about or inside spending a quiet afternoon, these legwarmers will do the trick. Rather than write a pattern with a specific yarn and size in mind, I thought it would be best to let you choose. You choose the yarn, you choose the size. Go out and buy something super luxurious to make a pair for yourself or peruse the stash and find something suitable. Whatever your fancy, this legwarmer is for you!
The stitch pattern is simple, but provides a lot of texture and a whole lot of warmth. If knit at a tighter gauge, the legwarmers do a good job of holding themselves up and keep you super warm. Knit more loosely for a softer, more slouchy legwarmer. Again, it’s all up to you to decide.
Find some yarn and needles, grab your calculator (yes, there is a bit of math), and get started. You’ll have some legwarmers your way in no time!
Yarn: Handspun [100% Superwash Wool; 2.2 ounces; 12 wpi]
Needle Size: US 5
Gauge: 26 stitches per 4 inches
Calf Circumference: 7.75 inches
Cast On Stitches: 42 stitches
Legwarmer Length: 7 inches
Yarn of your choice
4 double-pointed needles, in appropriate size
1 stitch marker
Tapestry needle, for weaving in ends
When knitting flat:
Row 1: (Right Side): With yarn in back slip one stitch purlwise, move yarn to front, purl two stitches
Row 2: (Wrong Side): Purl all stitches
When knitting in the round:
Row 1: Knit all stitches
Row 2: With yarn in back slip one stitch purlwise, move yarn to front, purl two stitches
Take Some Measurements and Do Some Math
Knit a nice big gauge swatch (about 4 inches square) in pattern stitch using your intended yarn and needles. This should, technically, be done in the round but it can be done flat. For me, laziness prevailed and the swatch was knit flat. Treat the finished swatch as you would the finished item. Launder it, block it, or do nothing. Count how many stitches are in 4 inches. Divide the stitch count by 4 to get the number of stitches per inch.
My swatch had 26 stitches in 4 inches.
26 stitches ÷ 4 inches = 6.5 stitches per inch
G = 6.5 stitches per inch
Using a flexible measuring tape, measure around the widest part of the calf of the recipient.
My son’s calf (at 20 months) measured 7.75 inches at the widest part.
CC = 7.75 inches
Cast On Stitches
Here we want to decide how many stitches to cast on. This is a little more than a simple calculation because we want to be sure that the legwarmer is snug enough that it stays on and stays up, without being too snug. In making the sample, I found that a negative ease of about 15% works well. Additionally, we have to make sure that we have a multiple of three to accommodate the stitch pattern.
G x CC = Stitch Count 1 (SC1)
SC1 x .15 = Negative Ease (NE)
SC1 – NE = Stitch Count 2 (SC2)
Before doing the next calculation round SC2 to the nearest whole number (get rid of the decimal)
SC2 ÷ 3 = ?
If the ? is an even number, you’re good to go! You’ll be casting on that number of stitches. If the ? ends in .33, you’ll cast on one stitch less than that number. If the ? ends in .66, you’ll cast on one stitch more than that number.
6.5 x 7.75 = 50.375
50.375 x .15 = 7.55
50.375 – 7.55 = 42.825
43 ÷ 3 = 14.333
Since the last number I calculated ends in .3333, I cast on one stitch less than that number.
Cast On = 42 stitches
Cast On and Knit
Using your chosen yarn and double-pointed needles, cast on the calculated number of stitches.
Join in the round, being careful not to twist stitches. Place a marker to signal the beginning of the round.
Begin working the pattern stitch instructions for knitting in the round, as noted above.
Knit until the legwarmer is the desired length, ending with a knit row.
Cast off all stitches, loosely. Use a bigger needle size if necessary.
Weave in all ends using a tapestry needle.
Danielle Reiner is a stay-at-home mama trying her best to live a simple, yet fulfilling, life. She fills her days with dreaming, making, writing, baking, laughing, learning, exploring, and blogging about it all at born.in.japan. When she manages to steal a few moments, which she hasn’t lately, she makes things to sell at her etsy shop.