Legwarmers are done and the joke’s on me

Mismatched Legwarmers

Mismatched Legwarmers

Noah loved his legwarmers. I don’t have a photo of this yet – these pics are pre-gifting so those are my legs. He also received a Buck knife from a friend of ours who was laughingly concerned for a young man who wanted mismatched legwarmers more than anything else. But one of Noah’s new hobbies is camping so the knife was also a happy gift.

Mismatched Legwarmers

My pattern is simple but my mom, ever the motivator, urged me to write it up for the internets anyway. Who knows when my evil twin will want to knit legwarmers for a wacky relative? This way she can give it a Google or look on Ravelry and try my recipe.

Mismatched Legwarmers


The finished legwarmers were ~9 inches wide unstretched and 15 inches long. They will stretch to fit a calf up to 16 inches wide, depending on how tight your ribbing is. These fit both my brother and I from underneath the knee to the ankle.


Pattern repeat is 2 sts if you need to add or subtract width. Just knit them longer or shorter if you want longer or shorter legwarmers. I think a nifty alteration – for those of us who just don’t get the legwarmer – would be ankle warmers. In that case you would need to knit them only about 4 to 6 inches long.


Cascade 220, 2 skeins (turquoise and ruby red). Noah’s legwarmers weighed about 125 grams so if you want to substitute another worsted weight yarn, you will need about 150 grams of the substitute yarn.

US 7 (I used DPNs because pointy sticks make me feel safe but of course you could also use circulars)

Tapestry needle and snips


Approximately 5 stitches per inch in stockinette.


Make one in turquoise and the other in ruby red

Cast on 56 stitches (I used the long-tail method).

Join in the round without twisting.

Knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for 15 inches.

Bind off very loosely! I used the following stretchy bind off, found on Grumperina‘s blog through Google. She doesn’t credit its source, nor can I:

Work 2 stitches in pattern (in this case, K1, P1). Bring yarn to back (if it is not there already). *Move those two stitches back to the left needle and knit them together through the back loop. Work one stitch in pattern.* Repeat between the asterisks until all stitches are bound off.

I find this bind off will stretch infinitely and am using it more and more when I need a loose edge. It made the bound off edge of the legwarmers ruffle just a little bit because of how it combines with ribbing but this did not detract from the product so I kept it.

Mismatched Legwarmers


Weave in your ends.

With a contrasting color (I was able to use the snipped off ends), embroider a simple star on one legwarmer and put three French knots on the other. There are few limits here in what you could do to decorate your legwarmers. My only warning is to keep shapes small or loosely embroidered so as to not bind up your ribbing. I also chose to do my embroidery near the edge where it would perhaps be stretched less.

Mismatched Legwarmers

And the joke? When I gave them to Noah and explained my vertical striping dilemma, he said, “Oh sorry, I meant horizontal stripes.” Sheesh! With about 80g leftover, he might get lucky with a third, striped legwarmer to go with his mismatched set. Someday.

Legwarmers kicking my ass

Mismatched Legwarmers

I’m a pretty adventurous knitter but my brother Noah always manages to challenge me, unknowingly. First it was the viking-esque hat with detachable face mask. He was excited, made drawings, touched yarn, talked colors. I was enthusiastic. This was a challenge but not outside the realm of possibility. Except that nothing I tried satisfied me and eventually the project became a burr that was buried in a basket of unloved false-starts, tying up at least two Denise cables with needles. Ugh. Together we acknowledge the failure and my needles were rescued from the dusty basket.

This time it was legwarmers. (If the project described above was not an indication, my brother is not the typical male recipient of knitted goodies. He’s an Artist.) My darling bro and his lovely girlfriend helped my husband paint the bedroom since I am to refrain from such activities for the next four months and so grateful was I that I offered to knit his legwarmers for his birthday (Nov 5) even though I had privately agreed with myself to not knit birthday gifts this year since I am trying to get other things knit and many of my family birthdays happen in the next two months.

How does one complicate legwarmers? Noah wanted vertical stripes and preferred that they did not match. Sure, no problem, I blithely assured him. The next day, my son and I troupe off to the yarn store for the appropriate colors and returned home for lunch. I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out how to knit ribbed vertical stripes. Let me make this short, fast forward a few hours: it’s not possible. I worked out that I could double-knit in vertical stripes but a couple inches of that assured me that it was not stretchy enough. Other possibilities include intarsia and corrugated ribbing but they would also not stretch due to the stranding across the back. Helical knitting, a la Grumperina? But that would take…20 different balls of yarn, if it even worked. I was done.

I took a giant step backwards, realized that I was making myself crazy over something that was not, in the end, that important. Vertical ribbed stripes, that is. The man was willing to buy handknit legwarmers at the fair trade shop, knit by a stranger, so I’m sure these will more than satisfy.

Check back for the results (I am about half done with #1, not counting finishing work) next Thursday. I don’t want to give away the design now since Noah reads this site, newborn though it is. He’s my blog tech support and is helping me to get everything up and running. Actually, that was originally what I was trading the viking face mask hat for. What did we change it to? Do I still owe you something, Noah?

In the meantime, I have at least six active projects to talk about so there won’t be any lack of fiber around here.