I didn’t set out to write a knitting pattern for leg warmers, but (after some disastrously saggy in-the-round experimentation) one happened! I wanted something simple that I could wear both around the house and out and about with my beloved purple Doc Martens, so they don’t quite reach from ankle to knee. I’m delighted with the result (especially all the mismatched buttons!) so I wrote up my notes so you can make them too!
These are knitted flat, and stitches are picked up along one side edge to make the ribbed band for the button holes. I used lovely chunky buttons (between 2.5 cm and 4 cm in diameter), but if you want to use smaller ones I would recommend knitting the side ribbing without the buttonholes and just pushing the buttons through the stitches so they don’t pop open.
There is no shaping to the leg warmers, but you can choose where to position the buttons to achieve an overall tapered effect. I have fairly substantial calves! (40 cm around at the widest point) and these fit me snugly but not tightly. If your calves measure more than this you might want to cast on with 29 stitches instead of 28. You can also add an extra row or two to the side ribbing if you need to.
Those with skinnier pins can either adjust the position of the buttons, or cast on fewer stitches. but go easy on any adjustments. The leg warmers will stretch a little, and a stitch here or there can make quite a big difference with super chunky yarn!
Super simple super chunky leg warmers
Yarn: 4 x 50g ball Sirdar Kiko Super Chunky in 0410 (Duffle) 51% wool, 49% acrylic
(Can be substituted for another super chunky / super bulky yarn that works out 5-6 wraps per inch like Drops Eskimo or Rowan Big Wool)
Needles: 9 mm and 7 mm
Also: 12 buttons of similar size
Make 2 of the following:
Cast on 28 stitches on 9 mm needles. (I used the thumb method).
Work 6 rows of 1 x 1 rib (knit 1 purl 1 across each row). This forms the bottom cuff of the leg warmer.
Work 30 rows of stocking stitch (knit odd rows, purl even ones).
Work 8 rows of 1 x 1 rib (like you did before, knit 1, purl 1). This forms the top cuff of the leg warmer.
Next you need to add the ribbed band with the buttonholes to the side of each leg warmer.
- the thinner cuff goes at the bottom
- one leg warmer needs button holes on the left, the other needs them on the right.
Just to be clear, they need to be mirror images of each other, so double check you know what is going where before you move on to the next bit.
Using your 7 mm needles, pick up 36 stitches long the side edge of your leg warmer (some will be along the cuff sections but most will be along the edge of the stocking stitch part). Try and space them evenly, but don’t over think it. There is no perfect way to do this part.
Work in 1 x 1 rib for three rows (knit 1 purl 1 as before).
Button hole row (this will continue the 1 x 1 rib): k1 p1 k1 *bring yarn forward, knit 2 together. p1, k1, p1, k1 . Repeat from * until last three stitches, then yarn forward, knit 2 together, purl last stitch. (You should still end up with 36 stitches.)
Work three more rows of 1 x 1 rib.
If you added the ribbing to the left hand side of your first leg warmer, add it to the right hand side of your second one (and vice versa).
If you are using buttons smaller than 2.5 cm in diameter you can replace the button hole row with an additional row of 1 x 1 ribbing.
All you need to do now is darn in your ends, sew on your buttons, and enjoy warm, toasty legs!
I’ve only made one pair of these so far, but I’ve checked the pattern as best I can. If you do spot a mistake, or anything that isn’t clear, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
If you do make a pair, I’d love to see them! Why not post a picture on this pattern’s Ravelry page?