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Startitis: Legwarmers for Me


I have recently been juggling a good number of knitting projects. None are for me. Mind you, I knit because I love to wear knitted wool items. I knit because I enjoy knitting wool items for myself. Right now, I have a few gifts, a pair of socks in my purse for Brian (for waiting in line knitting) and a few work-related projects. Nothing for me, not even bulky footie-slippers which would take no time and make me smile.

Of course you know where I’m going with this. Today I realized that I really am hungry to just make something for myself. The kind of thing which brought me to knitting in the first place!

I realize that if I balance that project for me with other things, it’s OK for me to do some selfish knitting. I am really in favor of selfish knitting as a concept, for those of us who love knitting in the same way I do. Some people always knit for charity and that satisfies them. I’m talking of satisfaction here. Sometimes I need to knit for me, sometimes others. I need both to feel satisfied.


On top of that, today was a really cold and gray Lansing day. A really typical winter day, with cloud cover and chill, and a small breeze. Ugh. I wore a good sweater and turtleneck, even legwarmers, a beret (indoors), wristwarmers and thin wool socks. I needed longjohns and taller legwarmers.

So I got home tonight, wrapped up in good Ethiopian cotton blankets (they are amazing, four layers of handspun, handwoven cotton) and took a nap. I got all toasty, and started scheming for some legwarmers.

Plans for Warmth

I took a look in the stash. I needed a big chunk of yarn that would work to make some very tall and warm legwarmers without sweating bullets that I’d run out. I found a pound and a half of Cherry Tree Hill 14-ply New Zeeland handpainted wool yarn (bulky) which was a gift a year or two ago. The colorway name is Blueberry Hill, I think, it’s sort of purply-blueberry and grape with plums and a bit of dark teal. It’s subtle but deep and will work well with much of my clothing.

This is good, traditional, sproingy wool. Waaaarm wool. Just the thing! I cast on.

I have sooo much of this yarn that I can knit and knit and knit and knit, and make legwarmers all the way to the upper thigh. It does help that I’m short and have slender legs. However, even in 2×2 ribbing and the tallest possible height, I will not need to worry about running out of wool this time. And it was already in stash, not a single hit to the budget.

I do have a legwarmer pattern in the works, but it is not this one. Making legwarmers that fit from thigh to ankle are necessarily a very personal thing, and I doubt I could specify sizes that would work in something as generic as a pattern.

Legwarmers for All

The pattern will be more standard-length and call for worsted-weight yarns. This also means that they won’t be as bulky (people who don’t wear legwarmers all the time often complain about how they appear to add body weight… I vote for warm over chic but then I’m over 40 so I get to ignore that stuff now… and I admit I’m thin so that makes it easy for me to be flip about the issue).

So we hope I’ll be able to dig out the notes (from last year) for the legwarmers and see what I can do. Meanwhile I’m making non-pattern-related super-warm, super-thick, super-tall legwarmers for myself. Someday I’ll knit myself some sockweight leggings/knit pants, but for now this is going to help me stay warm this winter.

My Current Favorite Pair

Here is a photo of legwarmers I knit several years ago. They are essentially Sally Melville’s “Maximum Legwarmers” from her Knit Stitch book, except that I put ribbing on the top and bottom of them. Hers call for rolled edges which is cute (and means that they have no purls, which allowed her to put them in that book). I wear legwarmers so often, and so hard, that I felt they needed ribbing for me.

I can not tell you how often I wear these. They call for 2 colorways of Noro Kureyon, striped randomly. I striped the first randomly then matched it on the second. I chose one colorway that was all warm tones, and one colorway that was all cool tones. The best!

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