Friday, January 1, 2010

Fitted Leg-Warmers with Diagonally-Ribbed Cuffs

Download this pattern as a PDF.

My sister Laura requested a pair of leg-warmers for Christmas: snug on the leg, not too thick, and a color “that I can wear with a lot of stuff.” Of course, not-too-thick leg-warmers mean small needles and fine yarn, and a really long pattern. But I was up for it. I fetched my needles and trekked to the yarn store, where the woman helping me asked how much yarn my pattern called for.


“I’m improvising!” (I proclaimed this rather nervously).


She was trying to make conversation: “Are you planning to use a rib all the way down?”


I told her I hadn’t decided yet, paid for my yarn, and hurried home.


But no, I knew even then that I wasn’t going to be ribbing it all the way down. The thing is, I’ve recently become very interested in how the various patterns in a project meet at their borders. Do they switch out abruptly, do they morph into each other? They might awkwardly mix, or they could jigsaw. Anyway the point is, I’m finding this transitional portion really interesting at the moment, and how could I do anything with the transitional portion if I had no transitions in these leg-warmers?


So I opted for two cuffs and ribbing that at least attempts to wind neatly at the ankle into the leg-warming body of cables and vast fields of stockinette stitch, then to unfurl at the knee in widening triangles back into the ribbing. I’m imagining the cuffs like two neurons spitting out dendrites across the brain juices and feeding into each other. This isn’t a great simile, especially because real neurons don’t connect that way at all, I don’t think, just that’s how I’m imagining them.


Materials:

  • About 415 yards (380 meters) of fingering-weight yarn (4-ply) [Possible suggestion: Dalegarn Baby Ull (Dark Blue)]
  • Four US size 2 double-pointed needles
  • One US size 3 needle (for binding off)
  • Cable needle

Gauge:

In the leg, approximately 8.67 stitches and 10.66 rounds yield one inch on US size 2 DPNs.


Finished Size:

The ankle-cuff of each leg-warmer should measure about 8 ¾ inches in circumference, and the knee-cuff about 11 ½ inches. Each leg-warmer should measure about 13 ½ inches long.


Ankle-cuff:

Using an elastic cast-on, cast 64 stitches onto a US size 2 DPN. Divide the stitches between three DPNs with 21 stitches on the working- and middle needles, 22 stitches on the slip-knot needle. Transfer this 22nd stitch to the working needle and join with a K2tog. à 63 stitches.


Round 1: K2, p1. Repeat to end.

Rounds 2-12: Slip 1, k1, psso, YO, p1. Repeat to end. Knitting this sequence is called “ribbing it.”


The ribbing will run in a diagonal as the repeatedly cast-off stitches are replenished with yarn-overs. If you arrive at a rib and realize there’s no yarn-over there for you to knit, it works fine to simply increase a stitch by picking up the strand in the row below and passing the slipped stitch over that.

After these twelve rows, you’re ready to begin phasing from the cuff into the main body of the leg-warmers. Things get a little bit complicated now for a while, because you’re working parts of two stitch patterns in each round.


Round 13: On each needle, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1, rib it x3, then repeat, but only rib it x2.

Round 14: On each needle, k1, in

c 1, slip 1, k1, psso, rib it x3, then repeat, but only rib it x2.

Round 15: On each needle, k2, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1, rib it x2, then repeat, but rib it just once.



By now you should be able to see the decrease-lines working their way across the cuff. These decrease-lines will end up forming the hypotenuses of six right triangles. As these hypotenuses are worked across, they eat up ribs (which is why the ribbits in round 15 decreased by one from their round 14 levels) and replace them with stockinette stitch.


Round 16: On each needle, k2, p1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1, ribbit x2, then repeat, with only one ribbit.

Round 17: On each needle, k2, p1, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, ribbit x2, k3, p1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, ribbit.

Round 18: On each needle, k2, p1, k2, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1, ribbit x1, k3, p1, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1.

Round 19: On each needle, k2, p1, k3, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1, ribbit, k3, p1, k2, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1.

Round 20: On each needle, k2, p1, k4, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, ribbit, k3, p1, k3, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.


You’re ready to start the leg-warming body! For the next few rows, though, you’ll be simultaneously starting the cables and finishing up the rib-triangles. The cables require the stitches to be shifted slightly about on the needles.


The cable to be worked is your basic cable-4-front: slip 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold in front, knit 2, then knit 2 from the cable needle.

Round 21: K2, then on each needle, p1, k5, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1, k3, p1, k3, cable (using the two stitches remaining on the left-hand needle and the first two stitches on the following needle).

Round 22: On each needle, p1, k6, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1, k3, p1, k3, inc 1, k4.

Round 23: On each needle, p1, k7, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k3, p1, k4, inc 1, cable.

Round 24: On each needle, p1, k7, p1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k2, p1, k5, inc 1, k4.

Round 25: On each needle, p1, k7, p1, cable, p1, k6, inc 1, k4.

Round 26: On each needle, p1, k7, p1, k4, p1, k7, inc 1, k4 à 78 stitches.


The cuff is now complete, and you’re ready for some smoother sailing for a while. Or rather, some exceedingly monotonous cabling. The decrease-line hypotenuses should be fading directly into the cables and spiraling on themselves in six columns rising towards the knee.


Leg:

Round 27: [P1, knit across the plain of stockinette, p1, cable, p1, knit across, p1, k4] x3 (Note: There should be 7 stitches this time in each plain, but don’t get comfortable).

Round 28: [P1, knit across, p1, k4] x6

Round 29: [P1, knit across, p1, k4, p1, knit across, p1, cable] x3

Round 30: As round 28.

Round 31: As round 29.

Round 32: As round 28.

Round 33: As round 27.

Round 34: As round 28.


Now, repeat rounds 27-34, and then repeat it once more. Your leg-warmer should now measure about 5 inches, and you’re ready to start increasing for the calf.


Round 59: This is the same as round 27, but in every plain of 7 stockinette stitches, k1, inc 1, knit across until you hit the next purl.

Rounds 60-66: As rounds 28-34.

Round 67: It’s like round 27 all over again..! Just, in every block of 8 stockinette stitches, knit across all but the last stitch, then increase 1, k1.

Rounds 68-74: As rounds 28-34.


I bid you continue this increasing! Increase until you have 108 stitches.


Rounds 75-82: As rounds 59-66.

Rounds 83-90: As rounds 67-74.

Rounds 91-98: As rounds 59-66 à 108 stitches.

Because a calf is not an endlessly-inflating balloon, we’re going to decrease a little bit now.

Round 99: As round 27, with a k1, SSK, k9 at each block of 12 stockinette stitches.

Rounds 100-106: As rounds 28-34.

Round 107: In each block of 11 stockinette stitches, knit across to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1 à 96 stitches.

Rounds 108-114: As rounds 28-34.

Not even the excitement of altering the stitch count remains to sustain your boredom now! But don’t lose too much heart now, because in a mere 21 rounds, you’ll be ready to begin the knee-cuff.


Rounds 115-122: As rounds 27-34.

Rounds 123-130: As rounds 27-34.

Rounds 131-135: As rounds 27-31.

Knee-cuff:

Round 136: P1, then on each needle, k10, p1, k4, p1, k10, p1, k2, inc 1, SSK, k1, pass SSK over.


Note that the last stitch knit on each needle actually comes from the needle following. So at the end of round 136, the purl from the round’s beginning has now been knit onto the last needle and passed over by the SSK. This knitting of stitches from the following needle will continue through round 149.

Round 137: K1, then on each needle, k9, p1, cable, k10, p1, k2, p1, inc 1,

slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 138: K1, the

n on each needle, k8, p1, k4, p1, k10, p1, k2, p1, k1 inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 139: K1, then on each needle, k7, p1, cable, p1, k10, p1, k2, p1,

slip 1, k1, psso, YO, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 140: K1, then on each needle, k6, p1, k2, inc 1, SSK, k1, pass SSK over, k10, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso à 90 stitc

hes.

Round 141: K1, then on each needle, k5, p1, k2, p1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k9, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 142: K1, then on each needle, k4, p1, k2, p1, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso,

k8, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 143: K1, then on each needle, k3, p1, k2, p1, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k7, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x2, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 144: K1, then on each needle, k2, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k6, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x2, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 145: K1, then on each needle, k1, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k5, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x2, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 146: K1, then on each needle, p1, k2, p1, ribbit, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k4, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x3, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 147: P1, then on each needle, k2, p1, ribbit x2, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k3, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x3, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 148: K1, then on each needle, k1, p1, ribbit x2, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k2, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x3, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso.

Round 149: K1, p1, then on each needle, ribbit x2, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x5.

Round 150: On each needle, ribbit x3, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, p1, k2, p1, ribbit x5.

Round 151: On each needle, ribbit x3, k1, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k2, p1, ribbit x5.

Round 152: On each needle, ribbit x3, ribbit minus the last purl, inc 1, slip 1, k1, psso, k1, p1, ribbit x5.

Round 153-159: Ribbit!!


Bind off with a k2, p1, using a size-three needle. Tie in your ends. For even warming of the legs, repeat the entire pattern, and you’re done!

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