Sunday, March 13, 2011

Swirly Twirly Leg Warmers

Swirly Twirly Leg Warmers
by Abra Forman

It may be March, but there’s still a nip in the air. Keep warm with a pair of swirly-twirly leg warmers which incorporate a funky yet simple stranded colorwork pattern. An alternative chart is given for a pair of leg warmers with swirls in opposite directions. It’s a fluid and exciting twist on the classic stripe pattern except without all the ends to weave in! A good project for anyone new to Fair Isle.

Skills Needed
Knit, purl, make 1, knit 2 together, stranded knitting

Finished Measurements
Note: Pattern is written for 2 sizes, small/medium and medium/large.
14.5” (15.5”) in length, 5” (6.5”) in width (measuring only one side).

Any worsted-weight yarn in 2 complementary (or contrasting, your choice) colors. I used Red Heart Soft Yarn Solids in red and orange. Designate one color as Main Color (MC), which you will use for the ribbing, and one color as Contrasting Color (CC). You will need approximately 150 yards of each color.
2 pairs US size 7 circular needles, any length.
2 pairs US size 8 circular needles, any length.
Tapestry needle.
Optional: stitch marker.

This pattern uses the two-circular method, but you can also use dpns or Magic Loop if you prefer.

4.5 sts/6 rows = 1” in stockinette stranded patt.


Begin with smaller needles.

Using MC, CO 44 (56) sts on two circular needles. Work K2, p2 rib for 3”.

Switch to larger needle.

Increase row: *K10 (13), k into st below (m1), repeat from * three times, knit to end-- 48 (60) sts.

Work spiral, placing marker at beg of round if desired.

Follow color pattern as set.

NOTE: There will be 8 (10) “swirls” of 6 stitches each, but the first “swirl” of each round will always be 7 stitches in order to perpetuate the swirl pattern. The tension of the fabric will depend on how often you “catch” the floats (unused yarn carried along the back of working yarn). If you choose not to catch them at all, the fabric will be looser. If you catch them once or twice along each float, the fabric will be tighter.

Leg warmers shown inside-out. For left leg warmer, floats were not caught; right leg warmer, floats were caught behind the 4th st of every swirl.

Work until piece measures 12” (13”) from beg.

Switch to smaller needle. Using only MC, continue to ribbing:

Decrease row: *K10 (13), k2tog. Repeat from * three times, knit to end—44 (56) sts.
Switch to smaller needle.

Work K2, p2 rib for 3”. Use stretchy bind off found here.

 Alternative Left Leg

For an interesting symmetrical effect, mirror the color pattern of right leg by reversing the color chart, working from chart below.



  1. I love this pattern!! I am making some candy cane coloured leg warmers at the moment, with white as my main colour. Your ones look really cute!!

  2. Great pattern. Love the spirals! Thanks for sharing with us.