Baby legwarmers are genius. They're cute, too, of course...but seriously...brilliant. I call these "Baby Frog Legs" because the first thing my mom texted me after seeing a photo of newborn Harper was, "Awwwwww, baby frog legs!" You know, little babies always have their legs drawn up in a frog-like fashion. It's extra-cute.
You can put them with pants and socks while on a walk so baby's ankles don't get cold. You can put them on their arms for a funky (and functional) look. You can put them on with a diaper and a onesie to make changes really easy. You can put them on baby to protect her knees when she's learning to crawl. Seriously...awesome!
BUT, the commercially produced ones are kind of expensive (especially for what they are - basically adult socks, made in China with the feet left off - they should be about $2 at the most). And honestly, I don't want to just cut off the feet of cheap socks. I don't know why I'm so against it - I guess I just don't like the raw edges (even if they are serged).
Enter my free knitting pattern for baby legwarmers!
These are seriously easy-to-make, and there are dozens of amazing sock yarns out there to ensure your baby will be looking her (or his) styliest (did I just make up that word?). You can make them as long or short as you like, and if your baby is particularly thin or chubby, you can alter the pattern down or up.
So here you go!
- Yarn: I used Shibui Sock in Spectrum - but any fingering/sock yarn will do.
- Needle: 40" Size 2 circular (for Magic Loop) or set of 4-5 Size 2 DPNs
- Gauge: 7-8 stitches/1"
- Skills required: Knit stitch, purl stitch, long-tail cast-on, sewn bind-off
- CO 42 stitches using long-tail cast-on method.
- Join to work in the round using whatever method you prefer. I used Magic Loop as shown in the video below.
- Work K1/P1 ribbing for 5 rounds. For the legwarmers pictured in this post, I double-stranded the yarn for the ribbed portions because I like them a little thicker. However, this effectively increased my gauge and caused the ribbing to not gather in like it normally does. If you want your ribbing to be a little thicker like mine, note that you might have to thread some elastic thread through the ribbing after you're done to get the gathered-in effect that ribbing normally produces. (In fact, the elastic in the ribbing is a good idea either way.) See this tutorial to learn more about adding elastic to your baby legwarmers.
- Work in stockinette stitch (knit every round) until work measures approximately 25cm. Commercially produced baby legwarmers are 20-25cm for newborns and 30-35cm for infants, but I like mine on the short side even for my six-month-old. You can make yours as long or short as you like.
- Switch back to K1/P1 ribbing, and work 5 rounds.
- BO using Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind-off (see video below). This is very important because you want the edge to be very stretchy! Don't ruin your baby legwarmer with a basic bind-off! But don't worry, the sewn bind-off is simple.
- If you use Magic Loop, don't worry about getting an even number of stitches on each needle. Instead, put 20 on one and 22 on the other. This way, when you switch needles, you will always be starting with a knit stitch while you are working the ribbing. Otherwise, you might get confused and throw off the K1/P1 pattern.
- I highly recommend you put the elastic in the ribbing as shown here and in my photos at the end of this post. Otherwise, your baby's legwarmers will inevitably fall down. This is a common problem with all baby legwarmers - both hand-knitted ones and commercially produced ones. They are probably going to eventually come off anyway (babies love pulling at them), but this will up your odds of success.
- The baby shown in these photos is six-months-old, 26" long and 18 pounds. I would say her legs are average - not too thin, not too chubby.
- My finished baby legwarmers as shown are 3" (7cm) wide and 9" (23cm) long.
- The Shibui Sock yarn is incredible - it feels slightly stiff while knitting, but after a good Eucalan soak, they are soft and squishy...just like my baby! :)
- I recommend using a superwash wool so you can throw these in with the rest of the baby's clothes in case...you know...an accident happens!
Here's how the legwarmers look after the application of thread elastic through the ribbing:
Much better! And they actually stay up. I made the elastic a little tighter on the ankle cuff than the thigh cuff for obvious reasons. Here's what it looks like on the inside of the legwarmer: