Warm below the knees

I am wearing leg warmers.

Oh hai underpants!
No, seriously. Leg warmers.

This is a pretty serious concession. Born in 1980, I saw the ’80s and early ’90s as baffling, fashion-wise. As a weird outsider whose was thoroughly and unintentionally androgynous well into my teens, clothing didn’t really make sense to me until the advent of Riot Grrrl and, later, Britpop. Mad mixes of clothes that crossed and confused class, generation and gender lines? Sure! I was already asking my dad to bring me work shoes just like the ones he wore to the auto shop and wearing them to my spendy private school. But most of what I remember of the ’80s is being treated as some kind of bizarre alien for failing at girliness. Neon colors? Those awful asymmetrical ponytails? Leggings? Leg warmers? Gah.

Then I saw Mosey.

NEEDED IT. Faved it. Forgot about it, until this winter, staying at the boyfriend’s place for nights in a row with no change of clothes, wearing the same short skirt to work four days running … during a cold snap I had failed to provision for. I ended up going to the drugstore across the street from my work, buying two pairs of legwarmers and putting them all on at once. My cosy-legged bliss inspired the following Twitter post:

This is just to say / I have bought the legwarmers / you were probably deriding / forgive me / they were wonderful / so stripy / and so warm.

But, like most drugstore items bought suspiciously cheaply, they were sorta crap. The edges started fraying immediately, and the thin acrylic yarn resisted repair. They wouldn’t stay up; I ended up improvising sock garters with 12″ Velcro straps, which worked well for holding them up but made them fuzz and fray.

I can do better, I thought. And I remembered Mosey, whose flared silhouette edged them safely into 1970s fashion, a decade I have plundered since high school.

It’s a simple pattern, but god, did I make it unsimple, as per usual. I made the small size, swapping out the Aran-style X-and-O cable for a staghorn cable because they’re my favorite. Everything blazed along incredibly fast, until I realized halfway through that the fit was going to be shorter and tighter than intended, and that I wanted a longer folded-over cuff at the top … the very first part of the pattern. Crap.

So: Start over, or no?

The hell with it. I knitted all the way down to the end, where I ditched the rolled edge for a turned hem with a surprisingly neat knitted-on seam I sorta invented, I think? That done, I cut off the top just above the cable, lengthened the ribbed cuff, threw in my first vikkel braid, knitted another repeat and a half of the cable pattern, and — here’s the badass part — grafted the whole affair to the bottom half. Hey fuckin’ presto! Legwarmer!

I blazed through the matching one with no mishaps, and knitted a total of about five feet of i-cord without even blinking.

In short, it was typical me: take something incredible simple, and find a way to throw in modifications, a brand-new technique (vikkel braids), some half-ass thing I mostly made up (my top-down turned hem), something daunting (grafting across cables) and something I hate but decide to do tons of anyway (the i-cord).

What the hell, dude. Why aren’t I this good any ANYTHING ELSE except making quesedillas?