So instead of working on my novel AS I SHOULD BE DOING, I am now freaking OBSESSED with designing legwarmers.
I have decided to share my thoughts on how this is done. (By the way, the sideways legwarmer idea? So not gonna work, so that's being scrapped.)
1. Get out my pair of thigh-high legwarmers. Trace them flat onto a piece of butcher paper. Break out a ruler and measure exactly how wide across they are at every inch. Determine that thigh-highs should be 22 inches long and start out around 8 inches around at ankle, go up to about 14 inches around and then taper down to 12 at the top.
2. Gauge swatching: take the generic worsted yarn I got for this ages ago and try making 4x4 ribbed swatches in size 9, 8, and 7 needles. I was hoping I could get away with using larger needles 'cause the bigger, the faster (usually). Alas, no, the 9 has no tightness at all the way one would expect with ribbing, so that's out. The size 8 and 7 swatches are really similar, they're both 26 sts across and only the row count changes (24 at size 8, 26 at size 7). I decide that between the 26x26 evenness and the fact that I need tightness, size 7 needles wins for this.
3. After having woken up WAY TOO EARLY FOR NO GOOD REASON this morning (probably woke around 3 a.m. thinking it was 5 a.m, got up at "six" and it turned out to be four a.m. and I couldn't get back to sleep), get up and do a bunch of math figuring out how many stitches to have and how many rows and at what points to do increases and decreases. Basically copying off the original legwarmers there. I started a spreadsheet indicating at what rows to do increases on, and what rows to add eyelets on to.
4. Since I plan to knit these flat and have them lace up, I start adding to my swatch to try out adding yarnovers to the sides to lace them up through. That works very well.
5. Now, on to how to do increases, which is what I'm currently on. I discovered on some other project that adding increases in the middle of ribbing works surprisingly well and looks interesting... but I probably shouldn't do them with yarn overs. I need to try them out with knit front and back technique instead and see if that leaves less gaping holes in the legwarmers.