Boot Cuffs or Calf Koozies: A Knitter’s Dilemma Solved

Boots cuffs baffled me—both as a knitter and a person. What is the appeal of a knitted calf koozie? I’m stumped as to why anyone would want a tube of fabric clinging to their upper calf for the sole purpose of peeking out of a boot. Why aren’t they connected to a pair of toasty socks? Isn’t it weird to have extra-warm calves and chilly piggy toes?

Yes, I understand with minimal effort boot cuffs make your winter look cozy and cute, and they eat up leftover and stash yarn. But, up until now I have vehemently disliked the half-finished, seemingly useless scraps of fabric called boot cuffs.

That is until Alterknits Stitch Dictionary: 200 Modern Knitting Motifs by Andrea Rangel slid across my desk and into my heart. I am a colorwork fiend; the modern, striking, and creative motifs Andrea’s created have my fingers twitching and itching to knit. As there are 200 motifs in her book, the likelihood of using all of them is slim, but then I had a dark and brilliant idea—boot cuffs!

At first I hated myself for even thinking it, but the more I flipped through Alterknits, the more I realized boot cuffs are the perfect way to test out my favorite motifs.

Direction (p. 44)


Amplitude (p. 49)


Helix (p. 60)


Tectonic (p. 76)


Poopin’ Pig (p. 85), this is the third time I’ve written about Alterknits, and the third time I’ve mentioned this motif.


Spine of the Dragon (p. 95)


Jolly Roger (p. 104)


Gecko (p. 109)


Escher Masks (p. 121)

Here are a few simple steps to placate the desire to knit every motif in Alterknits while still creating a functional knitted item in the end (which I will most likely gift to people who enjoy wearing calf koozies):

1. Dig through your stash for wooly leftovers. I like using wool for colorwork motifs, as wool (and animal fibers) stick together creating an even, balanced, and reliable fabric. My preference for colorwork is woolen-spun yarn, but use either woolen- or worsted-spun—it’s a personal preference!

2. Find 4 to 5 matching double-pointed needles. When my quest fails miserably, I’ll consult my trusty Pendleton Circular Knitting Needle Case for a 40-inch circular needle. Magic loop circular knitting, FTW!

3. Cast on the amount of stitches needed for repeats in the selected motif to fit the calf circumference of the intended recipient.

4. Work in 1×1 or 2×2 ribbing for an inch in the main color, and then join contrasting color. Work the chart until the boot cuff is about an inch shy of desired length. Break contrasting color, and then work in 1×1 or 2×2 rib for an inch. Bind off!

5. Weave in your ends, and wet block your boot cuffs/calf koozies.

6. Wear or gift your creation for an unexpected and original surprise on boot cuffs.

Finally, my boot cuffs/calf koozies dilemma is solved! Not that it kept me up at night, but finding value in something I once thought to be ridiculous is a small comfort. And I look forward to working up these motifs knowing they will make someone I love happy in the end.

Are you like me? Do you love or hate boot cuffs? Or don’t care? Let me know if you want to work up your own Alterknits boot cuffs.

Calf Koozie Convert?
Meghan Babin

Boot Cuffs from Alterknit – Give it a Try!

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