So I knit a second hat (my cousin is due to have a baby in early January).
I still had quite a bit of the yarn left so I thought I’d push my luck and try to make a pair of baby booties as well.
I wasn’t feeling very creative and decided to use an existing pattern where someone else had already done the hard work of designing the booties.
Happily, I remembered the was a small and simple pattern in the back of “Knitting in Plain English” by Maggie Righetti.
The pattern in the book calls for a seed stitch edge to match the sweater and bonnet patterns that are also in the book, but I made a garter stitch edge instead to match my hat.
Aren’t they fun little Frankenstein booties?
They knit up very quickly and don’t take much yarn at all. However, I did use the rest of my ball of yarn and was starting to get nervous on the second booty.
Considering I got two little hats and a pair of booties out of the one ball of Favorite Wool I think I did a pretty good job of using it up!
The three patterns in the book are learning patterns, which means they are simple for an experienced knitter but offer challenges to improve your skills for a beginner or even intermediate knitters.
The booties are good practice for knitting in the round, but not really instructive for learning socks since they don’t have the same construction as regular sock would.
There was only one tricky part in the pattern. When you are done knitting the booty, the pattern says to turn in inside out and work a three needle bind off to close the bottom.
I sat there for a minute looking at what you see here and tried to figure out how I would get my long double pointed needles through that little bitty sole without loosing all my stitches.
I actually started to slide the project toward one end of the needles thinking that would make it easier to swing them through.
Luckily, before I got to far with that effort, my common sense returned and I realized I was approaching the project from the wrong end.
I didn’t have to push the needles through the booty. I had to push the booty through the needles! Sometimes the solution is too simple.
A quick bind off and I was done.
Of course, the three needle bind off creates a ridge on the inside of the booty, but these aren’t really walking socks. If you want to avoid the ridge I don’t see why you can’t Kitchener stitch the bottom shut instead.
Knitting in Plain English
This is a good book to have in your library. You should pick up a copy the next time you’re at your local yarn store.
It’s probably more helpful for a beginner knitter as it provides a lot of basic information, but even as an experienced knitter (I only bought my copy last year) I picked up some tips and useful information.
There were also good reminders about how to do some techniques better and to not get stressed out over your knitting.
As with any book not everyone will find it universally appealing. Personally, I like Righetti’s writing style. She’s been in the business for a while and it was interesting to see her contrast how things were done when she first started compared to how they are done these days.
For instance, she says when she first started out knitters were more likely to make up their own patterns on the fly. Or the staff at the yarn store would design simple sweaters to a customers specifications.
These days we have access to so many patterns that service is no longer necessary. Actually, there are a few specialty stores that will still do custom designs, but I think it’s fairly costly.
Along those lines, I’ve seen information in the Knitting Fever archives about a primitive computer system local yarn stores could purchase that would produce custom patterns. Of course, these days you can purchase a software program that you can use in the comfort of your own home.
Lacking the special software, you can also fall back on “The Knitting Architect” on our website, which walks you through the basics of sweater design. I would also recommend Righetti’s “Sweater Design in Plain English” if customizing sweaters is something you want to pursue.
Whoops! I just wandered far from my topic, didn’t I? Since we’re wandering, which reference books would you recommend?