Posts from the ‘patterns’ category

Gusset magic

I’ve recently pushed myself out of my bootie designing comfort zone and I’m starting to design some accessory patterns. I’m particularly excited about working on some sock patterns as I love to knit socks and typically knit about a dozen pairs each year. Look for my Wavelength Socks pattern coming out in September 2022!

This new pattern has options for working cuff-down or toe-up. I really wanted the two styles to mirror each other pretty closely, so I opted for gussets and a flap heel for the toe-up version to match the cuff-down version. Magic loop is my preferred method for anything worked in the round, but sometimes there can be a few awkward sections where you feel like you have too many stitches on one needle to work comfortably. In the toe-up version of the pattern, when you reach the Heel Turn section, you have your heel stitches and all your gusset stitches on needle 2 (N2) which can make turning the heel hard to do. Here’s how I (temporarily) rearrange the gusset stitches to make it easier!

Step 1: Heel Turn Setup Round, part 1:

  • N1: work across (in pattern if applicable)
  • N2: knit your right hand (RH) gusset sts1 (the stitches increased on each side of your heel stitches)
  • Clip a lockable stitch marker onto the RH cable
Step 1

Step 2: Heel Turn Setup Round, part 2:

  • Slide the RH gusset stitches back down the RH needle to the cable
  • Pull the RH needle through, so the gusset stitches slip back onto the cable next to the instep stitches, separated by the stitch marker
Step 2

Step 3: Heel Turn Row 1

  • N2: knit across heel stitches (half your original total foot stitches)
  • Clip a lockable stitch marker onto the left hand (LH) cable
Step 3

Step 4: end of Heel Turn Row 1:

  • Slide the LH gusset stitches back down the LH needle to the cable
  • Pull the LH needle through, so the gusset stitches slip back onto the cable next to the instep stitches, separated by the stitch marker
  • Turn your work, ready to work flat doing German short rows for turning the heel
Step 4

The Step 4 picture above shows the instep (patterned) stitches with the gusset stitches either side, sitting on the cable, waiting while you work the Heel Turn as directed. Once it’s completed, rearrange your stitches again as follows:

Step 5: Heel Flap Row 1:

  • Make Double Stitch (DS) (this is the last one to even out the DS on each side of the center heel stitches), knit to last DS (making sure to work the DS through both legs as one stitch as you come to them)
Step 5

Step 6: end of Heel Flap Row 1:

  • Use your lockable stitch marker to gently pull the LH cable out between the instep stitches and the gusset stitches
Step 6

Step 7: end of Heel Flap Row 1:

  • Slide the gusset stitches back onto the LH needle
  • Complete Row 1 by working an ssk (with the last DS and the first gusset stitch)
  • Turn your work, ready for Row 2 of the Heel Flap
Step 7

Step 8: Heel Flap Row 2:

  • Slip 1, purl to last DS
Step 8

Step 9: end of Heel Flap Row 2:

  • Use your lockable stitch marker to gently pull the LH cable out between the instep stitches and the gusset stitches
  • Slide the gusset stitches back onto the LH needle
  • Complete Row 2 by working a p2tog (with the last DS and the first gusset stitch)
  • Turn your work, ready for Row 3 of the Heel Flap
Step 9

Now you should be all set to continue working the Heel Flap as the pattern directs, decreasing away one gusset stitch at the end of each row.

This sock in progress is in Republica Unicornia Merino Sock Superwash, in colourway Just a Jump to the Left.

1If this isn’t specified in your pattern, the formula to work it out is: (total # of sts after gusset increases minus original number of foot stitches) divided by 2

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flower power

So, sometimes I design slightly wacky things. Sometimes the things I design are a bit wacky to actually knit. My Flower Shop Booties have a few *really* fiddly sections which can be a little awkward to work. Let me show you how I tackle some of these sections …

Final round of the cuff: this is where you’re attaching the top of the cuff to the base of the cuff after folding it over halfway. I strongly recommend using dpns for this section, even if you’re a diehard magic loop fan like me. Below, you can see 5 stitches already picked up on one dpn and the tip of that needle is inserted up and through the next CC1 (purple) stitch from the first (purl) round of the cuff:

I’ll then knit the next stitch on the left-hand needle (which has the remaining stitches from the final seed stitch round of the cuff), and pass the picked-up stitch over that stitch. This method joins the top of the cuff neatly to the bottom of the cuff, ready to work your Petal Base.

If you’re making booties with the Multi Petals, after you’ve worked the Petal Base, consider transferring your stitches, in pairs, from your needles onto lockable stitch markers. It will be much easier to wrangle each petal without dpns sticking out everywhere (and sticking into you, lol). You can just work the stitches straight off the stitch markers for each petal. I also like that I can easily see how many more petals I need to work, just by counting the remaining stitch markers. 🙂

If you’ve decided to make flower booties with the Multi Petals in two layers, you’ve probably chosen the fiddliest of the bunch! When you have finished that first layer, you have to pick up stitches for the second layer. You can see, on this Star Magnolia bootie, that I’m inserting the needle up and through the next MC (green) stitch from the last round of the instep section, directly below the first layer of petals:

Definitely use lockable stitch markers again to wrangle your stitches, if you found that this trick worked for you on the first layer!

Seven plastic locking stitch markers hold pairs of stitches for petals on a knitted baby bootie made to look like a flower.

All the petal types use the same edging format (the sl1 pwise wyif, yb …… k1 tbl). This creates a nice line of elongated chain-like stitches along each side of the petal. When you “puk” (pick up and knit) and CO down the side of each petal, you’re picking up into these elongated stitches and creating a matching edge over the top of those. Here’s what it looks like when I have one stitch left on the needle at the top of a petal and I’m about to pick up the first stitch along the side:

I hope these tips and tricks help you make your Flower Shop Booties! Aren’t you glad you persisted?

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jogging along

No, not running. That’s not a thing I do. At all. If I can help it.

I’m talking about the dreaded “jog” or “stair step” when working stripes in the round. If you don’t employ any one of a number of strategies, your colour changes from one stripe to the next will look something like this:

Back view of a green and black striped knitted baby bootie, showing how the stripes don't meet up, on a gray cloth surface.
Not too pretty is it?

This is my newest pattern design that I’m working on – Crayon Booties. Lots and lots of tiny stripes in both garter stitch (on the sides of the feet) and stockinette stitch (on the cuff). Which also means lots and lots of yarn tails – another issue, but one that can be dealt with in tandem with reducing the jog – see below!

I’ve tried many different methods for achieving jogless stripes in the round and I’ve had varying degrees of success. There’s the “knit below” method – see this video from VeryPink Knits for a great demonstration. Like many people, I really like this technique, but, as she explains, as part of the process the beginning of round (BOR) effectively shifts to the left by one stitch every time you do it. For a deep dive into jogless stripes, the TechKnitter covers the “slip the 1st stitch of the 2nd round of your new colour” method, among other tips and tricks. This technique also shifts the BOR one stitch to the left. Then there’s the “yo jogless jog” technique, which is a fairly new one to me, but it’s now the one I prefer, especially for booties where there’s a definite “center back” and I don’t want the BOR to shift between rounds. This video, from Roxanne Richardson, covers this “yo” method, as well as the “knit below” method.

What I actually do is utilize the yo method from above for reducing the jogs in combination with this technique, as demonstrated by heyBrownBerry, for “knitting in” both the beginning and ending tails of yarn (incidentally, in this video, she does the “slip stitch” method when changing colours in stripes). Anchoring the beginning tail during the last round of your “old” colour means that the yo in the “new” colour is much easier to do. Plus, you’ve already dealt with one of those pesky tails! When you are ready to start a new stripe in a repeat colour, as in my Crayon Booties, your “new” colour is already neatly anchored at the end of the previous round you worked in it. If you do both these things in tandem, you will have woven in *all* your tails and reduced the jog as you work the stripes. Win, win!

Back view of a pink and black striped knitted baby bootie, showing how the stripes mostly meet up, on a gray tile surface.
Not perfect, by any means, but much better!

It looks like I could do a little more to even out the tension when transitioning from one colour to the next (I’m looking right at you, little one-round high pink stripe in the middle!), but overall, I think it’s much improved from the green bootie pictured above. It worked surprisingly well in the garter stitch stripes on the foot.

I’ll be testing the Crayon Booties very soon, and I hope to release the pattern by the middle of May!

Two pairs of knitted baby booties made to look like crayons sit on a partially colored coloring sheet with a box of crayons and some loose crayons nearby.
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Bootie Instep Tricks!

On most of my recent patterns, the booties are started like a toe-up sock and knitted in the round. I knit them using the magic loop method. When you get to the instep, you’re knitting most of it flat, and it can be very awkward to do with the way the stitches are normally divided (half and half from the back & front center) in magic loop. Here’s what I do:

  • Work in magic loop up to the instep section, as you normally would.
  • Check ahead in the pattern to the last or second last round of the instep section (this will be the one that starts with “working in the round again“) and note the first direction – it will be to knit X amount of stitches before doing a k2tog.
  • *Before* you start the first row of the instep, slide a stitch marker onto the right-hand (working) needle tip (or leave your beginning-of-round/end-of-round marker in place, if you’re using one):

  • Knit the number of stitches from the last row/rnd of the instep section that you noted in the second step:

  • Pull first the right-hand needle tip, then the left-hand needle tip, out – all your stitches are on the cable with your marker at center back:

  • Count off the same number of stitches to the left of the stitch marker and pull out a section of cable – you’ve effectively re-divided your stitches with the instep stitches on one section of cable and the remainder (the back of the sole & foot) on the other section:

  • Continue with that first row of the instep and work the instep rows back and forth on these stitches up until the 3rd last row of the instep section; you’ll have 1 stitch left either side of your 8 or 10 center (usually) instep stitches on one section of cable:

  • Start working that 3rd last row, but stop halfway through the instep stitches and, once again, pull first the right-hand needle tip, then the left-hand needle tip, out – all your stitches are on the cable with your marker at center back:

  • Pull the cable out at the center back, where your marker is – you’ve re-divided your stitches back to the original half & half division:

  • Finish working your bootie.

I hope this helps with one of the fiddlier bits of making my booties! Let me know if you’d like to see more photo tutorials?

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design inspiration

Sometimes, I have a brilliant idea and it takes months (or even years … I’m looking at you “Flower Shop / Knit Your Own Ending Booties”) for me to execute the bootie design to mesh with the inspiration.

Other times, I have a flash of inspiration and it takes some swatches and playing around with colours and textures to achieve my vision (e.g. Bacon & Eggs Booties).

And, every now and then, I see something that forces me to immediately swatch, then, remarkably quickly, put together a pattern and knit the prototypes.

About a month ago, I was looking for a particular stitch pattern … fell down that particular internet rabbit hole … stumbled across this stitch pattern, which I’d previously used in the cuff of a pair of socks … and that was it!

Daisy Chain Booties are currently being tested and will be released on the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere: March 19.

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bringing home the …

bacon, part 2!

My Bacon & Eggs Booties pattern has been published on Ravelry! September is “Better Breakfast Month,” after all, so why not knit up some super cute booties for hungry babies? 😉

There was much swatching while designing this pattern … clockwise, from the top, bacon swatch 1, egg yolks 1 & 2, bacon 3, egg yolk 3, bacon 4, egg yolk 4, bootie 1, bootie 2, and, in the center, the finished design!

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