I’ve made and designed quite a few things where you work an edging sideways onto live stitches. Sometimes it’s as simple as an attached i-cord edging, other times it’s a bit more of a challenge.
For my Sunny Day Booties pattern, I really wanted the effect of the narrow stripes of bright, contrasting colours, but I had absolutely no desire to achieve those stripes with colourwork. It seemed like it would be much easier to knit the outer cuff of the bootie sideways, joining it to the live stitches at the top of the inner cuff as it’s worked.
Of course, to finish it off neatly and (hopefully!) invisibly, grafting is required. So, that means a provisional cast-on. There are a lot of different methods of casting on provisionally, like the crochet chain method, the needle & hook method (which is really just the crochet chain method worked directly on to your knitting needle), using Judy’s Magic Cast-On (JMCO) as a provisional cast-on, the long tail provisional cast-on, and this one, which I really like for the easy way you can retrieve your provisionally cast-on stitches.
Here’s how I do it in my Sunny Day Booties pattern …
Here’s the bootie with the Inner Cuff finished in the main colour (MC: yellow). I’ll use the MC tail as my waste yarn and use it and my first contrast colour (CC1: pink) to provisionally cast on (PCO) the stitches I need for the Outer Cuff. I’ll use the last method I linked to above. I’m working the PCO onto the needle with the MC tail attached.
Here, I’ve completed my provisional cast-on. The MC Inner Cuff stitches are on the right and the CC1 provisional stitches are to the left of those. Don’t forget to use the MC tail as your waste yarn to save on ends to weave in! When you work this PCO, your working yarn – the one you want to continue using, in this case the CC1, will form the stitches on the needle, and your waste yarn will run neatly through the bottom of them.
I’ve turned the needle around and I have my CC1 PCO ready to work row 1 of the Outer Cuff, with the MC Inner Cuff sts also on the needle. I work my booties using the magic loop method, so you can see half the Inner cuff sts on one needle and the other half on the other (the cable is out of shot here, to the left).
Here, I’ve worked row 1 of the Outer Cuff in CC1 and CC2 (turquoise). The Outer Cuff will be joined to the Inner Cuff by working together 1 Inner Cuff stitch and one Outer Cuff stitch in a decrease at the end of every even-numbered (right side) row. You can see the nice straight line of the MC waste yarn sitting under the CC1 PCO stitches.
When it comes time to undo your PCO, just gently ease the waste yarn out of the PCO sts. I like to use a much smaller diameter double-pointed needle to do this, then I transfer them to my working needle. You may have to realign some of the stitches as you transfer them over. Then you’re ready to graft your live stitches from the last row of the Outer Cuff together with the PCO stitches. Grafting, (commonly known as Kitchener stitch), is a method of joining two sets of stitches together so that the join is invisible (it looks just like another row of knitting). It’s most commonly used to finish the toes in socks knitted from the cuff down.
The finished booties have a nifty little striped cuff, with the stripes going sideways (perpendicular) to the rest of the bootie.
See these swatches and single mis-matched booties? They don’t look like much, do they? The good thing about designing mostly booties is that I can actually knit a whole bootie as a “swatch.” Usually, though, I start with some sketches and my coloured pencils, then I start creating tiny swatches that represent a section of the cuff (if that’s the part of the bootie that makes up a new design element). After that, I work my way up to a whole bootie.
For most patterns, even if I have a specific yarn in mind, I usually start with some kind of “workhorse” yarn from stash. I have a *lot* of Dale Baby Ull, so I often start swatching with that. Sometimes I frog my swatches to start over, sometimes I just bind them off then start the next one. I don’t really want to keep knitting, ripping back, and frogging with the yarn that I’ve bought specifically for a pattern concept, so it’s easier to use something I don’t find too “precious.” I typically make a fresh page of notes for each swatch. That way I can refer back to the earlier versions to check changes & adjustments. Most of the rest of the design process happens digitally. I use Google Sheets to track and grade bootie directions, dimensions, and sizes.
With this pattern and the first swatch, I realized that I really wanted 2-row stripes, not 4. The next few were much closer to what I had in mind, but still needed a few little tweaks. The first single bootie showed me that the i-cord edge I was using wasn’t going to work at all. The second single bootie was almost there, it just needed a tiny adjustment to the beginning and ending rows of the Outer Cuff section.
The idea for these booties came from looking at logos and colours when I was working with a graphic designer on a new logo for shake your booties! It also stemmed from feeling like a gloomy, wet winter after a *really* hard year might never end. They are a little ray of sunshine! The final booties will be knitted in three colours of Mountain Sock by Teton Yarn Company. I ordered half a dozen mini-skeins for this pattern, but, unfortunately, they are in some kind of USPS black hole somewhere between the west coast and me. 😦 If they’re not here by the end of this week, I’ll knit up a pair in the yarn I have so that I can get testing started. I want to release the pattern on March 20th, so I don’t have long.
How many times have you had someone tell you to just “trust the pattern” about a particularly tricky or counter-intuitive section of a pattern you’re making? I know I’ve struggled with quite a few patterns that other people have breezed through (I’m looking at you Hitofude, for one) because I just couldn’t visualize what was supposed to (magically?) be happening.
Several of my patterns have directions for knitting the cuff with the bootie turned inside out. This is typically because they have an outside cuff which folds over an inner, ribbed cuff, and it’s easier to knit the cuff inside out, than purl it right way out. (Unless of course, you’re someone who prefers purling to knitting!)
When you’re doing this working in the round, the first step after turning the bootie inside out can be a bit confusing – especially the first time you do it! Here’s what it looks like when I do it:
I’ve just finished the last round of the instep and my yarn is at the back needle. Ordinarily, I’d start knitting into that front needle with the yarn from the back.
The bootie is now inside out so the yarn is hanging from the front needle instead.
Now I’ll knit into those stitches on the front needle. Because the yarn is at the front, and not being carried around from the back, there will be a slight gap at the beginning of this round. It will be hidden later by the outside cuff.
I hope this helps anyone who’s stuck on this bit of any of my patterns!
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 row/rnd of the instep section 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?
One of the groups I belong to on Ravelry (hi LSG!) has a standing tradition about bacon. If you run a poll in a discussion thread to get opinions, you pretty much *must* include a bacon-related response.
I recently sought opinions on whether my prototype Cornflower Booties (another post for another day) looked better with one cuff or another. Of course, I included a bacon option.
Challenge accepted! Bacon & Eggs Booties are currently some tiny swatches and lots of chart versions. The group responsible for my Dragon Baby! Booties has struck again. Stay tuned for an update!