Latvian Braid Booties

Want to try a new technique such as Latvian braids or colourwork? This is the project for you!

latvian braid baby booties

I’ve finally released this pattern – several months in the making. Thanks so much to all my test knitters and my tech editor for their hard work, suggestions, improvements, and general good cheer!

These are a perfect opportunity to use up those lovely sock leftovers that you don’t know what to do with. They make a great gift for holiday giving or a new baby.  :)

Pattern now available on Ravelry.

Serendipitous design inspiration

So, I am a Ravelry member (shakeyourbooties).  Of course.  And I design baby booties (in case you hadn’t noticed).  One of the groups I belong to on Ravelry has a monthly encouragement/discussion thread for WIPs and offers prizes (donated by participants in the thread) for FOs.

Last month I won a prize.  :)

It was a “choose your own book from Amazon up to a certain amount including shipping.”  What a great idea!  I picked this book:

knitters.life.list.steege

A picture on the first page I randomly opened it to:

This picture led me to the fabulous Photo Library collection at the Shetland Museum and Archives.  The intersection of libraries and knitting again.  :)

Knitted gansey booties …. hmmmm ….. ?  Swatching has commenced.  :

gansey.test.1

the design process #4

It’s been a long time, but the design bug has finally hit again.  Courtesy of a request on a discussion forum on Ravelry where I mostly lurk, I’m working on Dragon Baby! – dragon feet socks.

Prototype 1:

dragon baby bootie prototype 1

The process always takes much longer than I expect, and these have proved even fiddlier to work out because of all the tiny, fussy little elements.  It’s a fun process though – I just wish I had more time and could get through it a little bit faster.  Without that pesky full time job …..

For the basic structure, I used a simple baby sock pattern designed for fingering or light fingering weight yarn.  Then I needed to figure out a “scaly” pattern for the leg.  Nicky Epstein’s Knitting Beyond the Edge yielded the open spoke bobble pattern which, without the bobbles, proved just right for scales:

knitting swatch dragon scales

Next, I decided that it would be way too hard to knit the actual leg of the sock in that pattern, so I decided to do the scales as a turn-over cuff with a rolled top, like my MaryJanes.

dragon baby bootie cuff

I decided to do a plain ribbed leg (so the booties/socks will stay on wiggly little baby feet better), but I wanted a textured looking instep part which would segue nicely to the three front toes & claws.  I can’t remember what inspired this part specifically, but it’s a fairly simple broken rib concept.

dragon baby booties foot

The toes & claws were based, loosely, on the Arum Lily in Lesley Stanfield’s 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet.  The hard part was figuring out how to do that pesky fourth claw – the one on the back of the heel (what *is* that claw called?).  On my first prototype, I think it’s a bit too high up the heel, so right now I’m knitting prototype #2 and adjusting the position of the opening for that claw.  The opening is simple, just a placeholder type (see The Principles of Knitting, p. 136), just as you might do for a thumb hole in a mitten.

dragon baby bootie

dragon baby bootie

Next up … a pair in higher contrast colours so I can take better pics of the tricky “picking up for the rolled cuff top” bit.  I’m thinking light gray leg & foot with a royal blue cuff.  I’m keeping the red claws though.  I have a couple of offers to test knit from the wonderful LSGers, so once I have a completed pair, and I’ve tidied up the written pattern a bit, I’ll let them try it and wait for their feedback.

Yarn: Dale Baby Ull

Needles: US 1.5 & 1 (2.5 & 2.25 mm) KnitPicks Harmony & Knitter’s Pride Karbonz (I love these – so smooth & pointy – lovely to knit with!)

year of scarves update #9

Getting close to the end!

phoebe's un-Noro striped scarf
This is the ungrateful one’s (or her boyfriend’s) un-Noro scarf in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee. She wanted something in these colours and I was lucky enough to find plenty of each colour from two different Ravelers. One of them kindly sent an extra skein in a different colour and the girl has already knit herself a scarf out of it with some DIC Classy leftovers scavenged from my stash. All I have to do now is get her beyond garter stitch and she’ll be over on the dark side with the rest of us. ;)

That’s the second last scarf this year (I’ll knit another the same for Chris for Christmas), so the total will be 12 for the year.  Not exactly one each month as far as when they were knitted, but it averages out that way.  :)

As far as other knitting goes … well, it is the end of November so the manic Christmas knitting is in full swing.  Here’s what I plan to knit between now and December 24th (crazy person goal items are in italics):

Scarves:

  • Un-Noro for the ungrateful one: underway
  • Un-Noro for the boyfriend: next

Hats:

  • Jackson’s “Alive, alive-O!” fish hat; underway except that I apparently live in some kind of alternate reality where 0.2 of a skein of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in black is enough to do all the black stripes.  Alas, I’ve had to order more from KP, which necessitated buying just over $50 worth of stuff total to get the free shipping.  ;)
  • Botanic for Wright: done!
  • Super-simple fast & easy chunky hand-knit beret for the ungrateful one: I will have enough of the Moda Dea Tweedle Dee left to do one of these in gray, I think.
  • Botanic (I think) for the boyfriend
  • Botanic (again!) for the architect
  • Botanic (I should be able to knit this in my sleep by now) for the boy

Mitts:

  • Dashing in machine wash and dry Wool-Ease for the architect: underway
  • Hive Mitts for our stupendous student aide at work (yarn ordered as part of KP “must get just over $50″ shopping spree)
  • Dashing (ditto machine wash & dry) for the boyfriend
  • Dashing (ditto care and knitting in sleep) for the boy
  • As yet unknown pattern for the ungrateful one

Other:

So, that’s only 2 more scarves, 5 hats, 5 pairs of mitts, 1 dog coat, and 2 coffee cozies to go, right?

Oh, and the Chiral cardigan I’ve done a gauge swatch and bought buttons for.  The buttons are just beautiful.

Argyle pattern pewter buttonsThey’re lead-free pewter in an Argyle pattern from Roosterick on etsy.  Not only are they lovely, but they come beautifully packaged, so they’d make great gifts for other knitters.

Oh, and finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st a few days after Christmas.  Thankfully, that’s nearly done.  I’m halfway around the i-cord edging and it moves along pretty quickly.
i-cord edging on blanketWe won’t even mention the work I have to do for the final hours of my internship and the paper yet to be written.

Or the Maryjanes booties I took an order for yesterday …

year of scarves update #7

So, far from having all the spare time in the world now that I’m down to just the 2-credit internship to go, I’m swamped with work.  It might have something to do with still not being very good at saying no.  It’s a subject for another blog post though.

In the year of scarves, I’m still on track!  I finished the boy’s un-Noro scarf just in time for his birthday and I think he might actually like it!

un-noro striped scarfI’m at least 2/3 done with Mum’s Fishtail Lace scarf, but I need to rev up the pace to get it done and blocked before her birthday.

fishtail lace scarfI finally settled on patterns for the architect’s (Here and There Cables) and the ungrateful one’s scarves (Ruffles), so I can get started on those soon.

In the meantime, I finally got around to the two pairs of Shake Your Sockies booties requested by my boss for friends.  I got some lovely yarn at Knitty City when we were in the city the weekend before last and the booties are done, just waiting to be seamed.

preemie baby bootiesAnother big push will be finishing the ungrateful one’s blanket in time for her 21st.  Thankfully the weather is finally getting cooler, so I can work on that comfortably at night.

sock yarn blanket

the design process #2

So … slowly, slowly go the jester booties while I’m interning.  Not much free time at all during the week, and I’m brain-dead when I do get any.

jester booties in progress

Bootie #1 is almost done, so I’m going to finish it today, type up my notes into a coherent pattern outline, then knit #2 of the pair sometime over the weekend to test the accuracy of the notes.  I’ll need to take copious quantities of pictures while I do that so that I have some good ones to include with the pattern.  I think I probably will knit a second pair (in one of the girly colour combos) to really fine tune and for more good pics.

Stay tuned!

the design process

So, I woke up this morning from a vivid (if bizarre) dream that involved knitting tiny little coloured points … obviously I need to design some jester booties!

I sketched out a rough bootie outline, scanned it, pasted it into a Word doc, then copied it so I had four to a page.  Now for the fun part – the colouring in!  – I love colouring. :)  We still have a big bag of crayons (even though the “children” are now 18 and 20) so I got to work:

jester booties colour schemejester booties colour scheme

The combinations are endless (well, not really, but I was never good at that bit in maths), and I ended up polling the family for their opinions.  Votes were:

  • the architect: 6 … or 7 …. or 1 … or maybe 8  (not really very helpful)
  • the handknitlibrarian: #8
  • the ungrateful one: not here, so she doesn’t get a vote
  • the boy: #1 or #8

We have a winner!  Number 8 it is.  Or, maybe I’ll just colour in a few more ….

I’ll probably do one of the “girlier” combinations as a second knit-through, both to make sure the pattern works, and to demonstrate the different looks for the finished booties.

jester booties colour schemejester booties colour schemeI’m leaning strongly towards #10 or #16 for the girlie ones.

Now, on to the actual knitting!

stupid is as stupid does

So, I’m reknitting the strawberry booties so that I can make sure the pattern works before I put it up for sale on Ravelry.  I wasn’t ever completely happy with the shape of the finished booties, so after knitting one test pair the original way, I decided to alter the pattern a bit to make them shaped more like the other booties I make.

Here’s where the stupid comes in.  I couldn’t figure out why they (both test pairs) looked so freaking big.  Last night I finally peered at the tiny print on the Clover bamboo knitting needles.  US2.  Not US1, as they should be, but US2.  I managed to knit them on the wrong sized needles TWICE!

Oh, graduate school, you have a lot to answer for with this whole brain-eating phenomenon.

Back to the drawing board with the right needles …

Strawberry booties