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.

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!)

bad …

… blogger … somewhat bad knitter.

Life got busy with a new job and somehow 6 months or so just flew by.  The new job is great, but I just haven’t had the mental energy to keep up with everything.  One of my goals for the new year is to get a little balance back into my life.

Knitting suffered a bit too.  My goal of 11 in 11 (pairs of socks and cabled things) was just barely achieved and only with a little fudging.  One “pair” of socks were these tiny ones …

 tiny socks

Some of the socks were cabled, so they counted for both.  Not exactly what I had in mind initially, but still not too bad.

Some of the socks did double duty on the design front too.  I’m working on two separate cable patterns:

Hugs & Kisses:

hugs and kisses socks

and Manly Hugs:

manly hugs mitts

I’m hoping to have patterns written up and published for mitts and socks for both by the middle of January.  Eventually, I’d like to add a toe-up version to the sock patterns too.

11in11 update

Well, I continue to mess with the master list of eleven cabled items and eleven pairs of socks, buy hey, it’s my list so I can do whatever I want.

For cables, it occurred to me that two hats finished early in the year were actually cabled projects.  Single stitch cables to be sure, but cables nonetheless.  So, I have completed two Travelling Rib Hats, one Rock Creek Hat, and I’m underway with a pair of Hugs & Kisses socks (my own design), and Schmidt vest for The Boy.  That’s three done and two on the needles.  I’d better get moving!

Traveling Rib hatSchmidt vest underway

In the sock stakes, I’ve finished six pairs, and I’ve started the seventh pair (the afore-mentioned Hugs & Kisses).  I also knitted a few tiny socks early in the year.  I’m totally counting those (and any more I whip through) as another pair.  ;)

Tiny socks

Skew socksHiss socks

Hugs & Kisses socks underway

The plan (well, today’s version of it anyway) is to knit at least one more pair of Hugs & Kisses, then I’ll only have two more pairs to do.  I’ll pick two from the revised list to round out the eleven (most likely Raindrops and Cauchy).  For cables, I’ll knit Dashing with my mods (twice, for two giftmas presents), the Hugs & Kisses can double as cable projects, then I’ll need to finish three projects from the revised list (definitely Wall Street Cables and Vivian, and possibly Beatnik, for myself).

Then there’s the Westknits Mystery KAL which starts August 1 (that’ll be a whole blog post by itself, I suspect), and assorted giftmas presents to get through.

Also, I’d really like another cardigan before I start work ….

year of scarves update #10

Tenth and final update on the Year of Scarves.  It worked out pretty well and the final count is twelve scarves (or shawlettes) for 2010.  Having a goal of getting one done each month (even if I didn’t actually stick to that timetable) really proved a good incentive.  Having graduation, birthday, and Christmas gifts ready to go was also an excellent carrot for this donkey.

The final contenders in the YoS were these two:

Un_Noro striped scarfUn-Noro striped scarf

Both done in Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (discontinued) for fast, machine-washable, and warm winter scarves.  For the ungrateful one and the boyfriend for Christmas.  I love this pattern and I’d do it again in a heartbeat with the right yarn.

In the Christmas knitting stakes, I’m not doing too badly with my original, and somewhat unrealistic, list.  Here’s what is already done:

Cabled coffee coziesDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsDashing cabled mittsHive striped mittsChunky knitted beret

Underway:

  • Jackson’s dead fish hat (just waiting for eyes) – pattern from Knitty
  • Miss Bella’s Arrrgyle dog coat – Bernat’s I-Matey Dog Coat pattern (more about this below)

Still on the crazy person goal items list:

  • Three hats (the architect, the boy, and the boyfriend)

Doing the three pairs of Dashing mitts gave me the time to ponder some modifications to the pattern.  I wanted the cables to twist in the direction of the hand worn (i.e. left-leaning cables for the left hand and right-leaning for the right), I wanted to add another cable round, but only on the top of the mitt – not on the palm, and I wanted a thumb gusset which grew out of one of the cables.  My mods are available on my Dashing page.  Doing this has been a spur to designing my own cabled mitts pattern.  I’m hoping to get these done for the ungrateful one for Christmas, but I probably will have to knit another pair after that to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I publish it.

The dog coat for Miss Bella is based on a Bernat pattern which is, by all accounts on Ravelry, atrociously written.  I’m going to nut it out somehow because I’d like to include something for that sweet and silly dog in the Christmas package, but I’m subbing in an Argyle pattern from Knitty (Mangyle) instead of the skull.  If I figure out the basic structure, I’ll be in good shape to rewrite the pattern next year and make her a custom Steelyard dog coat.  :)

I may do Mangyle down the track for the boy.  He’s hankering after an Argyle vest for some reason.

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!