June 20, 2006
bootie call

I promised the gals at the Pub Knitters Night to write this stuff down; apparently everyone's looking for an easy bootie. I make no claim to this design - I learned it from the ubiquitous Knitting For Baby, which clearly states that versions of these booties have existed forever. Therefore I make no apology for passing on what I know. So far I've knit 4 pairs using these principles and I love this recipe.

Algebraic Recipie for Knitting for Baby's No Slip Booties.

This looks hard, but it's not. If numbers aren't your thing, use the default provided until you know it well enough to experiment. A CO of 7 stitches will give you an infant size. That's good enough for government work.

Yarn: sock yarn. Pattern suggests Koigu Solids and I tend to get excellent results from KPPPM.

Needles: one set of 5 3.25mm dpns (US size #3). Or if you're into Magic Loop, follow your heart, I dunno.

Gauge: Suggested gauge is 6-6 1/2 stitches per inch in garter stitch. You should get at least this gauge, otherwise your booties will be too small. If you use thicker yarn and appropriate needles, you'll end up with something larger, which may also be useful. Again, follow your heart.

Size: A CO of 7 stitches will give you an infant (0-3 months) size. Everything else is up to you.

CO x stitches.
(minimum 7, or again, your booties won't fit the tiniest of muffins).

Work in garter stitch for 2x + 1 ridges on each side.
(So if you CO 7, you multiply it by 2 (thus, 14), add one for a total of 15 ridges on each side or 30 rows in total.)

Working clockwise, PU 2x stitches along the long side, x stitches along short side and 2x along third side.
(So if your CO was 7, you would pick up 14, 7 and 14.)

You now have a rectangle with needles in all 4 sides. Whee!

Using your fifth needle, purl around the rectangle for one round, then knit around. Hey, it's garter stitch in the round! If you stack your needles a certain way when you knit in the round, don't forget to reverse the stacking of your needles when you purl around, just to keep those corners tight.

Repeat these two rounds 4 times (10 rounds total), then purl another round. This is the most tedious step of the booties, and I'm always glad when it's done.

Knit your first and second needle, stopping when you get to the beginning of the second short row. This will be your instep needle. Here comes the only tricky part: knit to the last stitch, slip this stitch to the next needle, then knit this stitch together with the next stitch. Turn your work and do it again. And again. Do this until you have x + 1 stitches on your two "long" needles (so if CO is 7, you've reduced to 8 on each long side).

Turn and knit across the instep needle. M1 at the end of this needle and continue knitting until you get to the instep needle again. Now M1 at the front of this needle. You should now have x + 2 on the instep needle, x + 1 on the side needles and x on the back needle. (or following the original example: 9, 8, 8, 7).

Arrange your stitches evenly on the four needles and continue to knit in stockinette stitch for 2 more rounds (or 3 since you started stockinette).

You need an even number of eyelets for the tie to work, so it's best to plan for at least 6 eyelets. The original pattern calls for 8 eyelets, so you (K2, YO, k2tog) all the way around. It's the (YO, k2tog) that's important, so if you have an odd number you can fiddle with the numbers until it works. I'm not very intuitive about this sort of thing, so I usually try to make my stitches multiples of 8. If you're mathier than me, please have fun with the figuring.

All the hard part is over; now you just continue on in stockinette until the cuff is 2 inches long. Or as long as you want. Bind off loosely. Weave in ends.

Now you can make a choice: i-cord or not? If you like i-cord (as I do), you need to make one for 14 - 16 inches. Try it out in the bootie before you bind off and weave in. If you don't like i-cord you can buy ribbons or crochet a chain or use a shoelace. For the third and final time, follow your heart. Thread this cord through the eyelets and tie in a fetching bow. Collect compliments!


  1. Bigger yarn, bigger needles, bigger booties. Useful until your toddler figures out how hard she can yank at her feet.

  2. Stockinette stitch for the sole, slipping the first stitch of each row. You'll end up with a longer sole, but you can do some intarsia or duplicate stitch on the sole.

  3. Funky bind-offs! I tried picot and it was gorgeous.

  4. A wee Fair Isle design in the cuff, if you're feeling adventurous.

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