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The best thing about these booties is that they stay on baby’s feet.  You know how you always find baby socks and shoes in public places?  You won’t see these lost at the grocery store or at the zoo!  The design of these booties naturally helps them stay on really well without binding the baby’s ankles.

Great Grandma's Booties on my three-week old niece.

Great Grandma’s Booties on my three-week old niece.

Next to that, my favorite things are that (1) they are really cute and (2) home made gifts say “I love you” like nothing else.  Grandma first taught my mom how to make them, then Mom taught me.  At one time most of my aunts made them, too.  I think I’m the only one keeping the legacy alive now.

I was thirteen when I made my first attempt at this pattern, following Mom’s verbal directions step by step, and turned out two little pink shoes that I am sorry to say were not really the same size.  Grandma taught me to knit both booties on the needles at the same time so they’re more uniform.  I highly recommend it, even though it means you have to keep two skeins of yarn from tangling while you alternate between booties row by row.  I picked up other tricks and variations on my own, like using circular needles instead of straight ones.  I’ll never make them on straight needles again if I can help it!  I’ve also adjusted them for children and adult sizes and have embellished them with cables.

Skills required (click on each link for my favorite tutorials on each stitch)

  • Casting on (I make one change to this method.  Cast on using both needles together, then slip one out before beginning to knit.  This helps keep the tension looser to begin with.)
  • Knit Stitch
  • Purl Stitch
  • Yarn Over
  • Knit Two Together
  • Purl Two Together (same as knit 2 together, just using the purl stitch)
  • Picking up stitches from the side
  • Kitchener (Grafting) Stitch  I use a modified version of this, described in the pictures, but following this link will get you there, too.
  • Seam Stitch (it’s sort of like this, but not exactly.  The idea is to go back and forth so there’s a little stretch in it.)
  • crochet chain.

As you can see, I love verypink.com tutorials!!  But I hope the pictures will be pretty self explanatory if you have basic knitting skills down.

Here we go!

Booties
 
Using baby yarn and size 0 or 1 knitting needles. Cast on 36 stitches.
Rows 1-4:Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl
Rows 5-8: Purl, Knit, Purl, Knit
Rows 9-12: Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl
Rows 13-16: Purl, Knit, Purl, Knit
Rows 17-20: Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl
See the ridges in the pattern after 20 rows. (I ran the needle through it so it would flatten out a little.
See the ridges in the pattern after 20 rows.
(I ran the needle through it so you could see the ridges better.)
Row 21: purl
Row 22:  Knit two together, yarn over, Knit one.  Repeat to end of row.
Row 23: Purl
Row 24: Knit 12, remove to stitch holder, knit 12, then  remove the rest of the row to another stitch holder, leaving the middle 12 stitches on the knitting needles. *From this point you continue on one bootie at a time until the instep is completed and you take the stitch holders off, finishing row 24.
After knitting the first 12 stitches on this row, slip them off onto a stitch holder.
After knitting the first 12 stitches on this row, slip them off onto a stitch holder.  (Notice the lacing holes created by row 22.)
Lacing row visible below first stitch holder.
Lacing row visible below first stitch holder.
 
here you see the first and last twelve stitches on stitch holders, and the middle (instep) on the knitting needle.  Work this in the stockinette stitch for 25 rows.
here you see the first and last twelve stitches on stitch holders, and the middle (instep) on the knitting needle. Work this in the stockinette stitch for 24 rows.
(Instep) Continue working the twelve (middle) stitches in the stockinette stitch (Purl, Knit, Purl, etc.,)  until you have 24 rows (the last row will be Purl)  Cut off yarn with approximately 12 inches for weaving in.
The instep is finished.
The instep is finished.
Row 25: Replace stitches on the stitch holder (from row 24) to knitting needles.
Slip the stitches from the first stitch holder to the empty knitting needle.
Slip the stitches from the first stitch holder to the empty knitting needle.
This is tricky.  Beginning at the toe end of the instep, pick up 16 knots along the side with the stitch holder, then knit them off onto the right needle using a new yarn.
Since you cut off your yarn, you will need to begin with a new yarn here.  Leave at least 8 inches for weaving in.  Don’t tie it on, just begin knitting.  Beginning at the toe end of the instep, pick up 16 stitches along the side with the stitch holder, then knit them off onto the right needle.  You can spread them out evenly by picking up two “knots” along the side of the instep, then one of the looser threads between knots for every third one until you have 16 picked-up stitches. 
This is when you'll be glad to have circular needles.  It gets really tight to use a straight one here.
This is when you’ll be glad to have circular needles. It gets really tight to use a straight one here.  At this point, pull the needle through, passing the knit stitches onto the flexible part of the circular needles, then continue knitting the middle 12.
Starting at the ankle side, pick up 16 stitches with stitch holder, and knit them off.
Starting at the ankle side, pick up 16 stitches with stitch holder, and knit them off.
notice how nice it is to pull the stitches down to the flexible part of the needles so you can work the second side of the instep.
Notice how nice it is to pull the stitches down to the flexible part of the needles so you can loop it around to work the second side of the instep. (Now imagine having all these stitches along one straight needle.)
 
Notice how it doesn't really lay flat anymore,  but you replace the stitches from the second stitch holder to the empty needle, then knit them off.
Pass the stitches from the stitch holder onto the empty needle, then knit the last 12 stitches off.  Notice how it doesn’t really lay flat anymore.  Work with the flexibility of your needles to ease around the next several rows.  Eventually it will be easier to knit the entire row on the straight part of the needles again.
(*Continue on to the second bootie at this point, then continue alternating row by row.)
Row 26-29: Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl
Row 30-33: Purl, Knit, Purl, Knit
Row 34-37: Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl
Row 38-41: Purl, Knit, Purl, Knit
With the completion of row 29 you're ready now for your first decrease row.

With the completion of row 41 you’re ready now for your first decrease row.

Row 42:  (first decrease row) Knit two together, Knit 30, Knit two together twice, Knit 30, Knit 2 together.

Knit first two stitches together for decrease row.

Knit first two stitches together for decrease row.

Knit two together in the center of the row.  This is the decrease in the toe.
Knit two together in the center of the row . This is the decrease in the toe.

Row 43:  Purl

Row 44:  (second decrease row) Knit two together, Knit 28, Knit two together twice, Knit 28, Knit 2 together.
Row 45: Purl
Row 46: (third decrease row)  Purl two together, Purl 26, Purl two together twice, Purl 26, Purl two together.
Row 47:  Knit 28 (halfway across)
Cut yarn about 24 inches long and thread onto a tapestry needle.
Starting at the toe, and holding the bootie in your left hand with the tail trailing from the back stitch, begin weaving and pulling stitches off using the kitchener stitch (grafting stitch.)
put your needle down into the last stitch you knit, then up through the first stitch on the back needle as if you knit, and pull it off.

put your needle down into the last stitch you knit, then up through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, pull it off and pull the yarn through.

put your needle down into the last stitch taken off from the front stitch, then into the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl, then pull it off.

put your needle down into the last stitch taken off from the front stitch, then into the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl, then pull it off and pull the yarn through.

 
Continue up the back, and weave in the end, turn and weave in the ends from inside the instep.  Crochet ties with a double strand of baby yarn 110 chain stitches long.  Knot the ends of the ties Finish off by weaving in and out of lacing holes and tying bows at the front of each bootie.
 
Now you’re ready to make a pair in every color. . . !
Here they are!  All done!

Here they are! All done!

A gift for the new baby and big sister.  (These kid sizes are actually trickier than to make adult sizes, because the numbers have to be adjusted.)

A gift for the new baby brother and big sister. (Kid sizes are actually trickier than to make adult sizes, because the numbers have to be adjusted, unlike the following. . .)

 My daughter loves her high school green booties. I used size 5 needles and worsted weight yarn and used the original pattern as it's written.

My daughter loves her high school green booties. I used size 5 needles and worsted weight yarn and used the original pattern as it’s written.

After watching everyone else look so cozy in their booties, I finally decided to make some for myself.  I made a few modifications and liked how they turned out with a couple extra ribs on the ankles and with cables in the instep.

After watching everyone else look so cozy in their booties, I finally made some for myself. I made a few modifications and liked how they turned out with a couple extra ribs higher on the ankles and with cables in the instep.  They are as comfy as they look!

Update January 28, 2014

In the months since I first posted this pattern I have been amazed at it’s popularity. You, my readers, come from countries all over the world! I would love to see pictures of some of the booties you have made from Grandma’s pattern!  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you’ll come again.

 

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