Step 1 : Choose your yarn. Before sitting down the knit anything, you should decide which yarn you want to use for your project.
- The standard yarn weights, from thinnest to thickest, are fingering, sock/baby, sport, DK/light worsted, worsted/afghan/aran, chunky, and bulky.
- For baby booties, sock or baby-weight yarn is recommended.
Step 2: Choose your needles. These booties will be knit flat, so use regular needles instead of double-pointed ones.
- The thinner the yarn, the thinner the knitting needles you should use.
- The packaging for yarn usually details a needle size recommendation for its weight.
Step 3: Gauge your yarn.
Before beginning any knitting project, you should always “gauge” your yarn, or determine its “tension.” Simply put, the gauge lets you know how many stitches per inch your specific combination of yarn, needles, and knitting technique will produce. This will help you to either create custom pieces to your desired dimensions or adjust patterns you find on the internet for the materials you have at your disposal. If you don’t gauge your yarn, you won’t be able to predict how small or large your end product will be—this is very important with baby booties!
- Cast on what you estimate to be about five inches worth of stitches.
- Work about ten rows in a normal garter stitch (knit all the way across), then work ten rows in whichever pattern you plan to use for the cuff, if you want something other than a garter stitch.
- If you plan to use the garter stitch the whole way through, just knit twenty rows of the garter stitch.
- Look at the middle portion of each pattern swatch and count out roughly how many stitches per inch you have across the six-inch width.
- Measure the length of the ten rows you knit in garter stitch, then the length of the ten rows you knit in stockinette.
- Use a ruler for an accurate measurement of inches.
- Now, you know how many stitches to cast on for create a specific width of fabric, and how many rows you have to knit to create a specific length of fabric.
Step 4: Decide what size you want your baby booties to be.
How many inches around to you want the toe to be? The ankle? How many inches up the calf do you want the bootie to rise? Use the information from your gauging exercise to sketch out four important measurements:
- The number of stitches to cast on to comfortably fit the toe
- The number of stitches needed to comfortable fit snugly at the heel
- The number of rows needed to achieve the desired length of the booties base (the part that covers the foot)
- The number of rows needed to achieve the desired rise of the bootie up the ankle or calf.
Step 5: Cast on the appropriate number of stitches to cover the toe.
Step 6: Knit for as many rows as you need to achieve the desired length from toe to heel, making sure to decrease your stitches as appropriate, so the bootie is not baggy at the narrower parts of the foot.
- A good rule of thumb to follow is this: once you reach half the desired length of the bootie, knit two or three more rows, then begin decreasing each row by two stitches until you reach the heel.
- For example, if the base of your bootie will take twenty rows of knitting, knit 12 or 13 rows, then decrease by two stitches for each row until you reach your twentieth and final row for the base of the bootie.
- Make sure that your decreases are evenly spaced.
- For example, If you have 29 stitches, follow this pattern to decrease evenly: K13, decrease, K3, decrease, K13. Next row: K12, decrease, K3, decrease, K12. Next row: K11, decrease, K3, decrease, K11.
- Continue in this manner until you reach the end of the heel and are ready to knit the cuff.
Step 7: Knit the cuff. Once the base of the bootie is complete, knit however many rows you need to achieve your desired rise up the ankle and calf.
- If you want the bootie to have a very low ankle rise of half an inch, and your gauge is six rows per inch, then knit three rows for your cuff.
- If you want a high calf rise of four inches, knit 24 rows for your cuff.
Step 8: Cast off off your knitting. Make sure to bind off loosely, so your bootie does not feel tight and uncomfortable when worn.
Step 9: Sew the bootie together.
- Fold the fabric in half so that the bootie will be inside out when the seam is sewn up. This is to ensure that the seam is hidden inside the bootie and is not visible.
- Using a sewing needle, sew the two edges of the fabric together.
Step 10: Turn the bootie right-side out, then fold the cuff down if desired.
Step 11: Decorate the bootie.
Once your basic bootie has been constructed, you can add whatever fun decorations you’d like! Ribbons and buttons that can be added easily with a needle and thread.
Step 12: Finished!