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What are the Best Tips for Knitting Booties?

Knitting needles and yarn.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2014
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There are four tips to remember when knitting booties: pattern selection, needle size, yarn type, and speed. These tips will help you to create handmade booties. Babies that are too small to walk wear booties. They are used to keep the baby's feet warm.

There is a wide selection of patterns available for knitting booties, ranging in difficulty from simple to complex. To decide which type of pattern to select, think about how long you want to take to create the booties, the complexity, and your knitting skills. Babies grow very fast, so these types of projects need to have a quick turnaround time.

All patterns list their level of difficulty on the first page, and many provide the time required to complete the project. Honestly, assess your skill level and how much effort you want to spend on this project and then select a pattern. Be sure to check the sizing options, as they range from newborn to 24 months old.

The size of the knitting needles determines the size of the stitches. Larger needles are great for sweaters and blankets, but smaller needles are more appropriate for knitting booties, as they produce a tighter pattern. Think about your knitting tension when selecting needles. The booties need to be snug, but provide room to move. If your tension level is high, go one size up in knitting needle gauge.

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Select cotton blend yarn for baby booties. This material is soft, machine washable and will not shrink in the laundry. Avoid adding ribbons, bows or other details that can be put into a baby's mouth. Instead, select different color yarn to improve the visual appearance of the booties.

Speed is an important factor when knitting booties. Determine how much time you have to create the booties and then provide a time line to complete the project. A simple knitting project should take between two and three hours of dedicated effort to complete. If this is your first project, double that time, so that you will be able to finish the project in time for the baby to wear the booties.

Booties are a great first knitting project. They have a set shape, but accuracy and exact fit are not important. The use of a cotton blend yarn provides an opportunity to learn how to work with this very common material. The relatively short project completion time is a great motivator and allows the beginning knitter to gain confidence and create a necessary clothing item quickly.

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Discuss this Article

bagley79
Post 7

My very first knitting project was a hot pad, but my second project was a pair of knitted booties.

This was much more fun to knit than a hot pad, and I was surprised at how easy it was. My teacher was a great aunt who had been knitting for a long time.

She was pretty patient with me as I was learning how to make the right stitches and read the pattern at the same time.

I have fond memories of making that first pair of kitted booties, and have made several since then. Whatever pattern I am using, I like to embellish the booties with a small pom pom to add an extra touch.

There are a lot of great baby yarns out there that are very soft and easy to take care of. Whenever I knit a baby afghan, I always make a matching pair of booties to go along with it.

SarahSon
Post 6

Whenever I go to a baby shower or give someone a baby gift, I always have a pair of knit booties on top of the package.

I have been knitting for a long time, and it doesn't take me long to knit a pair of booties. I usually use the same pattern and if I don't know what the sex of the baby is, I will use a neutral color.

I have several pairs of booties made up in advance so all I have to do is choose one and tape in on top of the package.

I think these make great gifts for babies because they are warm, washable, and a lot of fun to make.

indemnifyme
Post 5

My best tip for knitting baby booties is to look for a free pattern! Before you buy a book or a pattern from a craft store, look on the Internet or the library.

Most libraries have a whole section of knitting books that you can check out for free. This is especially good if the book has a bunch of other patterns and you just want to use one. No sense in buying a book for one pattern.

And, of course there is the Internet. There's all kinds of information online, including information about baby booties. Just do a search for "free baby bootie patterns" and you'll find a ton of stuff!

strawCake
Post 4

@SZapper - Knitters seem to always argue over fiber. Some people out there really hate anything that isn't a natural fiber, while some people really like acrylic because it's cheap. To each their own, I suppose.

I just wanted to say that in addition to using smaller needles, you also will want to use thin yarn. Follow what the pattern says, but usually a knit bootie pattern will call for double knit, fingering, or sport weight yarn.

If you use thin needles and thin yarn, you will get a nice, lightweight fabric. However, if you use thick yarn and thin needles, you'll get a very thick, stiff fabric. Not the best for baby booties!

SZapper
Post 3

I've been knitting for quite awhile, and I just wanted to say that you don't necessarily have to use cotton to knit baby booties. You can use wool, alpaca, or acrylic if you want. Hopefully the baby won't be allergic to wool.

However, one thing to keep in mind: some people prefer wool over acrylic for baby clothes. The reason is that wool is flame retardant, while acrylic melts when it's set on fire. Obviously, this is not good for the baby. So while acrylic might be fine for something small, a lot of people look down on acrylic for something like a baby blanket.

dfoster85
Post 2

@ElizaBennett - I guess it's kind of a first baby thing! I used to love tying the tiny little knit booties on my first. No one made any for my second! They are nice for baby pictures because they're just so darn cute, especially if there's a matching sweater.

I have another tip for people who like to knit for the hospital. I have a friend who works in the NICU and she says that they get a lot of donated hats and booties for babies in the NICU. But people have this idea that all the babies in the NICU are minuscule, when really, they get maybe one twenty-three-weeker a year. Most of the babies in the NICU, especially most of the ones who are well enough to wear clothes, are full-size.

That's not to say not to knit for the NICU. Parents are very grateful. Just don't knit so many tiny ones! Make some that are full-size as well.

My friend says that often, the tiny ones are used for what she calls "demises," i.e., early stillbirths. Maybe that's not the happiest reason to knit, but I think it probably gives the parents a measure of comfort to have something beautiful to dress their "angel baby" in.

ElizaBennett
Post 1

As a mother of babies (who have grown too fast, sniff, sniff), let me add this tip: don't make too many of them! Sure, every baby should have a pair of hand-knitted booties, especially winter babies. But they are not very useful once baby learns to reach his feet, as they are too easy to pull off, and they are hard to wash.

In short, they are just not that practical. Limit yourself to one pair per baby, and then only if you know that baby isn't going to be bombarded with booties from two grandmas and several aunties.

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