05 April 2008

Getting Felt Up (Baby Booties)

Yes, I'm still here. Yes, I still have the same excuses for not blogging: law school, a masters program, the military, a baby, a husband, life in general, etc. But those same excuses are no longer keeping me from creating new and wonderful things.

Like baby booties. I've had a lot of excess yarn around for awhile (what crocheter doesn't?), and I figured I could do a baby bootie purge of my stash. After all, you can use up a lot of scrap yarn on booties, and, since I tend to buy only animal fibers that aren't treated to be washer-friendly, I knew I'd be able to felt them. I've had so much fun with felted adult slippers that it seemed only fair to give felted baby slippers a try.

Of course, that meant turning to Fiber Trends for a crochet pattern. They have a Children's Crocheted Slipper pattern that very cute, and I purchased it as a starting point. I have to say that it is the first Fiber Trends pattern I've been disappointed with. The first slipper I test crocheted turned out just fine, but I felt the construction was clumsy. The pattern is worked in rows instead of rounds, and there's quite a bit of seaming that could be done with simple increases, decreases, and clusters.

Now, I've made all sorts of slippers - felted, not felted, booties, clogs, skimmers - and all of them have the same basic construction - a sole comprised of a chain worked on both sides with increases at the toe and heel and a body worked in even rows with some form of shaping (either through seaming or through stitches) to form the unique style of slipper. I decided to make my own baby bootie pattern on the fly.

I fiddled with the sole until it increased nicely in the toe. I worked in rounds and shaped with stitches so that all I had to do in the end was pop the bootie in a wash bag and felt it. I played around with double soles and contrasting colors. The end result: four sets of baby booties that I'm mighty proud of.

Lessons learned:
1) Different fibers felt at different rates.
2) KnitPicks Wool of the Andes is, quite possibly, the best yarn *ever* to felt with.
3) Sometimes, the original pattern may be a dud, but it might provide some great embellishment ideas.
4) Blogging takes time.

My original four booties are now online in my Etsy store. Check them out, or even better, buy a pair for the baby in your life!