Midwife Booties

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Intermediate / Patterns
midwife booties

These booties are dedicated to my outstanding and compassionate midwife, Maria Iorillo. I wanted to give her a pattern to work up during the small hours of the night, in those meditative and slow moments of the birth journey, in the magical and almost palpable waiting that accompanies the transition between stages of labor, between womb and world. I wanted something seamless – for ease of finishing, and ultra stretchy – for both flexibility of fit, and better stay-on power. They also needed to knit up fairly quickly, and maybe even be cut short into Mary Janes, in case of an accelerated arrival. So I gave her this pattern, imagining the soft clack of needles in the candlelight at so many future labors, and now I give it to you and whatever precious little squishes are coming your way.
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Graftable Cast On

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Knitting
IMG_0596

I like to use this cast on in place of the usual invisible cast on for items that are knitted flat and grafted at the end. It uses a long(ish) circular instead of waste yarn. Transferring your held stitches for the finishing graft is a snap, since they are already on the cable attached to your needles. It also works well as a carefree and indistinguishable alternative to Judy’s Magic Cast On when working in the round using the Magic Loop method.
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Sideways Knit Baby Legwarmers

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Beginner / Patterns / Variable Gauge
IMG_0558

When I was pregnant, I admit I may have gone a little overboard with the baby knits. Friends started to be concerned that I was headed towards knitting a full body baby cozy. I knitted hats, socks, sweaters, blankets, booties, and most of all, leg warmers. This last one raised a few eyebrows – “leg warmers? Why not knit something you’ll actually use?” Well I tell you, friends, the one item I knitted that gets the most use (aside, perhaps, from a little bear hat) is all those little pairs of leg warmers. They work fantastically with babywearing – no need to unwrap baby just to change the warmth factor of an outfit. They don’t need to come off for (erm, most) diaper changes. And best of all, they are a nearly mindless shape (rectangles! and tubes… which are just curled up rectangles!) and they are an excellent canvas for trying out new stitch patterns. Here is one of many variants I came up with, which stretch and scrunch wonderfully at any gauge.

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Garter Graft

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Knitting / Techniques
kitchener_garter_graft

Hey you, meticulous knitter! Have you ever used kitchener stitch on a garter stitch project only to end up with a regrettable scar of stockinette across your lovely little uniform garter ridges? Herein lies your solution: garter graft. Making an invisible graft in garter stitch is almost simpler than regular old kitchener stitch – after setting up correctly, you just carry out the same steps on both the front and back needles.

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Stockinette Swatch

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Knitting / Techniques
IMG_0552

Many of the patterns I write are based on a variable gauge, so knitting a proper swatch is crucial. I find that for smaller items, a 2″ swatch is sufficient, but you will need a larger swatch for larger projects (4″ is standard), or for items where the fit is extra important. I like to make swatches that have a border of garter stitch, since this helps the swatch lie flat, which makes for easier measuring. Here is how I knit a (roughly) 2″ swatch of stockinette*:

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Nai-Nai’s Favorite

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Beginner / No Gauge / Patterns
Nai Nai's Favorite

I love giving wash cloths as gifts. They are quick, and add a little touch of heartfelt luxury to the morning ritual. This one was for a friend’s birthday, and doubles as wrapping for a piece of handmade soap. I can’t really say that I wrote the pattern; I’m more like a scientist, splicing the genes of two compatible knits: the Chinese Waves Dishcloth, and the classic Grandmother’s Favorite. I love the Chinese Waves stitch pattern, but knitting it in a plain old rectangle never seemed to have that well-finished look that the diagonal knit Grandmother’s Favorite has, while the usual garter stitch of the latter lacks the satisfying weighty thickness of Chinese Waves. Because Chinese Waves has some intrinsic diagonal lines to it, the end result almost looks like it wasn’t knitted on the diagonal at all (at least to the untrained, un-knitter’s eye). As an added bonus, for all you purl-shy, this is a no-purl pattern.

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