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.
Midwife Booties are knitted from the center of the sole out. I recommend knitting them on a single long circular (32″ or longer) using the magic loop method. Double pointed needles will also work, but will be a touch trickier (especially at the beginning.) If you would like to make the Mary Jane variation, follow directions for the original bootie to Round 17 (or 19 for the large size), then skip to the Mary Jane instructions. You can also make the booties as tall as you like by adding extra rounds of garter stitch before binding off.
Size: 0-3[3-6,6-12] months
Finished Measurements: 3.25[3.75,4.5] inch sole, unstretched.
Yarn – less than 50 grams (20 grams for mary jane variation) of aran or worsted weight yarn. Pictured in Cascade Eco Duo [70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino Wool; 197yd/180m per 100g skein] – 1 skein made an extra tall 6-12 month pair and three pairs of mary janes.
Needles – US 9/5.5mm circular needle, 32-inch (or size needed to achieve gauge.)
Gauge: 4 sts / 9 rows = 1″ in stockinette stitch
Graftable Cast On – Tutorial here: knitta.net/graftable-cast-on
JMCO – Judy’s Magic Cast On. If you are unfamiliar, knitty has a good tutorial here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/FEATmagiccaston.html. Because the first round of this pattern will be purled, I recommend either switching the position of the yarn tail and working yarn from what is pictured in this tutorial, or you can just twist the tail around the working yarn an extra time before purling your first stitch.
kfb – knit into the front leg, and then the back leg of the same stitch before dropping it from the needle
k2tog – knit two stitches together as one
k3tog – knit three stitches together as one
sl1 – slip one stitch purlwise from left needle to right needle. Hold yarn to back unless otherwise noted.
JSSBO – Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. Tutorial here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/FEATjssbo.php
Using either JMCO or Graftable Cast On, CO 7[9,11] sts and begin working in the round. (14[18,22] total stitches)
Round 1 and all odd rounds: purl
Round 2: (kfb, k 5[7,9], kfb) twice
Round 4: (kfb, kfb, k 5[7,9], kfb, kfb) twice
— 0-3 months and 3-6 months only —
Round 6: (k 1, kfb, k 1, kfb, k 5, kfb, k 1, kfb, k 1) twice
Round 8: purl
Rounds 10,12&14: knit
Round 16: k 9, k2tog 8x, k 9
Round 18: k 9, k2tog 4x, k 9
Round 20: k 9, k2tog 2x, k 9
Round 22: k 9, k2tog, k 9
Rounds 24,26,28,30&32: knit
Round 33: bind off in purl using JSSBO. Fasten off and weave in ends.
— 6-12 months only —
Round 6: knit
Round 8: (kfb 4x, k 9, kfb 4x) twice
Round 10: purl
Rounds 12,14&16: knit
Round 18: k 13, k2tog 12x, k 13
Round 20: knit
Round 22: k 13, k2tog 6x, k 13
Round 24: k 13, k2tog 3x, k 13
Round 26: k 13, k3tog, k 13
Rounds 28,30,32,34,36&38: knit
Round 39: bind off in purl using JSSBO. Fasten off and weave in ends.
MARY JANE VARIATION
Start by working Rounds 1-17[1-17,1-19] from above before working Strap Round and then Purl Round.
Strap Round: k 8[9, 10]. Bring yarn to front, sl1, bring yarn to back and then drop working yarn for the time being.
(Sl1. Pass second stitch on right needle over first stitch on right needle) 10[12,18] times. (16[18,20] sts remain)
Slip one stitch from right needle to left needle, then turn so wrong side of work is facing.
Pick up working yarn and bring to back (which is currently right side) of work.
CO 6[7,8] using cable cast on, and turn so right side of work is facing once again.
Bring yarn to the back. Sl1, pass second stitch on right needle over slipped stitch.
Pull working yarn tight, then knit to end of round.
Purl Round: p 6[7,8], p2tog, p 5[6,7], p2tog, p to end.
Bind off loosely in knit using conventional bind off. Fasten off and weave in ends.
(Claws added after completion – tutorial coming soon)