Thursday, December 6, 2007

Seams to me...

...are an incredible bore. Invariably, when I see a pattern I like, my eyes flow first to the bottom of the page. If I see the dreaded words "Sew seam..." or worse, "Sew seams..." I examine the pattern carefully to see if I can alter it so the last line reads: "Weave in ends."

Thus, when I was bitten by the Bootie Bug and plowed through dozens of adorable patterns, all of which ended with "Sew seams...", I figured there Had To Be A Better Way.

And of course there is. The techniques are adapted from my toe-up sock pattern and will work for many patterns that require endless (and useless) seaming. Any pseudobag-shaped object can be adapted to the Fleegle Seamless Method (FMS for short). For example, I have an adorable pattern for a Shaun the Sheep mobile. Every sheeplet requires at least one seam, but by applying the FMS to these objects, most of the seams are history.

The two examples I will present are both booties, but once you have tried it once, FMS is obvious and you can gleefully apply it to all sorts of things. The directions given here use two circular needles, but of course DPN fans can adapt it to five sticks.

The first pattern is for my seamless bottom-up bootie. I know I promised you guys this pattern last summer, but other things took precedence (translation: Writing patterns is not my favorite thing.)

Fleegle's Seamless Bottom-Up Booties

Cast on 36 stitches using the Turkish cast-on. You will have 18 stitches on each needle.

Knit the first needle. You are now at the beginning of the rounds. You can place a marker, or just use the yarn dangle to indicate the beginning of the rounds.

*Purl 1 round
kbf (Knit in the back and front of the stitch), knit to last stitch, kbf*

Repeat these two rounds 5 more times--60 stitches, 30 on each needle.

Work 10 more rounds of garter stitch--K 1 row, P 1 row.

On the last purl row, place a marker 5 stitches before the end of the first needle and another marker 5 stitches after the beginning of the second needle as shown here (click on the picture for clearer text):

Rearrange Stitches

Sorry to go all Cat Bordhi on you here. This step isn't absolutely necessary, but you will find it easier to work the toe-turning business if you rearrange the stitches.

We will designate the first needle as the instep needle and the second needle as the heel needle.

Place a different colored marker at the beginning of the second needle (now the heel needle) to mark the beginning of rows.

Move the first 12 stitches from the first (instep) needle to the heel needle.

Move the last 13 stitches on the heel needle to the first (instep) needle.

The instep needle should have 13 stitches, a marker, 10 stitches, a marker, 13 stitches.

The heel needle has 12 stitches, the beginning-of-round marker, 12 stitches.

Your bootie should now look something like this:

Notice that the working yarn is in the center of the heel needle. Knit across the 12 remaining stitches on the heel needle, then knit 23 stitches on the instep needle. You are on the far side of the instep.

Turn Toe

k3 tog tbl (through the back loop), turn, sl (slip) 1
p9, p3 tog
turn, sl 1

* k10 k3 tog tbl
turn, sl 1
p10, p3 tog *

repeat from * to * 4 more times

k10, k3 tog tbl
Do not turn. continue knitting across heel needle.

When you get around to the instep needle, k3 together, then knit around to beginning marker.

Your bootie should now look something like this:


Booties are notorious for falling off tiny feet. You can help them stay on by knitting an eyelet row, through which you can thread a ribbon, I-cord, string, rubber band, or tiny handcuffs.

Optional eyelet row:

*k1, YO, k2 tog* repeat from * to * end.

At this point, you can do anything you like. In the example shown here, I used the following pattern:

Rounds 1 and 3: Knit
Round 2: * K2, yo K2, pass the yo over the 2 stitches just knitted* repeat from * to end
Round 4: * yo K2, pass the yo over the 2 stitches just knitted, K2 * repeat from * to end

And here are two delicate little ribbing patterns that I also use frequently:

Little Ribbing #1

rows 1-3: k2 p2
row 4: k2tog, O, P2

Little Ribbing #2

R1: p2,k3
R2:p2, sl1k2 psso
R3: p2,k1,yo,k1
R4: p2,k3

In my next post, I will give you the pattern for fleeglized Sartjee booties. These were a bit of a challenge, but they were so cute (and had so many seams and ends to weave in) that I just couldn't resist simplifying the pattern.


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this wonderfull pattern, these booties are soo cute.
amicalement stefanina

knottykitty said...

I do exactly the same thing when I look at a new pattern--LOL! Thanks so much for such a great and complete pattern!

I'm also happy to see that you are going to convert the other bootie pattern. I love those too, but when I saw how they were constructed I moved along...:)

Opal said...

What a great little pattern! Those booties are too cute. :)

Anonymous said...

You crack me up! But since I also hate seaming, I LOVE your pattern!!! Genius.

Mama Cat said...

I am in the No Seams At Any Cost camp as well. Thanks as always for your hilarious way of giving great knitting advice. :-)

Anonymous said...

You are fantastic. Thanks heaps.

Carol said...

Tiny handcuffs! *snort*

Soo said...

Cute bootees.... sadly no feet small enough in my world these days to wear them!!

BadCatDesigns said...

Excellent technique. I will try those my next bootie-knit. May I ask why you are knitting booties? There was only one time in my life that I knit know where I'm going with this...

Lacefreak said...

That's a wonderful pattern and I know my sister will love it as she also will alter anything that says "seam" something together. By the way, do you ever sleep? I'm just saying....

fibergal said...

Brilliant. I am casting on right now for these booties. Thanks.

2trees said...

So glad you got this written up. Another online-knitter-friend will be getting them shortly (probably from several people).

PinkPorcupine said...

It's late, and I'm feeling a good bit ditzy, but as these are needed asap, I can't set it down and walk away like I normally would.
For the two repeat rounds just after casting on, the kbf, k to last, kbf, is that k to last stitch on needle, increasing by 4 stitches per round, or is it k to last stitch of round, increasing by 2 stitches per round?
Sorry for what I'm quite sure (since it's you) is obvious, but like I said, brain go boom.

PinkPorcupine said...

Never mind me! Basic math and common sense are the knitters best friends! Thanks for a great pattern!

Laura said...

THANK you so much for your fleeglized booties! After I spent the better part of last Sunday trying to modify Saartje's wonderful but a bit cumbersome pattern into a more easily manageable 4 dpn or 2 cn pattern, using a figure-8 cast-on etc. etc. .... I found your GREAT pattern already published! Could have saved myself all that trouble.... I think your pattern is much easier and faster (less seaming and weaving in of ends!).
Laura (strickmamsell in ravelry)

Shannon said...

wondering what you did for the edge at the top of the bootie? It looks like you did a few rows of garter and then maybe a picot edge? I just finished the yo, passover rows and am ready to finish up. Thanks!