Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby Boots

I found theses boots. They are wa...y too cute and so... warm looking. These are the classiest boots I've found and believe me, I've been searching and searching. I thought they would be perfect for our grand daughter since after all it was 1 degree Fahrenheit the other morning. Her poor little toesies in just socks has got to get cold when the wind whips the blanket up. And the wind is frequently blowing here.

So I bought the pattern from http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/winter-baby-boots and made a plan to begin the booties when our oldest daughter came home for Thanksgiving. I figured she could help me unravel all the foreign language in the pattern. You know ssk, rst, and m1. Don't laugh. Yes, I've made sweaters, hats, mittens, socks and the like for years but I just keep using the same patterns over and over adding slight artistical changes but never venturing off into the world of really reading a pattern. 

But that is changing and in that spirit of bravery, I waited until our daughter arrived and she could read the pattern for me. LOL Alright, maybe I'm not brave but I read the simple pattern four times and was too baffled to begin. Mostly because of intimidation because I just couldn't wrap my head around 'the lay of the land'. I have this problem of wanting to see the whole scope of things and not wanting to just follow along blind step by step until woalah, things become clear in the end.

It's like when I visit a city and I need to know the basic layout of the area. The mountains are over here, and the lake is over there and that's east and that's west. Where as city folk follow this street to that street and over on to that one. But in my defense when I get lost, I know I've go to find a street and head toward the hills or go west and I'll eventually get to where I can start following streets again. It works great unless the city is flat and doesn't have many distinguishing features that can be seen from a distance. 

The lay of this pattern just had me all confused. So I reined in my runaway horses and calmed them plodding along step by slow painstaking step hoping the pattern would lead me to a successful ending.
But first I had to translate English to English. You may speak the same basic language over there in England but you've got bobbies and we've got policemen; and we've got hoods and you've got bonnets. Of course I didn't know there was a foreign language problem until my daughter pointed it out. It was part of my confusion since I couldn't figure out what a 2,5 mm knitting needles was. I just knew I didn't have one. Then she told me that England often uses commas where we would us a period. So the first thing I had to do was look up needle size conversions.

Toni assured me my yarn sizing was good and off I started. The sole looked huge but I kept going with the mind set of the pattern knows best.
And on the journey I learned all about ssk and k2tog and how they lay differently but are really the same thing, a decrease.
I learned that rst is a English term because my daughter, Toni, who works at Interweave Press had never heard of it. But this stitch is quite awesome because it makes the sides of the boots extra thick and warm. Something I'd guess would be especially needed in an English countryside where when it gets cold the moisture makes it seem even more bitter cold.
One degree F here the other morning doing chores was downright pleasant. The wind wasn't blowing, which makes a huge difference, and we are extremely dry with the drought sucking all the moisture from the land and air.

A rst is when you go into the knit stitch below the one on your left needle and knit the two loops together. For us Americans, a rib stitch would be something like knit two and purl two. I'm now curious what that ribbing at the bottom of a sweater is called in England? Anyway, this stitch makes a wonderful thick layer when like in the pattern you do an England style rib stitch and purl, rib stitch and purl all around the sides of the boots. Then next row is knit one, purl one. And the following you switch back to the rst, p, rst, p.

And though I was following along completely on faith, blind to what the outcome would be, I should of paid attention to the little voice inside that kept saying, this isn't working, this isn't working.

After hours of reining in the horses and plodding along, I had to rip  the whole thing out. Our grand daughter is eight months and I was doing the 6-12 month size instructions and the boot when I tried it on our youngest on Sunday stretched two inches past her toes.

Obviously something was lost in translation.

Discouraged that the boots won't be for Christmas, I'm still not giving up. I'm just not making them for Christmas. I'm doing the 0-6 months size this next time. I should have measured our youngest's feet for there is a foot length chart on the pattern and so in part the sad outcome is partly my fault. I of course having built up a raft of frustration lately,  RIPPED out the whole boot when I should have stopped and measured the sole for a calculated readjustment for next time.

I credit this to why they say I'm a pretty good teacher. I know all the things not to do. In part I know my ADD is a factor in my always charging ahead but the good Lord gave me a gift. I'm 'more stubborn than a mule' as my father use to shout in frustration when I was young and I don't give up easily. I just know by now easy isn't my usual route but I'll get to the same destination as others, just not as fast and I've got to say I probably learn more than some with all my side trips.

I may not have a completed boot but I do have a understanding far greater than when I started. The second time going this far into the pattern will be far quicker because I understand the 'lay of the land' and I now know where to put stitch markers to help me lay things out more clearly.

Wish I could do the boots in a cream or a pale icy blue. Wouldn't that be pretty?  But alas, my daughter, mother of the youngon these boots are intended for doesn't do hand laundry and all I have is hot pink washable wool in my stash and no money for shopping. Cream at her house being insane anyway.

So all you wise and wonderful knitters, have you ever done an English rst before?


  1. These look great! I have never heard of this stitch either, the RST. I have twins coming in my family (boy and a girl) due end of March and they live in Minnesota-I am thinking these boots might be something warm for them! Thanks for the great write up on them! I'll let you know if it makes any kind of sense to me and I actually end up with boots!

  2. Holly,
    I cannot find this pattern on The Lovely Crow's etsy site...can you direct me?

    Thank you!!