Welcome to the Tuned In to Knitting Daily TV blog! This week we invited Kristen Rengren, author of Vintage Baby Knits (STC Craft), to guest blog about her Cleo Kitty Slippers, a project she demonstrates in the new Series 300. Plus we have a treat for you! This adorable pattern is now available for free download, along with 30 other free patterns from the new season! Now here’s Kristen to talk about those cutie-patootie booties, and we have a video showing her finishing techniques.
A lot of people have asked me how I chose the patterns in Vintage Baby Knits. Choosing was incredibly difficult, which is one way I ended up with more than forty patterns in the book; it would have been easy to write three books based on this material! In order to find each design, I literally looked through thousands of patterns. My collection of vintage patterns consists of hundreds of booklets, all published from the 1920s to the 1950s. I spent almost a year poring through these books, considering which designs would look best knit up in modern yarns.
My process for choosing patterns for Vintage Baby Knits was fun but rather laborious. First I sketched out all the garments that caught my eye, and then I used those sketches to winnow out my favorites. It’s a process I use all the time when deciding what vintage knits to adapt—in part because I love sketching so much and in part because the process of going through each book and then through the stacks of drawings helps me think.
For Vintage Baby Knits, I cut out each one of the hundreds of drawings I made, and spread them all out on the floor at once, mixing and matching different patterns until I got a mix I liked—a process that took weeks. My husband, who is an amazingly patient man, would frequently come home to discover me on the living room floor surrounded by piles and piles of pattern books and drawings, racking my brain over which patterns to choose.
Among the dozens of patterns for booties the Cleo Kitty Slippers stood out. (Who could resist little kitty booties? Download the free pattern here.) Originally titled *** Cat Slippers, they were first published in a book called Paragon Baby Book #10, which was printed in New Zealand in the early 1950s. Since they’re knit flat in garter stitch and made in one piece that’s then quickly seamed, they couldn’t be easier and they’re the perfect last-minute baby gift.
Watch the video of Kristen demonstrating the finishing techniques for these slippers from Knitting Daily TV Episode 302, Babies and Children:
Here’s another tip for knitting the Cleo Kitty Slippers: The directions given for the ears are as they were written in the original pattern, and will give you long-ish kitty ears, which I just sewed on at the desired length to get the short-eared effect shown in the slippers in the book. To make them shorter, simply sew them on at the desired length, or if you’d prefer to seam at the edge, knit only one row before starting your decreases, instead of six. If you would like bunny slippers, make them a little longer by knitting eight or ten rows before you start decreasing. (Or to make puppy slippers instead, simply knit longer ears, then place them further apart so that they droop a little bit, and then omit the whiskers when you knit the face.)
I hope you enjoy knitting this pattern and many more from Vintage Baby Knits! You can find out more about the book here on the book's website.
My publisher, STC, is also hosting a giveaway for a free copy of the book, which you can read about here.
And if you would enjoy reading more posts from my blog tour, or if you’re just curious about vintage knitting, please visit me at my blog. I write there often about vintage knits for children and for adults, as well as about my original design work and about knitting in general–and occasionally, I even write about cake!