Relieve that tension, baby

Some of my first crochet items were baby booties, specifically these super cuteΒ monk strap booties by Whistle & Ivy. They’re easier to make than they look, and the instructions are super clear. There’s also a video to follow if you prefer! Whistle & Ivy have so many beautiful patterns, but I particularly love all her baby booties.

And I’m so glad I decided to try her baby bootie patterns early on. It was because of these items that I realised I was a ‘tight crocheter’… A very tight crocheter! This meant that even though I was using the same weight yarn and the same size hook specified in the pattern, my finished ‘9-12 month’ baby booties were coming out the size for a preemi / newborn! This was not good… How was I ever supposed to sell or gift baby booties that small? They would only fit the baby for a couple of weeks at best!

Mickey Mouse beanie and Monk Loafer baby booties
Possibly the world’s smallest baby booties and beanie. Cute! But impractical…

That’s when I learnt all about gauge and tension. I won’t go into too much detail about these things here – I’ll post specific ‘How-to’ info later… But what you need to understand as a beginner (and what I still need to remind myself) is that the gauge provided at the beginning of a crochet pattern is super important!! It tells you how many stitches should fit within a certain measurement (1 inch by 1 inch, for example). And if you have more stitches or less stitches within this area compared to what the gauge says then your item will come out smaller or bigger, respectively, than the pattern intends.

Well, in my case, I quickly found out that I had many more stitches in that area than what the guage said – hence I was a tight crocheter and needed to figure out how to fix this problem! There are a few different ways to do this – which, again, I’ll post about specifically later on – but I found that I needed to go up a couple of hook sizes *and* use thicker yarn to start getting closer to the size intended…

Chevron beanies and Monk Loafer baby booties
Finally! Baby booties that fit, using thicker yarn and a larger hook. I think they’re more comfy looking too!

That being said, I also learned a lot about babies: they grow *so quickly*! And they’re all so different, which should be obvious, but they’re all so small in general that I never considered they were actually all different shapes and sizes. There are plenty of baby bootie sizing charts that are super helpful to know the average size of a baby’s foot at different ages (see one I’ve created for you, below).

But be warned: not every 6-9 month old baby will fit that size baby bootie! If possible, ask for measurements of the baby’s foot so you can compensate for them having bigger / smaller feet *and* to include some extra growing-room so they don’t grow out of them too quickly!

The Sweetest Geek - Baby Bootie Sizing Chart

What things have you learned from crochet or other hobbies that surprised you?Β 

Crocheting clothes and accessories is so much fun - especially super cute baby booties! But let me explain why tension and gauge is also super important...

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