Friday, April 10, 2015

Bulky Crochet Booties with Matching Headband

The first project I ever started was a wavy chevron blanket for my preschooler (see last week’s post for a link to the pattern). The first project I ever FINISHED was a set of bulky Mary Jane booties and matching headband for my good friend’s baby girl.
booties next to headband - bulky yarn

Almost immediately after learning to follow patterns, I formed a list in my head of all the projects I wanted to complete. At the top of the list was a gift for my friend’s newborn baby. I found a ton of free booties patterns online, but I didn’t find the perfect one until I stumbled upon a selection of amazing patterns for sale at The Lovely Crow on Etsy. Yes, I had to pay $5.95 for the pattern, but it was worth it because these booties are absolutely adorable and the pattern is written for bulky (or chunky) yarn. I have yet to find a similar free bulky yarn pattern. Sometimes it’s worth spending money on a good pattern. I think of it as a splurge and a gift to myself. I figure $6 is an affordable self-indulgence, especially if you are going to use the pattern to make multiple items as gifts or for sale. 

In addition to the booties, I wanted to make a matching headpiece. I could have gone with the irresistibly cute matching bulky beanie that is also for sale on Etsy, but I was short on time and money, so I used a free headband pattern. It was designed for lighter weight yarn, but it worked well with bulky yarn. Since it is based on length rather than stitch numbers, I didn’t have to worry about converting the number of stitches from light to bulky weight yarn. I just needed a measuring tape. To decorate the headband, I used a free bulky flower pattern written specifically for bulky yarn.

Pattern links:

Bulky Booties from The Lovely Crow
Size 0-3 months

headband with bulky flower

What’s so great about using bulky yarn to crochet tiny booties and a simple headband? 

The patterns work up VERY quickly!

This comes in handy when you are just starting out and may need to crochet a few booties before getting it right. The pattern is so easy that my very first bootie actually looked like the picture in the pattern. The only problem was that it was too tiny. My second bootie was a good size, but my third bootie didn’t match it! I would say that’s the main challenge with crocheting booties (when you’re a beginner): they have to match! So I crocheted a fourth bootie and gave booties #3 and #4 to my friend, carefully stored #2 so I could make a matching pair someday, and saved #1 as a chew toy (suitable for kids or cats).

I also made a headband for the baby’s older sister. I'm a sucker for matching sibling accessories. Since I wasn’t sure of the size, I didn’t sew the band closed, but attached ribbon to both sides. I simply tied the ribbon to each end of the headband using a square knot, then wrapped it around several times to hide the knot. I made sure to seal the ribbon ends so they would not fray. Here is the finished set including the big sister headband. It's my first ever completed crochet project! (I completed it last summer about a month after I first taught myself to crochet).

booties and two headbands


I used the same yarn that is suggested in the pattern. It’s (affiliate link)--> Lion Brand Baby’s First Yarn (bulky #5) and I love working with it. I love the feel of a 45% cotton yarn. I also love 45% (or greater) cotton yarn because it is less "fuzzy" than 100% acrylic. The colors are Cotton Ball and Fairy Tale.

To go with the bulky size yarn, the pattern calls for a 6.5mm (aka size "K") hook. At this point in my crochet journey, I decided to buy a crochet hook set. I found an aluminum crochet hook set <--(affiliate link) on Amazon for a great price ($7.16 for 22 hooks). I have already bought two similar sets (because I have a tendency to misplace hooks). You will also need a tapestry needle and stitch marker (optional; see below).

Beginner tips:

One challenge I noticed with these booties (and any bootie crocheted in the round) is keeping track of the very first stitch in each row. Because there is a turn, that stitch tends to get twisted and tightened and I often cannot find it by the time I finish the row. By placing a stitch marker in that stitch, I can make sure that I have the right number of stitches in addition to ensuring that I put the first stitch of the next row in the right place. 

Here are the tips I learned from my first bootie project:
  •  Don’t crochet too tightly
  •  Crochet with consistent tension so the booties match in size
  •  Use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of each row

There are  a couple of other techniques used in the bootie pattern that may be a small challenge for beginner crocheters, but Elizabeth clearly explains them in the pattern and the accompanying video tutorials. That is one of the best things about her can learn a lot from them!

bulky booties bulky headband
Aren't the little bear buttons adorable?

What do you think? Would you pay $6 for an irresistibly cute crochet pattern?

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