When I left Brussels, my colleagues bought me a couple of knitting books and some yarn as a leaving present after I kept going on about my knitting groups. One of the books was bebe tricot by Sonia Lucano. It’s a great book, lovely patterns for baby clothes, beautifully photographed, and I couldn’t wait to make something for Milo.
Unfortunately when I set off to pick a pattern I soon realised though that it was not simply a matter of learning the French abbreviations. French knitting patterns are completely different! They are super short and concentrated to the absolute minimum information. They have this thing called ‘mathematiques’, which are lines of pattern that can describe big long sections in one line. So for example, the following:
‘tric en pt mousse en augm de ch cote et de ch cote des 2m centrales ainsi: 3fs 1m ts les 2 rgs’
knit in garter stitch while increasing on either side and on either side of the two central stitches in the following manner: 3 times 1 stitch every second row’
Clarity defined, no? Seriously, it is workoutable, but I found it hard, so I’m not sure how a knitting beginner would cope. And sometimes the things are plain wrong: it’ll say ‘bind off 5 stitches on either end’ which is impossible, unless I’ve missed there being a way of binding off at the end of a row. According to my knitting friends in Belgium what it means is to bind off the stitches at the beginning of the next row! My main gripe with it though is that you have no way of seeing how many rows there are, or where you are in the pattern if you want to stop, unless you translate it into a row by row pattern so you can mark things off.
Which is what I did for these baby booties. I’ve made three pairs so far, the two shown and a bicolour version I will show another time. The red ones were the first ones. They were a bit big, so I made the other ones out of sock yarn. Unfortunately by the time I finished them, they were too small for Milo. I ended up giving them to my friend from the antenatal course, who had a baby girl three weeks after me, so they just about still fit.
I do love this pattern, and it’s really easy too (it’s sewn together, no messing about with double points), so I thought I’d share my translated pattern. And anyone who wants to find out more about the Frenchie way of knitting this was the best website I could find.
CO 36 st
R18: K11,K2tog 13 times,K11
R30: K7, bind off 13,K7
on first 7 stitches:
pick up stitches, CO13
K 2 rows
K2,YO,K2tog,K until end of row
K 2 rows
on second 7 stitches:
K 5 rows,
For the second bootie, swap round the first and second 7 stitches to make the strap go the other way