Book Review

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  50 Baby Bootees to Knit
by ZoŽ Mellor
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The editors used the word "bootee" loosely when they gave this book its title, for the 50 patterns aren't limited to traditional booties (to use the U.S. spelling). The patterns also include socks and slippers.

ZoŽ Mellor is exceptionally gifted at the art of cute. Some of her previous titles include Animal Knits, Double Knits, Colorful Knits, and Head to Toe Knits, all of which provide charming yet functional patterns.

Yarn Notes
The British designer Mellor is a member of the Rowan "family." This means that the designs in this book call exclusively for Rowan and Jaeger yarns.

Substitutions are made somewhat trickier by the omission of yardage specifications in each pattern. You're only told how many skeins you'll need, which assumes a) the specified yarn is still available and b) you wish to use it.

Rowan and Jaeger yarns tend to be slightly more expensive than others, but the patterns call for very small amounts, usually one or two skeins at most. Plus we all know that most booties are as much for the mother's delight as that of the baby.

Handy Binding
The square-shaped book has a thick and glossy hardbound cover concealing spiral binding inside.

The benefit of this approach is that you can easily leave the book open while you knit. The drawback is that you'll need to turn pages somewhat tenderly to avoid ripping them out of the binding.

On the back cover you'll find three baby foot outlines intended to help you determine the right sizing for your baby's feet. I only wish the book continued to larger sizes instead of stopping at nine months.

Under the Covers
Because of the small and highly shaped nature of the projects, almost all the instructions are given in terms of rows rather than inches or centimeters. Mellor writes clearly and succinctly, and I found no truly tricky or obtuse instructions.

I took her Textured Cuff Bootees pattern out for a spin and had one bootee completed in under an hour. I was so smitten with the results that I plan to continue testing other patterns. The next time I encounter a barefoot newborn, I'll be prepared.

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Mellor uses a flat technique for her booties. Beginners will appreciate not having to master DPNs for most of the bootie patterns, although you'll need to be comfortable with seams instead.

I have only a minor peeve: With the exception of two patterns, Mellor provides no diagrams or pictures showing the assembly of your booties. You can only study the photo of the finished project and hope you figured it out right.

The sock patterns, however, are knit in the round using DPNs. Because the socks are so small, they provide a perfect training ground for beginners.

More of the Same?
I've heard some criticize this book for its lack of pattern diversity. Agreed, many of the bootees have a similar patterning, but then again so do most babies' feet.

From a color and texture perspective, Mellor does a good job of exploring solids, stripes, polka dots, cables, lace, and seed-stitch motifs, not to mention several heart-meltingly adorable animal-themed bootees.

Agreed, if you're comfortable with winging it, you could take a base bootee pattern and embellish it yourself, producing results possibly similar to Mellor's. But not all of us have the skill or interest required to do this.

This book puts page after page of truly adorable options at your fingertips. If baby patterns interest you, or if you are overrun with leftovers and are looking for relief, do consider adding this book to your collection.

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