Baby Booties from a Vintage Knitting Pattern

Many of us have a collection of vintage knitting patterns stored away that once belonged to our mothers, grandmothers, or even our great-grandmothers. Knitwear designer Nancie M. Wiseman is no different. In the September/October 2009 issue of PieceWork, Nancie shares her adaptation of a pair of knitted booties from a booklet that once belonged to Flora Campbell Chandler (1884–1965).

I am so lucky in my knitting life to be given antique lace patterns. It all started with the notebook that ended up in my book Lace from the Attic: A Victorian Notebook of Knitted Lace Patterns (Loveland, Colorado: Interweave, 1998). Since then, kind women have sent many more patterns and little booklets made perhaps by their grandmothers or great-grandmothers.

vintage knitting patterns

Baby bootie and bootie in process, showing the brioche stitch, knitted by Nancie M.
Wiseman from a pattern in Flora Campbell Chandler’s booklet. Photos by Joe Coca.

The pattern for these booties comes from a little cardboard booklet that has many patterns for knitting booties, quilt patterns, and knitted and crocheted laces. They are pasted over drawings, so probably the book was a hand-me-down from someone else in the house. According to the woman who sent the booklet to me, it belonged to Flora Campbell Chandler (1884–1965).

vintage knitting patterns

Baby booties knitted by Rebecca Daniels from the revised pattern.

Diana, who sent the booklet, included a photograph of Flora. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other information on Flora or Diana. I don’t even have Diana’s last name; I should have kept the envelope she sent. (I save everything now.) I knit the sample shown in the first photograph above from the original pattern. I translated the original pattern into modern instructions; booties knit from these instructions are shown above, too. Do keep in mind that the brioche stitch is a little tricky: Don’t drop a stitch; it’s tough to pick up.

—Nancie M.Wiseman

Nancie M. Wiseman has written ten books on knitting, crochet, and quilting and made seven knitting videos. She has appeared on DIY Network’s Knitty Gritty and Jewelry Making and PBS’s Needle Arts Studio with Shay Pendray. She designs for magazines and yarn companies under the name of Knit Wise Designs.

Download the September/October 2009 issue of PieceWork to knit your own pair of “Baby Booties to Knit from a Vintage Pattern.” For another great pair of booties to knit, check out our blog post, “Barron-Gibb Baby Booties and Toddler Socks: A Family Tradition.”


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