My Version of Saartje’s Bootees

9/20/2013 – I’ve cleaned up this pattern and put it in pdf format.  I’m not removing the original write-up here, but if you want the edited version, please go here and download the pdf version.

11/8/2011 – Note – I’ve updated this pattern to fix two errors in the original pattern.

I loved the way Saartje’s bootees look, but they have a ton of ends to weave in and sewing, especially for such a small object.  A couple of other people have also come up with other ways of knitting these, but they are either fiddly or still have some sewing up to do.  Instead, I figured out a way to knit them so that they are knit in the round from the top down with no sewing up to do whatsoever.  In addition, the tail from the cast-on is used for part of the knitting so that there are only two ends (the starting and ending one) to be woven in at the end.

– I primarily used Knitty’s standard abbreviations which are found here.
– Instructions for cable cast-on can be found here.
– Instructions for increasing using the backwards e method are here as the m1 increase (different from the standard m1).  This is one of my favorite increases as it is reasonably invisible and easy to do.
– Instructions for grafting garter-wise are here.

Small (Large)


Cast on 40 (46) stitches using a cable cast-on, leaving a long-ish tail (don’t use the long-tail cast-on, you need the tail end to be on the opposite side after you cast on.  And a “long-ish” tail is probably about 16 inches long if you were wondering…you could probably get by with 12, but I’d always prefer having too long a tail than cutting it short).

Slip the last stitch you cast on onto a crochet needle and chain 6 stitches.  Slip the last loop chain-stitched back on the needle.

Work back and forth for the strap:
Row 1: K20 (23), P20 (23)

Row 2: P20 (23), K20 (23)

Row 3a: Take the long tail end from the cast on.  Working from that end (i.e. the opposite end from where your working yarn going to the full ball is), slip the last stitch from that end onto a crochet needle and use the long tail to chain 6 stitches.  Slip the last loop back on the needle.  Then, continue to use the long-tail to BO 9 (11) stitches knit-wise.  Take the 10th (12th) stitch (which has been knit at this point) and pass it over the 11th (13th) stitch.  You should now have 30 (34) stitches remaining.

Row 3b: Go back to the end with the working yarn.  BO 10 (12) stitches knitwise, K10 (11), P10 (11), then cast-on 21 (23)stitches (I use a cable-cast-on so it matches the cast-on for the top of the shoe, but any cast-on will work).  Join and P10 (11).  PM here.  This will now be the beginning of the row (at the center of the heel).  You now should have a circle of 41(45) stitches with the two straps flapping).

Main Part of Shoe worked in the round:
Row 4: K all sts.

Row 5: P all sts.

Row 6: K all sts

Row 7: P all sts

Row 8: K16 (18), * make 1 using backward e method , K1.  Repeat from * 9 more times.  K15 (17). 51 (55) sts in all.

Row 9: P all sts

(If you want to do two color booties, switch colors here)

Row 10: K all sts

Row 11: P all sts

Row 12-19: Repeat rows 10 & 11 four times.

Rows 20-21: For large booties only, repeat rows 10&11 one more time.  For small booties, skip these rows.

Row 22: K2tog, K15 (17), SSK, K1, SSK, K7, K2tog, K 1, K2tog, K15 (17), SSK.  45 (49) sts in all.

Row 23: P all sts.

Row 24: K2tog, K14 (16), SSK, K1, SSK, K3, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K14 (16), SSK.  39 (43) sts in all.

Row 25: P all sts

Row 26: K2tog, K14 (16), SSK, K3, K2tog, K14 (16), SSK.  35 (39) sts in all.

Row 27: P all sts

Row 28: K2tog, K13 (15), SSK, K1, K2tog, K13 (15), SSK.  31(35) sts in all.

Row 29: P sts

Row 30: K14 (16), K2tog (will only have knit about 1/2 the stitches – this is to make grafting in garter st possible).

Put the 15 (17) sts just worked on one needle and the remainder of the needles on a second needle.  Graft your stitches together garter-wise.  Weave in ends and sew on buttons.

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21 Responses to My Version of Saartje’s Bootees

  1. gerrie roozeboom says:

    Could you please send me a picture of the booties?
    Thanking you in advance.

  2. gerrie roozeboom says:

    I do like Saartjes Booties very much. What is the difference with the original pattern?
    Could you please send me a picture.
    Thanking you in advance.

    • kiteboardbum says:

      The original booties are knit flat and seamed. I have a mild hatred of seaming (especially on something so tiny), so re-figured the pattern to be knit in the round with minimal ends to be woven in. Will post a pic with the pattern tomorrow.

      Thanks! Susan

      • Gerrie Roozeboom says:

        Thank you for sending the last post. It was rather difficult to get here, but maybe it is just me…

  3. Tamsin says:

    What size needle do you use? I cast on using a 16 inch, but it was clear that that was way too long and I would never get the stitches joined.

  4. barbara shupe says:

    The booties are beautiful. What size needle did you use and what size did it make up- newborn, 3 mon, etc?
    Thanks so much. I am trying to knit them but having problems with the size and joining the yarn.

  5. woolheart says:

    Hi, just wanted to let you know that the stitch count is off in row 29 of the small version. The directions you give there add up to 33 stitches not 31. I managed by knitting 13 instead of 14, but you might want to check your notes.

    BTW: Great modification, I could never convince myself to knit these, as just like you I hate sewing up such small pieces. I’m very happy I can finally make these without throwing a tantrum.

  6. Agnes says:

    Hi Susan,
    thank you very, very much for working out how to knit these bootees in the round! I tried it out and got a pair of lovely little bootees with almost no seaming – great! 🙂
    Just two questions:
    1) Could it be there is something wrong in row 29? The mentioned stitches sum up as 33 not 31 stitches (for small size). Instead of K14 I tried K13 – and it worked out alright. (Then also row 31 is correct again.)
    2) I have translated your “recipe” to German. May I upload it to ravelry or pass it on to others?
    Best regards,

    • Susan says:

      Hi – yes, there was an error in row 29 (now 28) and now fixed. K13 is the right fix. And feel free to translate and post (just link or credit me please). Thanks!

      • Hi Susan,
        thanks a lot for your reply! 🙂
        I will see how I can post the translation (here and/or on ravelry) and of course you will be linked and credited.
        Best regards,

  7. Linda Hershey says:

    there is no mention of needle size or what length of needle to use. Please add, tks,,,


  8. Pingback: Pattern fix for Saartje’s Booties | Careful Not To Twist

  9. Hann says:


    I tried knitting these and when I got to the end I realised that the straps were going the wrong way (i.e towards the heel). How on earth have I managed to do that?!

  10. SweetJuJu says:

    What size needles? Yarn size?

  11. seunga yu says:

    Hi, what is “make 1 using backward e method “? I am familiar with m1, but not sure what backward e means.

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