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Elaine Pack

Baby booties without yarn

Question

sortof :) Many many years ago, in the 50s, my grandmother used to crochet booties (without a pattern!) for my mother's friends who were having babies back then, using what I guess is more of a thread than the kind of "thick but loose" yarn we see today. She used a steel crochet hook that was very very tiny, given the thread was very small too, as it still is today.  Two questions.

1. Are the aluminum hooks of today equivalent to the steel hooks of yesterday? I have nothing but aluminum hooks and the smallest one I have is 2.0mm.

2. Are there bootie patterns still out there that will use this kind of thread and hook? The ones I make for my daughter's friends with regular baby yarn tend to be rather largish but pretty enough things, hers were delicate beauties. And now it's MY daughter I'm doing these for so I want them to be very nice :)

TIA

elaine

Edited by Elaine Pack

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I have steel 'doily hooks' from yesteryear, several vintages, some say 10-35 cents which are probably from prior to mid last century, acquired from relatives.   Sizing is still the same - I'm in the US, as you are (different countries have different sizing schemes).

I make a lot of doilies so they are still in use, but probably not so much the TINIEST of threads, but still thread.  I know I have seen Annie's Attic patterns for baptismal gowns with matching booties and caps done in crochet thread...I will do a search and see if I can find some bootie patterns and come back in a bit.

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Here is a vintage pattern for hat and booties,, there are more on this site -- here is a list of all of them (this was a search on booties in general on this site, some may be yarn not thread).  The problem with vintage patterns is sometimes they don't give gauge (although the first one I linked thankfully does), and the thread or yarn is not available so you have to guess at the size.  With a #8 hook it might be current #10 or possibly #20 crochet cotton, you can get these sizes at Joann; Michaels and Hobby Lobby I believe carry #10 or thicker (the smaller the thread size's number, the thicker the thread is).  #10 size is the most common that you will find nowadays.

That will give you a start.  Here are some free 'more modern' patterns.

http://beadz-yarn-stuff.blogspot.com/2009/08/baby-booties.html

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/brendas-thread-booties  The link is from Ravelry so you can see a photo of the finished bootie, but the pattern is actually on Crochetville.  

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-a-headband-and-booties  this pattern is hosted by Ravelry and will be a PDF download (free)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Granny Square
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1 hour ago, Granny Square said:

I have steel 'doily hooks' from yesteryear, several vintages, some say 10-35 cents which are probably from prior to mid last century, acquired from relatives.   Sizing is still the same - I'm in the US, as you are (different countries have different sizing schemes).

How do they compare to aluminum hooks, tho, size-wise? I'm guessing I'll just have to get a set of steels (not a problem :)

elaine

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Also, I've been educating myself a bit since I posted. What would be the best thread size for a bootie? I noted sizes 10, 20, 30, etc? They also recommended DMC Cebelia thread. Thoughts?

elaine

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Right, what BGS said - hooks for yarn can be made of plastic, aluminum or wood (I think I've even seen glass hooks), but those would likely break or bend if you had t whittle that material down small enough to handle the relatively stiffer thread.  I'm a 'threadie', and I and my hands are not so young any more, and thread projects are a bit harder on them than yarn ones.

99.99% of modern patterns are going to call for #10 doily thread; I like to use a US#7 steel hook now, but when I was starting out I only had a few hand-me-down hooks which didn't include #7 and used a #6 for years (for doilies, so gauge didn't matter).   Try to find a pattern that calls for #10 thread, it will be easier to use than smaller stuff and you're certain to find that size at the 'big box stores', even Walmart. 

 

 

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Forgot to add that I think DMC Cebilia has been discontinued, as has Aunt Lydia's and probably others - any size 10 mercerized crochet cotton thread should work.

Also, since you are making something that's supposed to fit, to use the hook it calls for and make sure you hit the gauge it gives.  

Edited by Granny Square

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Granny Square my old hand me down was a #7 and its my go to for thread.  

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You know, I bought an interchangeable Boye set a while back which is nice, it has a G or H size handle and size 0 to 14 steel hook tips that screw on to the end.  But I really only ever use the #7, except for a couple of doilies where I wanted to use up some ancient #30 thread where I used a #12 hook, I think, teeeeny tiny.

To the OP - you mentioned 'getting a set' of steel hooks.  I'd start with the 7 if you find a pattern that uses #10 thread, or whatever the pattern tells you to use - you may not have a use for a whole set.  

 

Edited by Granny Square

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I bought a bunch of Bates Bamboo thread hooks a while back because I couldn't hold the thread in my hand.  The sizes are the same but they give you the regular bamboo handle to hold while working.  It has made working with thread so much easier.  I couldn't hold the tiny thread hooks before.

I don't know what brands of the steel hooks with handles are still available, I haven't purchased them in a while, but I found the steel hooks to be much to small for my hands to use without some form of handle.

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I hear you on the 'hard to work with the tiny handle/shaft'.  Before I got the Boye interchangeable set, I found an easy solution for those sore fingers:  several rubber bands (I used the thin kind, easy to add or subtract to adjust) and one of those soft pencil grip/sleeve things.  Wrap a bunch of rubber bands around where you grip the hook, and slide the pencil sleeve over it - it will take some shoving, but it pretty much stays put once you get it there.  I have a pencil-style hold so only use 1 pencil sleeve, but if you have a knife-style hold I imagine it would work to put maybe 3 in a row on a hook.

 

Edited by Granny Square

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Hi Ladies: Just to add here; I use all the Clover Amour hooks exclusively now, including the Steel hook set for thread crochet. I like them simply because there is just enough padding on them (including the grip) to prevent and help with arthritic hand pain (of course Aspircreme helps too- LOL!). I bought one small hook to start to see if I liked them, then bought the set at JoAnn's. I think I paid $25 at the time with all their coupons. I haven't used anything else since except for Tunisian hooks.

I've not used this one but have had it for some time now: Free Booty pattern

Edited by ReniC

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On 1/29/2020 at 7:28 AM, Bailey4 said:

I bought a bunch of Bates Bamboo thread hooks a while back because I couldn't hold the thread in my hand.  The sizes are the same but they give you the regular bamboo handle to hold while working.  It has made working with thread so much easier.  I couldn't hold the tiny thread hooks before.

I see that Amazon has a selection of Bates Bamboo handled hooks. Looks interesting--I don't have a problem (yet) but anything that lets you hold the smaller hooks easier is worth taking a look at. Thanks!

elaine

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