Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slippers Make My Feet Happy

So the other day I was in Red Purl snooping around for some yarn when I noticed a basket on the floor with some small hanks of chunky rough-spun wool in green, orange, and brown. And believe it or not, the colours together were very appealing. Then I noticed it was spun by a local woman I have met through Ravelry and who in fact was right there in the shop teaching a class to half a dozen women. I loved it.

So I fingered the wool desirously, and even perhaps covetously, thinking of what I could do with it. I wasn't sure, but I thought three skeins would be just about right. I went ahead and bought the three skeins with a nod to Kallie who spun it. She didn't ask me then, since she was in the middle of a class, but she wanted to know what I was going to make with it. (Wouldn't you want to know what your wool became?) Of course, I didn't have an answer then, but I did within a couple days: slippers!

So here is the pattern for some very easy slippers. I was taught this basic pattern in sewing (& etc) class in grade school and it is the "go-to" slipper pattern in my family. These instructions are appropriate for bulky or chunky yarns.

Yarn: bulky wool or your favourite material. I bought 3 skeins of about 40 grams each and got into the third, but not by much.

Needle Size: 6.5 mm / US 10.5

Stitches used (abbreviations): knit (K), purl (P), knit two stitches together as one (K2tog)

Cast on 24 stitches [I used the knit cast-on, but any method would be acceptable in this case]

Knit 26 rows [or as many rows as you need to go about half the length of your foot]

Start ribbing with next row as follows:
K2, *P1, K1, repeat from * across row
Next row: *P1, K1, repeat from * to last two stitches, P2
Repeat these 2 rows 7 times (16 rows total ribbing) [or as many rows as you need to get to about an inch before the end of your toes]

Next row: K2, K2tog, *P1, K1, K2tog, repeat from * across row (18 sts)
Next row: *P2, K1, repeat from * across row
Next row: *K2tog, K1, repeat from * across row (12 sts)
Next row: Purl
Next row: K2tog across row (6 sts)
(Do not cast off)

Break end of yarn, leaving a 12-14" tail. Weave end through last 6 stitches and draw tight. Then use the end to sew sides together. Sew only along the ribbing.

Fold the slipper in half lengthwise and sew the cast-on edge to itself. This will form the heel. Work in any other ends.

And voila! Slippers!
Other notes on the pattern: you will notice that if you seam along the ribbing by taking up each selvage stitch into the seam, the ribbing pattern will be uninterrupted by the seam. Another way to tackle this is to switch to double pointed needles (or your favourite circular needle technique) and start knitting in the round when the ribbing starts. In that case you would eliminate the first and last stitch of each row and adjust the decrease rows accordingly.

Also, I slip the first stitch on each row. I find this makes a neater edge, especially if you consistently slip it as if you're doing the stocking stitch. (In garter stitch this means you either need to always slip the first stitch knitwise and purl the last stitch OR slip the first stitch purlwise and knit the last stitch. Phew--is that confusing yet?! It's always easier to do than describe!) Slipping the stitch also makes finding that selvage stitch for seaming easier too. And I'm all for anything making seaming easier: not my favourite thing to do.

Also, you can imagine how easily this pattern could be adapted for your favourite lighter weight yarn. I wouldn't go much lighter than worsted weight though. For most of those yarns you'd want to cast on 30 stitches and go as many rows as you need to reach the distance specified in the internal pattern notes.

I hope your feet are happy in their own slippers right now. If not, try out this pattern and it won't be long until they are!

PS Make sure to leave a comment if you've tried it out: let me know how it goes!


  1. My mother crochets these slippers for everyone in the family. My grandmother and great grandmother also crocheted these slippers back in the day. They are definitely the "go-to" slipper of our family too!
    Very funny.

  2. That's neat, Nancy! I didn't realize there was a crochet version of this pattern.



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