Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sometimes I just have to crow!

With an overwhelming need to knit, I needed a big project to make all of that knitting time well spent. I latched onto the idea to make slippers for grand nieces and nephews this year.

My frugal genes (and husband) thought it was a good way to use up leftover yarns. So I sorted through the odds and ends I've collected over the years and pulled out my favorite. It is a soft baby yarn with a glimmer stripe through it. I used it several years ago for crocheted afghans and they turned out better than I had ever hoped. The yarn worked up so nicely and the feel. Ohhhh they are heavenly soft. And they're washable! Dryable! I used two strands of the baby yarn and the afghans turned out so cuddly, soft, warm and luxurious. Why I hadn't thought of using baby yarn for afghans before, I don't know. It is the softest yarn, of course, and relatively inexpensive, so using a double strand doesn't make for expensive projects.

The slippers I made using that yarn turned out just as cuddly and lovely, but the sleeve with the company name and information was long gone. But today as I was ordering other yarn, I ran across this favorite. It is Bernat's baby coordinates. Bless their hearts for making this lovely yarn at such an affordable price!

The only downside to the yarn comes in unraveling a project. That glimmer stripe tends to knot up a bit and the yarn separates a little, but that little glitch is minor compared to the utility and feel of the yarn. The only other yarn I've so enjoyed working with is an alpaca blend. But the price won't allow me to purchase much of that!

I can't put my finger on the article right now, but I seem to have read that the Bernat company began with a knitter inventing her own yarn and is now she is one of the richest women in the world. But darn, I can not verify the info! It is a Canadian company, but so far I haven't tracked down much more than that!

I have had such luck finding great 'free' patterns online. It took more of a search to find patterns for slipper 'socks' that don't require a heel turn. I'm not a very experienced knitter and I haven't mastered the heel turn, yet. But I found a couple adorable (and not so difficult) patterns for tube socks that work quite well. This one "Soxie's Patriotic Spirals" is a joy to work on. Obviously I am not using the Bernat yarn for this project. My grandnephews are little manly men and require a more 'manly' yarn. The red is Lion Brand Yarn wool-ease, and the other is a leftover without label. I really need to keep better records!

And from the top photo you will see I made a pair of the traditional basic slipper that all new knitters are required to make. It is still fun to whip them out in a couple hours. A big pompom and they're good to go. Here's the pattern as old as time:

My Grandmother's Slippers
Size: Adjustable (children to adult)
Materials: About 150 yards each of 2 colors of worsted weight yarn (Color A and Color B).
Size 8 needles
Pompom maker
Tapestry needle
Gauge: 7 sts=2 inches, 6 rows (3 ridges) = 1 inch in garter stitch on size 8 needles
Slipper (make 2)
With 1 strand Color A held together with 1 strand Color B, cast on 29.

Foot portion:
Row 1: Knit 9, purl 1, knit 9, purl 1, knit 9.
Row 2: Knit across.
Repeat these 2 rows until garter stitch portion measures approx. 4-5 inches for children; 7-8 inches for adults.

Begin ribbed toe portion:
Row 1: Knit 1, purl 1, rep from * across.
Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches as they face you to form knit 1, purl 1 ribbing.
Repeat last row until ribbed portion measures approx. 2 inches for children, 3-4 inches for adults or until measurement of piece from beginning is 1/2 inch less than total foot length.

On last row of ribbing, decrease one stitch so there are 28 stitches remaining.

For pointy-toe version:
Decrease for toe: *Knit two together, rep from * across (14)
Next row: Purl across (14)
Next row: *Knit 2 together, rep. from * across (7)
Next row: Purl across (7)

For round-toe version:
Decrease for toe: *Knit 2 together, rep. from * across (14)
Cut yarn, leaving tail long enough for sewing toe seam. Gather remaining stitches together by running yarn through stitches on tapestry needle and pulling tight to close toe, then sew toe seam until you reach the garter stitch portion. Finish off and weave in ends. With separate length of yarn sew up heel seam.

If desired, make 2 large, fluffy pompoms, using both colors together and attach to top of slipper.

The baby spiral socks in the top photo (center) knit in multicolored yarn, took some getting used to. I never did memorize the pattern and I used double pointed needles in a size 3, and this was my first double pointed -- more than two-needle project ever! So I'm quite pleased with them.

The pattern, Juanita's knit booty pattern, I truly enjoyed making, but they ended in a bit of disappointment because the top needs more stretch to it or no one can get their foot in it! I thought about putting in a zipper! But it is a fun two-needle pattern that could be made on double pointed needles by someone smarter than me. It has turned into my "Cinderella slipper". I take it to friends and loved ones and have them try it on. If they can get their foot in it -- it is theirs! I hate to unravel or admit defeat.

More than you ever wanted to know about yarn and slippers, I bet.

No comments: