Monday, November 30, 2009


Last winter I was on the quest to figure out how to knit mittens on the knitting machine, and produce them quickly while maintaining the qualities of a mitten I like best. I also dabbled into hats, especially earflap hats. It was an interesting venture, and I still have an idea or two to try for mittens! This winter, my quest is slippers. I go through slippers quickly--I joke that Christmas and Mother's Day should be 6 months apart, not 5/7 because those are the only times I get new slippers. I love the handknit felted clog pattern from FiberTrends, but they aren't the quickest thing to make. I have been working on a pair of the 'ballet' slipper style from FiberTrends, for ....a long time; I thought they might be quicker, but I'm not as familiar with the pattern so I keep ignoring them.

The clogs pattern is not well suited to adjusting for machine knitting. In the internet world of free machine knit slipper patterns, there are 4 common ones. The first is just a rectangle, stitched up the back heel and top of the toe and I think felted. The second pattern is "7 Minute Slippers" and the third is "14 minute Slippers". I had put off making these two because I couldn't find pictures. Once some got posted in the Yahoo groups and on Ravelry, I decided to go for it. After finding out the 14 minute slippers are just the 7 minute slippers with lining knit as you go, I figured I'll give them a try first. My feet get cold!

The pattern was easy to follow, and very quick, although not 14 minutes. And there was insufficient gauge info. Most people finish the top with a pompom or something to hide the hole, but I thought it was kinda cute. I ended up ripping out the beige one as it was way too small. The yellow ones I gave to my SIL who was having knee surgery. Lucy also got a yellow pair. Despite being cute, in an almost "a face only a mother could love" sort of way, these slippers use a lot of yarn and are not very form fitting. Given my track record with slipping on the stairs, I needed a more secure slipper.

The fourth most common machine knit slipper pattern is the "Double Thick" slippers, aka "Romeo" slippers or pixie slippers. A little more involved, these ones still have the lining knit in as you go, but they also get put together with "seam as you go", a technique pretty much unique to machine knitting.

This picture shows the first pair; the pink part is the inner slipper which gets knit first.

The pattern did not give info about where to change colours, so I did some experimenting after the first pair. There are more options for colour placement with this pattern. This isn't a great picture, but the red, white, and blue slippers are the sparkly Christmas yarns. I didn't want that on the inside of the foot. The pink pair on the right have some size/gauge issues and I think I will have to re-knit the outer slipper. Then I made the pair on the left, in rose/beige/brown. You can see in the side view that just the sole is brown. The slipper has a flap at the front and back ankle, which is what gives them the "pixie" label, I think. They stay on pretty good, even though they are low cut at the sides of the heel. The red and white one shows what it looks like after grafting the back bottom heel to the back top heel...there's a lot of short rows there at the heel and flappy bits.
I timed the last slipper, and it took 45 minutes from start to finish, for one slipper. I went to a craft sale on Saturday, and people were selling mittens and slippers and socks (cheap acrylic yarns) for $3.50-$4.50 a pair. To make a pair of these for lady's size 9, took a little over one ball of Patons Decor, which can be bought for about $5 (true, these slippers are two layers though). I'm planning to write a post about the issues related to craft sale pricing. Even if you don't sell at sales, it still affects you, especially if you give knitted gifts.
These slippers (and the move back to an area with a Michaels' store) has caused a sudden increase in my yarn stash! Ooops! Better go knit and try to pare it down again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Check the Other Blog

I just wrote a post over on my other blog about plus size sewing patterns. It belongs here too, but just linking to it will have to do for now. It's not so much about sewing, but just the images used.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


To try to hide the fact I have been afflicted with a bad case of startitis, I'm going to write about the joys of a public library. I finally dropped in last week and got my card. Now, some of you know that I grew up here; however I did not keep my library card valid while we were gone for 12 years, LOL. But the big thing is, 'my' old library was demolished and a new, modern one built. Something more suited for the size of this 'town'.

However, the old library had once been the town offices, and as a result, had a huge parking lot. The new library for some odd reason, has about 20 parking spots. The library was set back from the main road with a big patio area (I'm guessing that would allow for future expansion). While that space is nice for 3 months of the year, right now, it is grey, hard, featureless. Kind of like a parking lot, but without the benefit of being able to park there. There is a municipal lot next door, but it's 50 cents/hour. There is an empty grocery store and plaza a block or two away; guess where I'll be parking.

While I've always been adequately pleased with Orangeville's library, the knitting section is below waist height, down to the floor. Not great for us old bitties that knit. The Whitby's library's knitting section is up high, right down to about knee height. Loads of new books I've wanted to skim through but probably never buy. Some classics. But yesterday, I got positively giddy when I found Cookie A.'s "Sock Innovations" and Interweave Press "Scarf Style". I had already seen "Knitting on the Road" last week. I'm not checking out the sock books because of that startitis affliction right now. I did get a book on machine knitting last week, and this week, "Scarf Style" and a couple books on shawls/ponchos/wraps for inspiration.

While my book budget is now going down, my yarn spending is going up. I've made a few trips to Michaels' to add to my Classic Wool collection, but I'm proud to say, LOL, that I have NOT been to the yarn store in town yet!! I have absolutely NO need to buy new yarn (oh, yeah, I picked up 3 balls of sock yarn and one skein of lace yarn at the Creative Festival....). I will remain strong. Remember when I was in Shelburne weekly for Lucy's speech therapy and I did not go to the wool shop there even once? LOL. I can do this; I did really well the rest of the year in not buying yarn!!