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!


smariek said...

I think non-knitters tend to undervalue the hand knit gifts they receive because i is so easy to buy small knitted accessories for real cheap.

Sherri Keil said...

Were you referring to Kris Krafter's
Sweater Scuffs Pattern Cut-N-Sew parrern when you were referring to her Felted clogs?

TracyKM said...

Sherri, Kris didn't post her felted clogs pattern until March 2011; I wrote this post in Nov 09. Since then, Diana Sullivan has also released a good slipper pattern that I also tried out (I wrote a couple posts about Kris's felted clogs too).