Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Striped Felted Slippers

When I started knitting again last year, I was resorting to 20-year old stash, and had the '80s colors to prove it. I decided to make my mom some felted slippers from Robin Smith's Felted Slippers pattern on Angel Hair Yarn. Fortunately, my feet are the same size as Mom's. She loves the slippers - says they fit well and are just the right warmth. I did induce her to add some dots of squishy fabric paint to the bottom so they wouldn't be too slippery on her wood floors.

I didn't take a picture of the swatch before felting, but here are the slippers themselves - the athletic sock colors had me worried. Fortunately, as you can see from the first picture, the migration of the black during felting mellowed the colors out a lot.

I was tempted to do the slippers in reverse stockinette, because the back of the swatch looked so interesting after felting.

As is often the case, the white didn't felt quite as well as the other colors, but it wasn't a problem since it was only an accent.

Pattern: Felted Slippers by Robin Smith at Angel Hair Yarn
Size: women's 8 1/2 (10" long after felting)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Onyx (M5), Creme (M10), and Antique Mauve (M85); Reynolds Lopi (I think) in teal; used about 110 yards total
Needles: size 11
Gauge: before felting, 2.9 stitches per inch and 4 rows per inch; after felting, stitch gauge shrank to 89% of original and row gauge to 77% (not obsessive at all, nope)
Felting: in my top-loader it took 3 1/2 washes plus a rinse and spin

  • stripes! although another time I don't think I would do single rows of such a high contrast color as the white - I prefer the effect of solid bands of colors to a row of Vs

  • cast on fewer stitches than instructed to have a lower heel and increased just before where the top got sewed together

Calculating size (the math squeamish should skip this):

  • My foot is 10" long. Dividing by 77% yields 13" pre-felted length. At 4 rows per inch, that's 52 rows.

  • My ankle is 8.5". Ten inches seemed like a reasonable foot opening. Dividing by 77% yields 13" pre-felted. Divide by 2, since half of opening is formed by each side of the fabric. 6.5" at 4 rows per inch is 26 rows.

  • Although the pattern suggests that 32 stitches would be a good final width, that didn't seem quite wide enough to me. 34 stitches at 2.9 stitches per inch is 11.7". Multiplying by 89% for felting yields 10.4" which seemed about right for my 8.5" mid-foot circumference.

Cast on 28 stitches. Knit in stockinette stitch as follows. (Note: do not carry the yarn from stripe to stripe on the first 26 rows, as those edges will be exposed.)
Rows 1-2: mauve
Row 3: black
4-5: white
6-8: teal
9-12: black
13: white
14-16: black
17-19: teal
20-23: black
24: white
25: white (increase 1 near each end; 30 st)
26-27: teal (increase 1 near each end in both rows; 34 st)
28: black (now it's okay to start carrying your colors, but it's probably better not to, as the sewing up looks better if each stripe is done in its own color)
29: white
30-31: teal
32-35: black
36-38: teal
39-41: black
42: white
43: teal
44-45: black
46: white
47: black
48: mauve; start of toe shaping [k2,k2tog] across row
49: mauve; purl
50: mauve; [kl,k2tog] across row
51: mauve; purl
52: mauve; [k2tog] across row
Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight

Here's what it looks like at this point.


  • Fold the cast-on edge, and sew up the heel seam. Here's what it looks like.

  • Seam from row 27-52. Pattern suggests whipstitch for top of slipper, which is what I did. Since it will be felted, it doesn't need to be beautiful, but I do wish I had changed the color of the sewing-up yarn with each stripe. The black that I used ended up showing just a little bit.

  • Weave in ends and ends and ends.

  • Felt using the same method and timing you used on your swatch.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

La Luna es Una Flor Linda

Talk about high pressure photography. Next total lunar eclipse isn't for three years. After a quick consult with dad the photographer and a wide array of exposures (1/25 to 10 seconds), we came up with something decent, although not until the eclipse was just going out of total. I think the white dot on the left is Saturn. Click the picture for a larger image.

And yes, I know the moon isn't technically a beautiful flower, but Matt taught me to love See and Say It In Spanish more for the cadence than the meaning. Besides, it's at least as good as green cheese or rabbit making mochi.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Garterlac Dischloth

A more mundane finished object than the Shetland Triangle, and less well executed (if you click on the picture, you can see I got a little creative in the upper right-hand corner), but pleasing nonetheless. It makes an excellent facecloth.

Pattern: Criminy Jickets' Garterlac Dischloth
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream, Country Side Ombre (color 02235); nearly all of one skein; the color in the picture is fairly accurate
Needles: size 7 (probably) Denise; I seem to knit more loosely on the plastic Denise than on metal needles, which is more comfortable when using cotton
Gauge: who cares, it's a washcloth!
Size: about 9 inches square; this is larger than the pattern because I decided to add an extra repeat
Comments: I couldn't honestly tell you if the "creativity" in my facecloth was my fault or a pattern error. I tend to follow the directions meticulously until I think I know what's going on, and then ignore them, in faith that the knitting will tell me what to do. If you are new to entrelac I highly recommend that you pay more attention to his pictorial tutorial than I did. (And how on earth did he get his sides so straight? I even blocked, and this was the best I could get.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shetland Triangle

There has been lots of knitting since last July, but no blogging due to Adoption Related Trauma or ART (not the same as art). I hope to post more soon and yes, we're still looking.

This is my first lace project of any size, after cutting my teeth on Branching Out. It makes an excellent beginner piece. I had to tink a lot until my hands got the rhythm, but after that it was smooth sailing without being boring (until the end). I used Silky Wool because I wanted a slightly larger shawl. At first I thought the color was very elegant and restrained. About 2/3 of the way through, I was sick and tired of the baggy brown thing. Now that it's finished and blocked, I'm back with elegant and restrained.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark from Wrap Style; lace pattern is Fir Cone
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Oatmeal (color 41); used 2 skeins (at 190 yards each), plus about 30 yards of a third skein
Needles: size 7 Addi Lace Turbos, 32" (the lace needles were a nice luxury, but not essential) ; bound off with size 8 needle, using lace bindoff
Gauge: 20 st x 26 rows in stockinette
Blocked size: about 60 inch wingspan, and 26 or so inches long

I'm including a before-blocking shot because I think the ripples are so cool. (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

I didn't quite think through the blocking process. After soaking the shawl and squeezing it out, I took it to the blocking board and found it was t00 big to block. The bed wasn't an option because it was nearly bed time. So I scratched my head and came up with this - propped the board up and draped the shawl over either side. The back side of the board is not nearly as easy to stick pins in, but it served the purpose.