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.


Elsa said...

Hi Sharon,
I recently started knitting, after resisting for many years with the logic that I have enough sewing projects - that I didn't have time for knitting. I'm almost finished with my first scarf. Actually since I've started, I've done more sewing than before. Now I think that knitting and sewing are complimentary rather than opposing forces.
I like your felted booties and I might have to give them a try.
It is good to see what you and Matt are up to. Your alls blogs are really fun.

T.D. Jones said...

Great pattern on the slippers, just love them. Great work. This winter I'm going to start knitting a pair or two for my slippers collection - over 300 pairs, now, and growing! ;)