Slippers for Cousins

Happy Epiphany Day! I can happily report that the last of the officially-associated Christmas knitting was completed as of 11:04 last night. (Okay, so there’s one more Christmas-occasioned project that is unfinished, but it is not required to be Christmas-tied, and the recipient doesn’t know it’s coming, so I’m just going to sneak that one out the side door. I will cheat at my own games.) The parade of Christmas FOs continues:

Despite a serious snafu which meant I had to knit nine little slippers rather than eight, four pairs of slippers for four little boy-cousins were completely done by Christmas night. (This was definitely “on time,” since we didn’t end up seeing them ’till the 30th.) I applied puffy paint while not paying attention to the climax of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And there they sat, drying under the lamp like so many xenomorph pods.

The pattern was from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s first book, Knitting Without Tears, somewhere around page 108. She entitled them “A Good 2-Needle Garter Stitch Slipper, With Cuff.

As an aside, KWT is one of the rare knitting books that is really fun to just read. EZ’s books are all like that, but it’d been a while since I’d read one, since her designs tend to be rather odd, and not all flattering or fashionable in the way that gets you top billing on Ravelry. But EZ marries opinionated trailblazing with tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, in a way that makes her feel very much like the winking grandmother of my generation of knitters. As my own knitting gets ever more practical and classic, and less fussed about the hourglass silhouette, I could see myself turning to her more often.

Being short on time this year, and a little intimidated by knitting four pairs of anything, so the sound of “A Good 2-Needle Garter Stitch Slipper, With Cuff” was quite appealing. I admit to real skepticism about the pointed toe; the oldest boy is getting really close to being old enough to dislike looking ridiculous. But paired with some very dull boy-colors, the comical shape looks almost dashing. Dignified, even. (Maybe that’s stretching it.)

If you choose to make these, do read the bit early in the book about grafting/kitchenering in garter stitch. I assumed I knew what I was doing, and I was wrong. I chanced upon the description while reading through, slippers on needles, so only the last two or three slippers are correctly grafted. I don’t think the boys will care.

I would also say, don’t fuss about gauge. You can more or less measure as you go to make sure the slipper is long enough, and the cuff’s mechanics mean that its relative size to the slipper is pretty unimportant. I could be extra cavalier, too, since I was making four pairs; I just started the first one figuring it would suit one of the three sizes I was making. Oh, and I ended up adding drawstrings right under the base of the cuff, otherwise there was no hope these would stay on active little feet.

Just to give you a frame of reference, though: The 7-month-old’s 5″ long slippers were knit according to the book’s “baby” directions, with 2 strands of worsted weight and US 8s. The 4-year-old twins’ 6.5″ long slippers were knit according to the “adult” directions with bulky yarn on US 10s. The 5-year-old’s 8″ long slippers were adjusted to be bigger than the directions – I cast on 4 extra stitches and picked up 2 extra on the bottom of the cuff. That’s all you have to do to adjust, by the way; cast on more or less cuff stitches in multiples of four (then do some intuitive maths to figure out where your mitered corners will be), then pick up more or less foot stitches from the cuff in proportionate multiples of 2.

That’s so EZ. Brilliant, intuitable, but you have to sort of know what you’re doing to make it work for you. I wish I could write patterns like that! And then deal with the inevitable flood of emails from those who just want a normal written pattern with nice, reliable, precise numbers!

The yarn: For the baby’s pair, I held two strands of Cascade 220. The rest were made from Paton’s Classic Wool Roving, which I had originally bought for a felting project. This airy singles yarn is, admittedly, an odd choice for slippers. My anticipation is that the bottoms will felt very quickly, then be surprisingly sturdy. Though that process may require an extra application of puffy paint at the end. I don’t think they’ll just fall apart… though on reflection, I don’t know why I think that.

The toes are just too much, aren’t they. In a good way.

I’ll throw in a little bonus, since it was such a last-minute thing, and in the same yarn. For his “hat” this year, Jared requested boot toppers. When given a choice of colors from stash, he wanted the same grey as the Patons Classic Wool Roving I was using for the boys. I didn’t have time to knit these for Christmas morning, but I had plenty of grey left to crank them out for our second Christmas on the 29th.

Pretty much just ribbing, with a stirrup inspired by the Churchmouse pattern. I would take a picture of it with the stirrup, which is in the leftover green, but Jared is wearing them constantly. I’m hardly about to fuss at him for that.

As for me? Jared finished last year’s “hat” for me two days before we left town for this Christmas: A pair of ankle warmers from my own handspun. He has promised me a pair of leg warmers, to be received earlier in relation to next Christmas than last year’s gift was to this Christmas. (They last a long time. One can be patient.) In the meantime, I bought myself a new pair of slippers at Lord & Taylors. They are made largely of petroleum derivatives, and they keep my feet warm just fine.

2 thoughts on “Slippers for Cousins

  1. An update from the mother: Boys LOVE their slippers, including the oldest who, thanks to his homeschool status, does not really know what is ridiculous. He just knows what he likes! The slippers have already (at 2 weeks) felted over the puffy paint and have gotten a second coat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s