Xmas crafts Part 1: Slippers Galore!
I made four pairs of slippers for gifts this year - for both my parents and both my in-laws.
Quick and Chunky Slippers:
For my mother and my father-in-law, I made these chunky bootie-type slippers, using bulky weight yarn, using this pattern I discovered and adapted for myself before the holidays. I used the same type of yarn as I had for my own pair of slippers (Loops & Threads Charisma), selecting different colours for each of them. Most of the Charisma yarn is in multi-colour skeins, which makes for really interesting designs on the slippers, with a relatively simple pattern. I chose a Grey, Black and Brown yarn for my Father-in-law, and a lovely earthy yarn in Greens and Browns for my Mum.
Here's how these two pairs of slippers turned out:
Grey, Black and Brown Slippers in Men's size 8 for my Father-in-law
Green and Brown slippers in Women's size 9 for my Mum
For my mother in law, who is often too hot even in the winter, I knew she wouldn't like the thick, chunky slippers. So I made her a pair of Lizzie slippers instead. These come from a great pattern on one of my favourite craft blogs http://goodknits.com
They're just so sweet and stylish and original! One of these days I'll have a chance to make a pair for myself!
An Ill-Fated Project:
I was originally planning to make the same type of Chunky slippers for my dad too, but at the end of November he mentioned that he had worn right through the soles of some slippers that a family friend had knit for him a while ago - so I picked up some of these leather slipper soles (called Boye "Starting Points", found at many craft stores), to make a pair of slippers with really durable soles.
I had picked up the largest size of these soles available, which was labelled "Large - Women's sizes 7-9, Men's sizes 6-8." Since my Dad's feet are size 9.5 or 10, I had a sinking feeling about how this would turn out. However when I measured them against charts I found online of foot length by shoe size, it seemed possible that they might work out afterall - (maybe the manufacturers were off a bit in their sizing...). So I crossed my fingers and made them anyways, hoping for the best.
I intended to find a pattern for them online that I could at least use to get me started. Turns out that the only patterns I could find for these slipper soles was this list - most of which are knitting patterns, and the couple that were crochet patterns didn't appeal to me at all.
Therefore, I had no choice to make up my own pattern. Luckily my friend in Regina has a pair of slippers that she bought (and loves), which are built on soles similar to these ones, so I could at least take a look at hers to get an idea of how to start. It turns out that her slippers actually only used half of the teeny-tiny holes that are punched around the edge, and they clearly cut them to be bigger. I was planning to try using all of the holes, so I clearly had to change my pattern significantly from what had been used for her slippers – unsurprisingly it turned out quite differently. I am quite happy with how the pattern turned out, and I will post it here as soon as I've had a chance to write it out properly.
Unfortunately, while I was working on these slippers I managed to break one of my lovely wooden Harmony crochet hooks (which were a birthday present this year) while using it to try to get the yarn through those tiny holes - arg! Word to the wise - always use a metal hook when dealing with a tiny hole in leather!
Despite my concerns about sizing, and the crochet hook tragedy, here is how they turned out:
Over the next few days I searched online and everywhere I could think of for a larger size of this type of slipper sole, with no success. I finally decided to make another pair of the same Chunky slippers that I'd made for my Mum and Father-in-law, and then sew some sort of fabric or other material to the bottoms to reinforce the soles.
I made tracings of my Dad's feet, and got to work on the slippers. I adjusted the pattern from the largest size I'd made so far (Women's size 9), and luckily my Dad was around while I worked on it, so I could get him to try them on as I worked. After a couple of adjustments, I got the sizing right for the basic slipper. These slippers stretch out quite a bit as your wear them, so I couldn't attach the soles right away, since the slippers weren't the right shape yet. I had him wear them for a few hours to stretch them out, and then I was ready to reinforce the soles.
I was originally going to try some faux suede fabric, but I was concerned that this material wouldn't be flexible/stretchy enough to be comfortable. Then someone at my Saturday stitching group mentioned that she had successfully used this rubberized material (the stuff that you can use under carpets, or to line drawers, or to help open jars) for this same purpose. This sounded like a better solution, so I tracked some down - I found it at a dollar store, though I'm sure lots of other places would have it too.
Then, I used the same tracings to cut out some of the material, cutting it a bit larger than the tracings to allow a bit of flexibility when attaching it, and make it less likely that he'd feel the edge of the soles as he wore the slippers.
With a bit of stretching and fiddling, I got the soles pinned in place, and then stitched them on by hand. I also did some stitching across the middle of the soles so they would stay in place on the bottom of the slipper, rather than getting folded or pinched on the bottom.
Here my dad is modelling his new slippers with their reinforced soles. Looking good!
And here is a shot of my parents and I all wearing our matching finished slippers. Look at all those cozy toes!
After making these slippers for my Dad, I think I may need to add some of that reinforcing material to my slippers, as I'm starting to wear through them too. In fact, it might need to become a regular part of the pattern.
Edit: These slippers (with the non-slip soles) are now available in my etsy shop
Ok, that's it for slippers – more types of xmas gifts are to come in two more posts.