June 29, 2011

soft feet slippers: a tutorial

When Briton was two, we lived in a teeny tiny apartment in an old brick Georgian townhouse above the most patient couple in the world. Orlaith (pronounced Orla, like Orla Kiely, but spelled differently) and Dave endured living under the tantrums, dropped toys and stomping feet that come along with having a toddler and never complained a bit. But because I knew that Dave was studying day and night to become a Barrister and because, well, I really didn't want our whole building to end up hating us, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to teach my toddler to be a little bit quieter, especially in the evenings.

"Soft feet! Soft feet!" I would chant to him when he barged into a room (and when I say "a" room I mean one of the two rooms that made up our apartment, I'm telling you, thinking back on that place makes our current living quarters seem absolutely palatial.) "Soft feet B!"

It was kind of a loosing battle. I mean. He was two. But by the time we left, at almost four, he had gotten pretty good at walking softly.

A skill that he has totally forgotten.

The good news about our building here is that the powers that be at Columbia have put all the families with small children one right on top of one another. So while I know that the people below us can hear our kids running down the hall every morning, I also know they don't care, because their kids are running down their hall. And the little boy who lives above us is running down his hall. It's a long hall in a small apartment, it practically begs to be run down many, many times a day. Never the less, I'm still trying to re-introduce the "Soft Feet" habit. But where that earlier apartment had carpet to deaden the sound a bit, here we have only hard woods (and trust me, I'm thankful for that, I hate carpet, but a long hall with no rug can make for a pretty noisy spot in the house) In an attempt to help with this issue and also as a part of the whole, no shoes in the house thing we are currently enforcing, I made some simple slippers for everyone (except me, because a) I know how to walk softly, b) I have awesome slippers and c) I can barely force myself to wear flip flops in the summer. I hate having things on my feet unless I'm freezing, so I go barefoot)
Although Will also knows how to walk softly, he does like slippers anytime of year. Because I'm still feeling bad about the slipper malfunction of 2010 and the new pair I had almost finished to make up for that unfortunate event were among the lost knitting projects of the move, I started with his. I couldn't quite find a pattern I liked. I knew I wanted to use a large yarn so that they would knit up fast and I'd been looking for an excuse to buy myself something from here. I liked this image I found of a pair of kids slippers but I wanted to knit them, so in the end I (for once in my life) figured out the gauge of my knitting and used it to figure out my own pattern. I usually HATE to knit test swatches, so this was a very big step for me. What can I say, I'm maturing.

These are pretty much the simplest thing you can knit, next to a scarf, so if you are new to knitting, don't be intimidated. The only remotely difficult thing is adding stitches to the end of a row which is really just knitting without removing the last stitch. There is an excellent video on how to do it here if you've never done it before (or need a reminder, like me)

Soft Feet Wrap Slippers

Gauge: 3 1/2 sts per inch
Needles: Size 11 circular needles
Yarn: Bulky weight - yardage varies. The small ones take about 60 yards, the medium about 100 and the larger about 120.

Sizes S - child M - large child/small adult L - adult - If you, like me, need to knit a huge pair for some size 13 feet or some other size, let me know and I'll pass on the formula for figuring out what size you need.


Cast on 7 (9, 11) sts. Work sole in garter stitch for 6 1/2 (8, 10) inches.

Row 1: At the end of the last garter stitch row, cast on an additional 18 (24, 30) sts. Turn. 25(33,41) sts
Row 2: Knit to the end of the row then add 18 (24, 30) sts to the other side of the sole. Turn. 43(57,71) sts
Row 3: Purl Across
Row 4:Knit Across
Repeat these last two rows 3 (4, 5) times. Purl one more row.
Switch to a contrasting color. Knit across one row and then cast off while you purl the final row.

(Sorry for the dark photo here, I was seaming at night)
Fold one of the sides down to meet the toe. Starting 1/4 of the way up the side with the contrasting edge, seam down to the toe, across the toe and then all the way up to the heel. Fold the other side over to meet the toe and repeat the process for the opposite edges.