Second verse, same as the first

I feel like there should be some way to make ‘and then do it all again’ more interesting than it is.

Now mind you, I haven’t found that way.  But I do think there should be one.

So let’s all just sort of communally agree to nod along and pretend that knitting slipper (or sock…or mitt) number two posed all sorts of unexpected challenges and perplexing developments.

Or we could just sort of revel in something going smoothly and easily and maybe admit that not every bit of knitting needs to be a breathless tale of death defying adventure.

Sometimes it can just be really pretty and mellow and that’s just what it should be!

This part’s quick

Once these join up, they zip right along.  I’m not sure why I knit faster in the round, but somehow I really really do.

This brings up a handy opportunity to be obnoxiously preachy (what fun, I’m sure you’re thrilled!).  Lots of folks get a different gauge when they knit in the round than when they knit flat.  The only way to know for sure if you do is…you guessed it…to swatch.  Swatch both in the round and flat.  Which I know is not what you want to hear.  But on projects like this where you knit both flat and in the round, it’s safest to double check.

Once you know if you do, you can switch needles if you need to.  For me, my knitting is a tiny bit tighter in the round than flat.  It’s not usually enough to make me switch needles, but if it were something with a lot of stitches and pretty tight size tolerance, like say a sweater, I probably would.  For the slippers I’m not, but it’s better to know than to be surprised!

Like a weed

Now you it’s time to basically sit back and watch this grow.  The sides and bottom of the slipper sort of grow out of the bit on the back.

There’s a stage there in the middle where it looks a little menacing (lots of needles because the fabric is U-shaped, even though you’re knitting flat…if you were less stubborn than me and used circular needles it would be less prickly at this stage).

But after a while things calm down and you just knit and knit and knit until the slipper gets close to where you want it to join up on the top of your foot, at which point you sneak in a few decrease.

Now, for the big footed among us (raises hand…me…that’s totally me), this may take a bit longer than you’d like.  But it will eventually happen.

A Little Loopy

Sometimes it’s the tiniest little details that get something started.  I’ve been wanting some slippers with a little loop on the back for, well, for an awfully long time now.

So it was time to finally make that happen.  I did a bit of planning and fiddling and got everything all sorted out in my head.  I knew exactly how this was going to come together.

And, as is so often the case, once I figured out how something will work, I sort of feel like I’ve solved the puzzle and then don’t necessarily care about actually doing the thing.  (Tell me I’m not alone…someone out there right now has to have figured out the perfect solution to that one thing that’s irritating the snot out of them…and then failed to actually implement the solution, right?  I’m not the only one?)

So there was a shamefully long pause between ‘hmmm, yes, that should work perfectly’ and actually casting on.

But now it’s on the needles, and oh my it’s going to be lovely when it’s done!



Behold…an actual slipper

So first came a few decreases.

Then everything got all joined up.

And then it really started looking properly slipper-like!

Now I just have to remind myself (firmly) that my foot is a wee bit longer than the foot form and do one more repeat than I think I need to, and we should be done.  And really, the toes on these are going to be unspeakably adorable.  Promise.

Oh, and this seems like a good post to point out that the blog happens on a bit of a time delay (one post is often a few days of knitting).  If you want these updates in something closer to real time (because I’m sure you’re sitting up nights wondering what I’m up to…), you can always follow me on instagram.  Things tend to go up a little sooner there!


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Round and round or back and forth

So the way these slippers go together, you work flat for a while and then you work in the round (they’re built a lot like Quiescent if you played with those).  And whenever you go from working flat to working in the round, you need to pay a bit of attention.

The first thing to watch is your gauge.  Many people have a different gauge in one or the other, and you’ll want to do what you can to make it match.  (How do you know if you do?  Your swatch…it’s always your swatch!)  That can mean using a different size needle, or even using the same size but a different material/shape.  Like for me, I get a slightly tighter gauge on square needles than on round ones, and a slightly tighter gauge on wooden needles than on metal ones.  And I knit a tiny bit tighter when I’m working in the round than when I’m working flat.  So if it were a problem for a given project, I might switch from square needles to round ones or from wooden needles to metal ones when I move from flat to in the round to keep my gauge consistent.

The other thing to watch is your yarn, especially with multi color yarn.  And this is more of a ‘gee, yarn is nifty’ than a ‘watch out for it and correct for it’ sort of thing.  But take a look at how the colors on the yarn look in the top and bottom part of the slipper.

The top two thirds or so is was where I was knitting flat.  The bottom third or so is where I was knitting in the round.  It’s subtle (and shockingly hard to photograph), but look at how the colors sort of stack up in blocks on the top part and are more blended together on the bottom part (you can also see how much more even my knitting is when I’m working in the round, but hat will block out).

The color change is because of how the colors in the yarn stack up when you’re folding the yarn back and forth, row after row versus how they stack up when you’re spinning it in a spiral as you work round after round.  And it’s totally not a problem here (and it’s not at all something wrong with the yarn…that’s just how yarn/knitting works).  But it is something to be aware of so you’re not surprised by it (it can do funny things on like a sock heel or on a sweater when you divide for the arms).

Plus it gives us an excuse to stare at that gorgeous yarn (Opulence DK from String Theory in Tourmaline, if you missed it before and are wondering)!

Leaves are sneaky

Leaf patterns are sneaky.  Usually (not always of course, knitting offers very few cases of always) leaf patterns have you closing off the last leaf at the same time you’re starting up the next one.  That means when you’ve knit one repeat, you have two half leaves…and absolutely zero whole leaves.  It also means it looks like nothing much to write home about…

It’s not until you finish the second repeat of the stitch pattern that you actually have one whole leaf.

And it’s often not until you’ve done two or three more repeats that you can really start to see what’s going on.

All of which is a long way to say, don’t worry if your leaf pattern looks a bit indistinct at first…give it a a few repeats before you expect it to really shine! But you totally did a few repeats on your swatch, right?  So you weren’t worried…


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Well heeled

So the heel flap is done (this one is taller than usual, a full 56 rows, because I wanted the slipper to come up a bit higher on my ankle).

And the heel turn is done…and reminding me of nothing so much as a tiny pirate flag at the moment.

But I’m sure that’s just the yarn fumes talking!

Next I pick up a bunch of stitches and start doing the fancy bit…and then at some point not too long from now, it will actually start looking like a slipper.

Slipper, reincarnated

So when last we left the slipper, he was languishing after a bit of a rip.  I put him in time out to see if I was going to pick back up or try the same general idea with a different yarn.

And somehow while he was in time out, this skein kept coming to the top of the stash.  Funny how that happens sometimes.

And then?  Well then this happened and I think we’re pretty much done for.

The yarn is Opulence DK by String Theory in the color Tourmaline.  And yes, yes it does change color from picture to picture (it changes color in real life if the sun goes behind a cloud, so I’m not surprised).  The yarn sits in some indefinable spot between blue and purple and turquoise, and it’s never going to look the same from one round of pictures to the next, so we’ll just have to resign ourselves to the mysteries of the yarn.  I think we’re up for the task.

At least my feet will be warm…

I’m absolutely positively convinced that warm feet make all the difference on cold days.  And you all know I have a slew of wool socks (perks of the trade…).  But sometimes you want an extra layer, and that’s where the slippers come in.  I’ve been rocking the slippers over socks thing the last few mornings (what can I say, it’s chilly…) and found that I wanted some taller ones.  So these are going to come up all the way over my ankles.

And they’re out of seriously thick yarn (Malabrigo’s Twist in the color Zinc) knit just as tight as I can make it.

And yes, they will look like crumpled moth wings until I get them blocked.  But I’m quite confident they’ll be lovely when I’m done.  Just hang in there with me and we’ll get it sorted out.

Lovely and warm…we mustn’t forget warm…