Wednesday, November 30, 2011

mom sleeps here...and crochet knit slippers

Asleep on my pillow and blanket, waiting for me to come home from work

I have today and tomorrow off, now - to try to continue to get over this cold. Esme still won't keep her blankets on at night *growl*... I might have to make her a sleeping bag type thing. Her sleepers still fit, but she finds them hard to unzip, pull down and pull back up. Last year it wasn't an issue, but happily she has learned to use the potty by herself this year.

I was working more on our queen size quilt last night. It has quite a bit of the way to go - but two sides are bound, the batting is in and half of another side is bound as well. Then I'll need to do some internal line sewing to keep the batting from moving around and give it a good wash before we can use it. It is made of scraps and a cut up sheet for the backing and lots of canvas and heavyweight upholstery fabric for the top. I made it a few years ago but never put the two halves together. In other crafting - I've made a new pair of crochet slippers to wear around the house. It is such an easy pattern I've written it up below for the curious and adventurous.

I have a bid on Ebay for some vintage circus animals. I hope to win it for Esme's
Christmas gift. 'The animals are coming.' ;) We are thankful for her having so few wants as was illustrated during our grocery run today - kids screaming from one side of the store to the other while ours plays 'drums' on the chicken noodle soup cans and the orange juice and is just disappointed but understanding that we will not go look at the toys. We know that can change at any moment... but are thankful for it as it is now. I hope we won't have to go out and do a lot until Friday now...

Crocheted slippers with knit tops:
what to need: "large" crochet hook, size L or so. 2 balls of wool or acrylic yarn, about 1 full skein and one half skein. One set (4 or 5) of size 3 double pointed knitting needles. I have women's size 10 feet.. so you may get out with much less yarn investment ;)

Join a circle of about 10 stitches and crochet an oval round as large as the heel of your foot. To crochet an oval, enter in your increases mostly on the two ends, while crocheting straight on the sides. When the oval is as large as your heel stop and start crocheting back and forth across one side of the oval making increases only in the center of the top of the oval. This will produce a 'fan' out which will create the ball of the sole of the foot. If you wish the slippers to be 'handed' increase more on one side than the other as you approach the toes - and use your foot as a guide to achieve the proper shaping. Don't shortchange yourself - add a bit extra because the stretch in crochet is not as much as in knitting. You should have a shape like this when you are finished.

sole on left, shown 'non' handed, can be right or left
slipper shown from side as well, with joining 'strap' shown between black dots

Once you have a sole, use a needle and thread to close the center of the oval up good with yarn stitches. Then, crochet all around the edge of the entire sole. Crochet up about an inch or so to make the body of the slipper, which is a 'bowl' for your foot to sit inside. Next, we will make the top of the foot.

See the black circles on the drawing, about halfway up the sole on either side, a little back towards the heel side. As you are crocheting around the edge, stop at one of these dots. Now we will straight chain 6 to 10 stitches. Use your foot as a guide to know how big to make this chain, as it will stretch to the other black dot and make the top of your slipper.

Once you have made this chain and joined to the other side, you will no longer be working on the 'heel side' for a while. Stitch around the top of the foot and spiral inwards reducing stitches on the 'toes' area of the foot but trying to keep the chain you just made about the same size for a few rounds - and then reducing finally in a spiral circle all the way to the center. This is a lot easier than it sounds in text. Don't worry about it being 'tight' to your foot yet, as we will add a little bit of knitting for that!

You might want to make a few rounds of crochet all around the edge of the strap and the heel just to get a little more height on it. Then, it is time to break out the double pointed knitting needles. See the ridged striped red area in the drawing? Cast on all of the stitches you can across the strap and all of the heel. Knit a rib by increasing both a knit and a purl stitch (forward and backwards) into every crochet stitch you have picked up. This will double the stitches but the dpns are so much smaller it will even out. Knit this rib pattern up about 2 inches and bind off in a rib bind (k1, p1 as you bind). It will be a great slipper that hugs to your foot but isn't terribly tight!

The actual finished product
I've been using them since they were finished, so there is a lot of cat hair there already...

I used two colors of wool that were left over from a while back. They are KnitPicks highland worsted weight. I was trying to conserve yarn so I stopped somewhere in the top of the foot to make sure I had enough for the other one - and finished up in the other color after doing the knit edging.

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