Round Peg In a Square Hole-crafts

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

KnitPicks Slipper Socks--A Review

The promised review of the Knit Picks Slipper Socks pattern. And I apologize in advance for my dreadful photography on this project.

Finished slippers: Women's size 8, Men's size 10

I made one pair of these as a Christmas present (no pics, alas), and two more (links above) as post-Christmas gifts, so I have some experience on which to base this review. Overall, it's a good pattern: no errors that I found, the felting (O.K., technically, it's "fulling", but if you say that, no one but extreme knitters or anal retentives will know what you're talking about) worked as advertised, and I didn't even have much trouble sizing it up to make men's slippers (the directions are only given for women's sizes). I used Knit Pick's Memories yarn, (Red Hat and S'mores colorways) which worked quite well, and didn't cost all that much, considering you needed four hanks for each pair of slippers.

Slippers are worked holding two strands as one, and the resultant, pre-felted slipper is HUGE, REALLY HUGE! Remain calm! It will be fine! Knit up the cuffs in a standard K2-P2 rib pattern, also using two strands. (I even tried the experiment of trying to match the color patches of the yarns, but actually preferred the random-ness, which is saying a lot from me.) You then run the slipper foot only (not the knitted cuff) through the washer (directions are given in the pattern) and you get something much more reasonable and sane. I will say that it took twice through my washer to get results, so don't panic if the first wash doesn't do much. And don't worry if you over-shoot a little; the blocking process after the felting can bring it back up to the right size.

They say to also make and felt an I-cord, and I did do this for the first pair I made, but I ended up not using it, as I used yarn to sew the cuff to the slipper, and the stitches weren't noticeable. For the next two pair, I did not make the I-cord, and sewed the cuff to the slipper with regular sewing thread, as recommended in the pattern; then, I was sort of wishing I had made the I-cord, to cover the stitches, but it didn't look too bad, and wouldn't show at all, if you made these in a solid, rather than a varigated, yarn. In short, decide how you are going to sew the pieces together (I will say that sewing through the felted slipper with a tapestry needle and yarn was HARD, which was why I shifted to the sewing thread on the second and third pair), and only do the I-cord if you are going to use a varigated yarn and sew them together with thread. (BTW, I recommend using 4 or more threads at a time when sewing; this seam is going to take a lot of stess.)

One caveat: if the person who will be wearing these walks on a lot of uncarpeted floors, consider adding a suede sole, or suede sole patches, or even fabric paint to the bottoms of these slippers, as they are quite slick. I think they even sell, in liquid form, that rubber stuff that is on the bottoms of kids jammie feet, but I don't know, off-hand, where to buy it. On carpeted floors, they are fine as-is.

In summary, I was pleased with the results, though I still think that the idea of knitting something AND THEN FELTING IT SO THAT NO ONE CAN TELL IT IS KNITTED is just short of insane, but it does do a good slipper, and I can see why you might want it for a bag. But in that case, why not just felt the yarn or the roving, and save yourself a lot of time? I guess the knitting makes the shape more reliable, and gives you an even thickness to the fabric; it's just not my gig. :-)

The good news is that they arrived safely at their destination, they fit, and the recipients LOVE them. AND they may even get to wear them a little before spring and summer really set in, and they have to be put away until the cool weather returns. Wins all around.

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