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Slippers for all!

Jan 3, 2014

Since I work at home, my slippers are my work shoes. I wear them all day, (almost) every day. So, I wear them out faster than the average person; I make and buy a lot of slippers!

    
Felted Slippers by Marcy Petrini
I have a few pairs that I really like, and there are some things they have in common. They have thick soles, are tightly felted, and have non-slip bottoms. (True confession: one pair is leather with fleece innards, so they're not felted, obviously, but they fit the other criteria.)

These favorites are a mix of hand-knitted and store-bought, and one more attribute they share is that all of them are made with high-quality wool or leather.

Because I'm a slipper connoisseur, I thought I'd share some tips about knitting my favorite footwear!

Thick Soles

If you're knitting slippers that you're going to felt, make the soles extra thick. Double the yarn, or if the pattern already calls for doubled yarn, add a single strand to make three strands total.

You can also knit two soles and whip stitch them together before felting, but make sure each sole is somewhat thin—you don't want to make them so thick they become ankle-busters! That bit of extra sole will make your slippers last longer; it's so sad when your heel finally wears its way through the sole!

Firmly Felt

I make my slippers a little larger than my size and I felt the heck out of them. After they reach maximum feltness, I put them on while they're still damp and let them mold to my feet.

I know—it sounds icky, and it is a little bit. But it's worth it. I put on a thin pair of socks and put my feet in bread-type plastic bags before I slip on the damp slippers, and a space heater under my desk helps my feet stay warm during this process.

    
Easy Peasy Slippers by Lisa Shroyer
Friday Slippers, by Kristen TenDyke
Quality Yarn

Use good-quality yarn for your slippers. They'll last a lot longer if you do. My favorite felting yarn for slippers is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted or Bulky, and Cascade 220 (not superwash, which won't felt).

I do make some non-felted slippers occasionally. Since non-felted slippers don't last me as long as felted slippers do, I tend to use less expensive, but still good-quality yarn. I made Lisa Shroyer's Easy Peasy Slippers out of Plymouth Encore, doubled. I made them a little longer to account for the doubled yarn. The doubled yarn made them fit a little tighter, too, which I liked.

My sister is the proud owner of these now, and I didn't take a photo before I gave them away. They're not photo-worthy anymore because she's worn them so much!

Non-Skid Soles

Add a leather sole (available at your local yarn shop) to your slippers, or do a little DIY project to make your slippers non-skid.

There are lots of ways to do this, but my favorite is to add DAP (a plumber's caulk) to the bottoms of my slippers. I just squeeze some all over the bottom and spread it out evenly with a putty knife. I let it dry for about 24 hours (sticky side up!), and then they're ready to wear.

I've heard of other methods of skid-proofing that use puff paint that you can get at the craft store. A product called Plasti-Dip is also recommended on some knitting blogs, but I've never tried it. All of the bloggers say to use it in a well-ventilated area, so there's that to consider.

And so ends my tips for hand-made slippers. I hope you can put some of these to use.

We have a fabulous collection of slipper patterns for you, of course! You're sure to find at least one of them tickles your fancy; probably more than one. This collection includes the Easy Peasy Slippers and another of my favorites, the Friday Slippers. I love the style of those, and I think I have some of the yarn in my stash. I might just whip up a pair of Friday Slippers to start off the new year.

Get your Knitted Slipper Collection now, and treat yourself to a new pair of slips!

Cheers,

P.S. Are you a slipper knitter? Share some of your tips with us!


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Comments

on Jan 17, 2014 8:00 AM

I promised the man in my life a pair of knitted slippers for his birthday, and have downloaded roughly 50 patterns.

Regrettably, even designers who say their design is for men, or who claim a range from children to men, seem to consider a man's shoe size of 10 as "as large as it needs to go.".The man in my life would love b'day slippers in 3 weeks, and I've downloaded roughly 50 without luck: he really says "make it a surprise" when I asked to take measurements, so with a shoe size of 13 1/2, I am really working blind.  

He wants something that will keep his feet warm outside on the deck in winter [we are in Australia, not Maine!], and I can only think of:

-using someone's size 10 & adding 20% stitches;

-tripling SWTC Baby Llama;

-using size 8 needles

-saying a prayer w/every stitch.

I have bought every sock and slipper collection, etc; am up to over 100$.  If anyone has an actual, proven pattern tested on a real man's size 12 feet [I'll add one thickness of yarn] and can email it quickly to lil-tiamaria@live.com and pay what you ask.  

Just please respond ASAP: I am disabled and can't knit very quickly any more!

Gratefully yours,

Sylvie

-

Jdesetti wrote
on Jan 6, 2014 6:07 PM

My favorite pattern for slippers is from Fiber Trends -  Felted Clogs (AC33)

by Bev Galeskas. Everyone in my family loves these and requests them. It uses a double strand of worsted weight of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. They last a long time especially if you add the leather sole. Pattern is best for advanced beginner or  intermediate knitter.

on Jan 3, 2014 2:18 PM

A wonderful, low cost or free source for slipper soles are old purses, from your closet or a thrift store, or old leather jackets that have seen their day.  Make a paper pattern by standing on a brown paper bag and tracing around your foot (or the bottom of the slipper/sock, and then sketch another outline around the edge that is about an inch and a quarter, more or less, greater than the foot outline.

Use this pattern to cut out leather from purse sides or jacket sleeves, backs, or front.  Use one side of the pattern for one foot, flip over the pattern for the other foot.  

   Use a leather punch, awl, or ice pick/hammer/block of wood underneath to punch small stitching holes around the edge, about 1/2 inch from the edge all around.   Whip stitch the soles to the slipper bottoms all around.  Reverse direction and make second whip stitch round for extra durability.  

on Jan 3, 2014 1:23 PM

I like to use duct tape on the bottom of my slippers.  It makes them less slippery and they last longer, PLUS the tape wears off at about the time that I want to run the slippers thru the wash to clean and tighten them up.  I just apply new tape when they're dry again.  My current pair has lasted more than twice as long as my old ones because of it!

mykidlets wrote
on Jan 3, 2014 11:52 AM

Plasti-Dip is a rubber coating that is used to dip handles of tools in to make them grippy.  I used it for the soles of the first slippers I knit, but it's cheaper to go to the leather shop in town and get some leather remnants to cut and sew to the bottom of the slippers (make sure to get a leather needle, too!).  The leather lasts way longer, too.  I have used full strength embroidery thread to attach the leather bottoms - maybe there's a thread that works better?

jane millett wrote
on Jan 3, 2014 10:47 AM

I have been knitting and felting slippers for everyone I know.  The least expensive, and seemingly efficient way that I have found to make them skid-free, is by adding the same sole as is used on the feet of baby pjs.  It can be purchased by the yard at some fabric stores.  It is white with little rubber/plastic (?) dots n it.  I just place the sole of the finished slipper on the fabric and trace around it once it has felted.  Then I cut inside the lines and glue the sole to the bottom of the slipper.  It even lasts through washings and it can easily be replaced when it wears out.  

JudyM11 wrote
on Jan 3, 2014 10:42 AM

I have not made slippers yet - but friends that have recommend the non-slip rug products that you can paint on the bottoms. Available at most craft stores in a jar.

mcrochets wrote
on Jan 3, 2014 10:17 AM

While I am not a slipper connoisseur, I make what my friend calls slam dunk slippers.  (Link: stitchwhisper.blogspot.com/.../pixie-slipper-or-slam-dunk.html)  It came from slippers I saw in a store years ago that were knitted loosely in garter stitch using cotton chenille - clearly not made to last!

Thank you for your daily pieces - you always include useful tidbits in addition to promoting you products!

Planky wrote
on Jan 3, 2014 9:18 AM

I use shelf liner (rubbery type)  for soles on my slippers.  It works and does last for a while. When it wears out I cut out another one and sew it on.  Keeps you from slipping.