Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Clogs

Just to keep the slipper love coming, I thought I'd post pics of another gift that'll be on it's way to eastern Washington tomorrow...

This is the Felted Clogs pattern by Bev Galeskas of Fiber Trends (another Washingtonian--go Bev!) Bev is a felting queen and I've seen her a bunch of times on "Knitty Gritty." Last Christmas, I got a yen to knit for everyone and this pattern seemed perfect. I made a pair for my mom (brown and red) and for my dad (blue and green), and then after Christmas, a pair for my husband (black and green).

My brother-in-law is kind of hard to shop for, but he lives in a cold climate in an older house with wood floors, so I thought he'd appreciate wool slippers. My husband loves his and swears they warm up his whole body.

If you haven't made this pattern before, I highly recommend it. Unlike the French Press felted slippers, which I talked about yesterday, these felted clogs require nearly no seaming. It's all short rows.

If you follow the directions exactly, it goes like this:

First, you knit a sole back and forth in garter stitch with short rows. It doesn't look like a sole at all, but more like a filleted fish. Then you change colors, join in the round, and make a foot using a spectacular and lengthy series of short rows. Then you change colors again and knit a cuff in reverse stockinette, binding it off to itself in a neat little hem. Last but not least, you knit ANOTHER sole, pick up stitches around the original sole, and knit them together, making a double-thickness. Knitting a contrast "bumper" is an option at this point, too. Finally, you do a bit of seaming and tacking on the soles, weave in your ends, and felt.

It's one of those knitting experiences, like the Baby Surprise jacket, or turning a heel, where you can't quite visualize the results--you just have to trust the directions, keep track of what row you're on, and wait for the big reveal at the end.

Here are my tips for felted clog success:
  1. Knit both soles at the beginning of each slipper. Leave the spare sole(s) on spare needles until needed. You'll have to slip the spare sole onto your size 13 needle at the end, but that's no big deal. I prefer doing both up front because I just find it's easier to knit two of the same thing in a row rather than getting all the way to the end of the slipper and having to knit another sole. I imagine there are a lot of half-finished clogs out there missing just their second sole...
  2. If you got really efficient, you could knit all four soles (for both slippers, two each) in a row.
  3. The pattern calls for both a 24" and a 16" size 13 needle. I've found that I need only the 24" needle; at least for the womens medium on up, the cuff never gets small enough to need the 16". That saved me quite a bit on an unnecessary 16" needle.
  4. The pattern calls for double-stranded worsted wool, like Paton's Classic or Cascade 220. Upon the advice of my LYS, I've made all mine using single-stranded Lamb's Pride Bulky. The mohair makes them a little fuzzy, but it's nice not having to double-strand, and they felt great. As far as I know, there haven't been any problems with holes.
  5. Buy two skeins of your Lamb's Pride in the sole color, and only one in the foot color. It seems counter-intuitive when you look at the finished slippers, but there's actually a lot more yarn in the sole than the foot because the soles are garter stitch and double-layered.
  6. If you gift these, it's hilarious to give them un-felted. The look on people's faces when they open the package is priceless. Both my mom and dad tried to figure out, politely, what the heck they were, and both tried to put them on as hats. ha! Then, you can felt the slippers with them there to try on as you go.
  7. The slippers are done felting when they feel snug on the bare foot. They do stretch with wear, so err on the side of snugness. If the person really wants to personalize the fit, they can wear them for a few minutes while soaking wet before setting out to dry.
The pattern also comes in a kids' version (same idea, just sized down), which I just bought. Miss E and Mr. D picked out their colors--this time I'm going with the Cascade 220, just to see how double-stranded works out for us. I've told them it'll be after Christmas just so they're not disappointed.

So this means that the only person in my family without a pair is... me!

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