The big reveal – Kelmscott and slippers

Arne & Carlos felted slippers

Arne & Carlos felted slippersIt took two one-hour, gentle washes at 40ᵒC to get these slippers to felt the right amount.  Now they are thicker and a good fit, but I wish they were a little thicker still.  I knitted the medium size, or rather width.  The length is adjusted according to your foot, you only start the toe shaping when the knitted foot reaches to the tip of your toes.  If I make another pair for myself, I’ll try knitting the large width and making them perhaps an inch longer, and then felt them more aggressively.

They started out about 12” long in the foot and shrunk down to 11” after the first spell in the washing machine.  The red edge wasn’t sitting nicely at that stage, something I remedied by sewing it down all the way around with a running stitch, using the last few inches of the red yarn.  The foot length reduced some more in the second wash and is now a perfect size for me.

Arne & Carlos slippersI’m pleased to see that the stranded colour Sanquhar pattern I used is still distinct after the felting process, albeit quite subtle.

I won’t be able to wear these slippers with bare feet because wool makes me itch, especially hairy, British breed wool like this.  Unless I line them with fleece or some other jersey fabric, they will become house shoes to be worn with socks rather than bedroom slippers.   Which is a pity, because my bedroom slippers are in a sorry state with holes in both toes and trodden-down backs – they were a present from a relative who doesn’t know what big feet I have – and are long overdue being sent to slipper heaven.

Kelmscott revealed

Kelmscott cardiganIt’s been a good week for finishing knitting projects.  After two months on the go, my Kelmscott cardigan is completed.  Crocheting up the front bands wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, and I decided in the end that the buttons I’d covered weren’t too large.  I did have to make the button loops bigger to accommodate them though.

The fluffy, mainly-alpaca yarn (Air by Drops) is very warm and I know I’ll be wearing this cardi a lot.  It is both elegant and comfortable, and there aren’t too many garments you can say that about.

The lace fronts and collar are beautiful.  Worth the effort?  I guess so, although I did find all of that lace something of an ordeal.  Lace knitting doesn’t come naturally to me and a 60-row repeat for the front, plus a collar chart that covered three sheets of paper but still needed a magnifying glass, were a challenging combination.  My next garment is going to be simpler.

Talking of which, I’ve been given a pattern for a top-down, all-in-one sweater called Sweatrrr.  It uses a technique for the neckline/shoulder area that the designer calls ziggurat.  It involves a fair bit of zigging and zagging to avoid seams, as far as I can tell, but I can see that the only way to understand the construction properly is to knit it.  It’ll be interesting to compare it with the top-down, all-in-one cardigans I knitted last summer, Stripes Gone Crazy and Titus Adrift.  I’m wondering whether either of these yarns would work for it, or are the colours going to pool?

Araucania botany lace

Araucania botany lace

Knitglobal sock yarn

Knitglobal sock yarn

Even if they don’t actually pool, the sleeves could end up looking totally different from the body, given the disparity in the number of stitches.  It may be a case of suck it and see.

Orange socks

Fish Lips Kiss heel sockThis is going to be my first pair of Fish Lips Kiss socks.  Both the plain and the print yarns are Fabel by Drops.  I’m giving the socks plain toes, heels and ribbing at the top, partly for a bit of variety and partly because I thought it might just enable me to stretch a single 50g ball of the print yarn into a pair of socks.  But that hasn’t worked, I used 30g of print yarn in the first sock.

The plain orange also goes well with the Araucania yarn that is a contender for Sweatrrr, so I need to leave a little of it for the contrast-coloured squares on that design.

I started with a standard toe, but next time around I think I’ll try Tanja Murray’s rounded toe.  I’m making use of the cardboard foot that the Fish Lips Kiss heel pattern advocates.  Sizing the sock according to this cardboard pattern has meant that I’ve only increased to 64 stitches for the foot instead of my usual 72, but I’m working the instep and leg in plain stocking stitch when I would usually rib them.  My last two pairs of ribbed socks in patterned yarn fit well enough, but the patterning is distorted by the ribbing, which is a shame.

Half-knitted sockThe great thing about toe-up socks is you can try them on as you go.  That and the fact that you can adjust the length to suit how much yarn you have left.

But despite trying-ons, the first sock is a little long in the foot.  The cardboard template technique hasn’t worked perfectly for me and I will make the next pair of socks a little shorter.  I think the issue is that the FLK heel lengthens the foot of the sock by the same amount, given the same number of stitches.  The foot of a sock knitted on 64 stitches for someone with a long, thin foot is going to end the same distance – two inches or so – after the heel starts as the foot of a 64 stitch sock knitted for someone with a much shorter foot.  Are all heels for the same width of foot the same length from ankle bone to back of heel?  I don’t know, but somehow I doubt it.

I found this heel very straightforward to knit, and (unusually for me) I didn’t manage to mess it up and have to re-knit it.  It’s quite intuitive, once you get into it.  I didn’t need to make copious notes, and it was a relief not to have to do yarnovers – I can never remember which way they are meant to go when knitting stocking stitch back and forth. I might even remember how to do the second FLK heel without looking at the instructions, beyond a quick re-read of the “boomerang” rows.  I’m really pleased with how it looks, no gaps at all.  It does pull in rather along the mitre line, but I’m confident that blocking will resolve that.  Perhaps I pulled the end stitch of each short row too tight.

FLK heelDoesn’t it look neat?

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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