Monday, September 22, 2008

WIP: Prototype Ballet Slipper

Like I usually do on weekends, I surf Ravelry and other sites for free patterns within my skill level that appeal to me. Now that I basically have top-down basic socks well in hand, I wanted to try other shapes, like Pocketbook Slippers by Lisa Vienneau and Allison Barrett. The pattern is also available here. My feet are small and narrow, and while I haven't actually started that particular pattern, I also wanted to learn knitting toe-up basic socks.

The toe-up pattern here is a mishmash of things I've learned, which I wrote to fit my own foot. While I haven't done things scientifically (as in specifically write steps down row by row as I knit them, counting and all -- I only have a shorthand index card) I can at this point give you a basic outline if you want to modify something for your own foot.

Pattern Outline:

1) Magic cast-on from Knitty, using an 80cm circular needle.

2) Toe increases.

3) About an inch of stockinette rounds from toe increases. Or your preferred shoe entry depth.

4) Divide instep stitches into 3. Knit first third with first dpn, bind off middle third, knit last third with next dpn, place heel stitches on last dpn. Dpn 4 is the working needle.

5) For instep stitches, your selvedge will always begin with a slip 1, whether knitting or purling. Knit or purl heel as usual.

6) As you work try on the slipper. Slipper body should reach up to an inch before your heel ends. Leave stitches on instep dpns unworked.

7) Round heel shaping as usual.

8) Heel flap either plain or reinforced depending on your preference (not a very deep one for my foot).

9) When it's time to join the instep stitches to the heel flap, you will notice a gap that forms between the heel flap and the instep stitches. To address that, knit together (or skp) the last stitch on the heel flap and the first stitch on the instep needles nearest. Knit 1. Turn. Knit across and do the same thing on the other side (instead of skp, p2tog). Purl 1. Turn. And so on. Just keep doing this until you knit the last of the instep stitches and are working with only 2 needles instead of 4.

10) Bind off back of slipper. Instead of cutting the yarn, do a single crochet beginning from the last bind off loop. The single crochet will go around the selvedge of the slipper.

11) Use bright contrasting yarn, add details. Present crochet chain is 18". If you want it to go around the ankles, I suggest you crochet 30".

This slipper is made up of exactly one small ball of choco brown Red Heart worsted weight acrylic yarn, plus some contrast color for decor. It took me just under 4 hours. I had to knit AND unravel AND write shorthand, and do finishing carefully. Maybe less if I memorized it already.

Notes: For my foot cast on should be about 10+10 stitches on a circular. This one is 12+12, which makes for a wide square toe. Body stitches follow a 20 instep +20 heel total.

Rewriting as I blog before the lunch break. Will do the other slipper tonight after dinner. With the 30" chain to go around the ankle. Joy wants to wear it at the Little Gym when she plays with Lilo. Just to feel like Gymnast Mommy. As for Lilo, I still have to trace her foot. Hers will be a princessy pink.

I want to try the same thing with mercerized cotton, possibly 3 strands together. So excited!


Running Knitter said...

Love the slipper. So cute!

The Gravelcat said...

Thanks, RK :) Glad someone likes them... am toying with the idea of sewing a non-skid rubbery material underneath to prevent slipping on waxed wooden floors. Otherwise they make great bed slippers!

The Gravelcat said...

Important note: The cast-on should be 8+8 stitches. Even the 10+10 has funny corners when you start increasing.