Archive for the ‘felting’ Category

finishing slippers

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Hi Everyone,

As promised, I’ve put together a tutorial on making the Shiraz Slippers from Knitting Everyday Finery.

Let it be said that the slippers are perfectly fine without suede soles or any of the other touches I’ve put on them in this post. My only advice would be to felt them more than once so that they’re really firm. They’ll stay on your feet better that way. You can wash them again and again, with or without the soles, and each time they’ll come out firm and snug. They take quite a beating. While I was writing my book last winter,  I wore them every day around the house, so they’ve been washed several times and each time I’m amazed at how great they look afterwards.

If you’re fainthearted about making the soles, I’ve made a bunch and I’m selling them. Each set includes linen thread. You can buy them here, but if you’re outside NZ it’s best to email me for a less expensive shipping charge.

The soles make the slippers more comfortable, and sturdier. I also added an insole to mine, which I didn’t include in the book version. You can skip the insole, but the addition of a lovely fabric lining gives them a touch of luxury. Besides, you can put to good use those little bits of fabric you can’t bear to part with.

I made these for my friend Ingrid who fell in love with mine and offered to pay me to make some for her (she doesn’t knit), but since she went to the trouble of hand printing a lovely curtain to disguise the untidy shelves in my workspace, I decided to make the slippers for her birthday. Love the barter system!

So, to begin.

You ‘ll need:

• yarn and needles listed on page 79 of Knitting Everyday Finery

• 22 x 22 cm  piece of suede, and same size of lining fabric and iron-on interfacing if desired [I found my suede in the scrap bin at a shop that makes custom leather jackets]

• 3 metres of linen thread

• 24 cm length of  ribbon

• sewing thread  to match lining fabric and ribbon

• hole puncher

Now, the making:

1. The actual knitting takes a very short time. You can comfortably finish a slipper in an evening.

2. Felting: To save water, I’ve taken to putting my slippers in with other things that can tolerate a hot wash [cleaning rags and dog blankets spring to mind]. I find that they need to be felted a few times. Once they’re felted to your satisfaction, give the toes a little stretch and pinch to accentuate the point. It tends to round out a little during the felting.


3. You could can attach the suede pads at this point. Scroll down to #8 to see that process, or hang around here for the fun part, which is to choose a lovely fabric for the insoles. This is the moment when my wanton fabric hoarding is completely justified.Which to choose? My slippers are dark green (Cascade 220 #2446 bronzed green heather).


4. Turn your slippers inside out and make a template for your insoles by drawing around the sole with tracing paper. Cut the fabric with 1.5 cm to spare around the edge. Also cut matching pieces of iron-on interfacing.

5. Iron the interfacing to the WS of the fabric. I stitched the interfacing and fabric together, just a few rows of machine stitching, in a grid pattern. After you do this, iron them again.

6. Sew a loose basting stitch around the edge of the insoles. This will help  to turn the edge.

7. They’re now ready to sew into place. Pin the insoles to the base of the slipper, then hand sew around the edge.

8. Turn your slippers right side out. Now they’re ready for the suede soles.

Trace around the template in the book, then cut our your paper template. Draw around the template on the wrong side of the suede to mark where you’ll cut the leather.

9. Using the smallest size puncher, make your holes 5 mm apart and 5 mm from the edge of the suede.

10. Pin the patches to the underside of the slippers. Sew them in place using blanket stitch. I used wool to stitch my first pair, but I wore them so much, the stitching wore through in places, so now I use linen thread which is much stronger.

11. Last touch (if desired): some ribbon trim for the heels. You’ll need two 12-cm lengths of ribbon. Folding each piece over 1 cm where it meets the sole, pin it in place up the heel, and make a 3 cm turn at the top, with the resulting loop protruding 1 cm above the heel. Sew in place with a matching thread. Voilà! You have a beautiful pair of slippers!

it’s out!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Hi Guys,

Thank you for all the wonderful, detailed comments posted last week. They’re little gems of stories in themselves. I loved reading all of them. There is so much to say about all of our knitting histories. I could read these stories all day. The difference in attitudes between countries, the family histories, all of it makes me wonder if anyone is doing serious study, perhaps a PHD thesis on the sociology of knitting?

Exciting news this week: my book has been released two months early in the USA.


It’s now available on USA Amazon here.

About the three different versions (USA, UK, and NZ): they are all basically the same. The only differences are spellings and the placement of metric vs imperial measurements.

In the next few weeks I’ll be adding pics of the projects, some directly from the book, and others I’ve been having fun with.

Here’s a little preview:

The idea of the book is that hand knits, even simple projects, make everyone feel special and are a knitter’s easy route to real luxury. There are 26 projects, all practical accessories and garments that you can wear any time.

Here’s one of my favourite projects, Shiraz Slippers


They’re made from one hank of Cascade 220 , and they’re an easy knit (in the round). If I’m dawdling it takes me an evening to complete one slipper. I’ve worn them ad infinitum around my house. When they get a bit grungy I wash them, even with the suede soles, for which I’ve included a template in the book. I really recommend the soles. They add a nonslip factor and make the slippers look professional. A friend asked me where I bought mine!


To a pair I made for India I added quilted insoles, made with liberty lawn, quilted on my machine and sewed to the insides. They add a little je-ne-sais-quoi………



I plan to make these for all the girls in my life.

Here’s a couple more images from the book:

July Gloves

Everyday Cardigan



November 30

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

More stunning textiles from the Pacific region.

Remember when I wrote about the fun I had at a tivaevae (Cook Islands appliqué) workshop? Now there’s an exhibit of crochet and embroidery from another south Pacific nation, Tonga.

It’s at Objectspace on Ponsonby Road until December 22. I can’t wait to see it. Judging by these images, it promises to be exquisite.


What have I been making lately?

It’s not often I write about a work in progress but I’ve decided to share this one as it evolves because I’m excited about it and it’s such a simple thing (oh dear, I hope it turns out as I imagine, otherwise I’ll have to fake it).

My niece is getting marred in January, and I wanted to give her something hand knit for her home. She and her fiancé recently moved into a vintage 1960’s house which has wood floors throughout, so I thought a rug might go down well, so to speak. It’s something I’ve wanted to make  for years, big, bold, and felted. Manos Wool Clasica has a fabulous bright red, the colour of passion and prosperity, perfect for newly weds, don’t you think?

Making a rug in one piece would be a hot and cumbersome task, so this one is a collection of large hexagon medallions, easy and fast to make on large needles with the yarn doubled. Medallions are my new favourite construction shape. I used them in the yoke of Paloma.

The fun part is deciding how to configure them. Then comes the stitching together and the felt, felt, felting. If it turns out to be too large for my washing machine, I’ll take it to a commercial laundry and ask them to wash the daylights out of it.

So, what shape?


or circle/flower?