I love knitting for my house as much as I love knitting for family and friends. It started back during my Christchurch childhood, when I busied myself making tiny curtains, pillows, bed covers and clothing for the fairies who lived in the shoebox house I made for them and placed down the end of the garden beside the chook house. Those were grateful fairies. They left me notes written in a tiny, delicate hand and pencils engraved with my name. Strange that I never met them. Years after they’d vacated their sodden and sad cardboard version of my ideal suburban paradise, my sister confessed that she had written the letters, but stopped when our parents decided that my fairy fantasy had developed into an obsession (shades of things to come). So they put an abrupt but discreet end to it.
All right, I confess, I’ve always been a homemaker and proud of it.
When David and I moved into our new Auckland home last year, we resolved, after years of living with two Labradors and a decomposed granite garden path, to adopt a no-shoe policy. Although attractive in a Tuscan garden sort of way, DG is destructive because it clings to your shoes and the dog’s paws and finds its way inside to be ground into your precious floors. After more than a year of living shoeless, I now have a love affair with Havaianas, and have to report that it makes a world of difference to the floors. We’re diligent about it, too, taking our shoes off even for a quick return trip to retrieve our forgotten grocery bags. We’ve found that once you start, it’s hard to go back. Friends, family, plumbers and knitters have been surprisingly accommodating, and don’t seem to mind pausing at the door to flick off their footwear. So far shoes have been left outside, or on rainy days, on an unsightly old towel just inside the door. One of these days I’ll find just the right little wooden rack to hold them. For now, this knitted mat will do just fine and adds a touch of humour to the front hall. It’s cotton and washable and could also double as a bath mat. I used a heavy cotton to line it.
I’d not tried Domino Knitting until recently. Vivian Hoxbro’s little book is an excellent tutorial which makes the possibilities seem endless.
Knits From a Painter’s Palette, by Maie Landra of Koigu Wool Designs is also full of inspiration and ideas for variations on this technique and others.
For this mat I’ve alternated garter stitch with mitred squares, although you could make them all mitred. One of the best things about domino knitting is that there is a minimum of sewing involved, as stitches are picked up for each new square.
Three-Green Shoe Mat
Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton; 137m/150yds, 100gm; 1 hank ea, 633-Pickle (A), 607-Lemongrass (B), 604-Aloe(C).
Size 5mm [US8] circular needle
2 stitch markers
1/2 meter of lining fabric.
Cotton thread to match lining.
34cmx75cm [13.5 x29.5]”
In garter stitch, 15 sts and 25 rows per 10cm[4”]
Cast on with B. Knit 1 row.
Work 2 rows garter with A, C, B, A, C, & B.
With A, work 1 row knit, 1 row purl.
Work 2 rows garter st with: B, C, and A, B
With C, work 1 row knit, 1 row purl.
Work 2 rows garter with: A, C, B, and A, C.
With B, work 1 row knit, 1 row purl
Work 2 rows garter with:A,C,B.
With A, work 1 row knit, 1 row purl.
Work 2 rows garter st with C, B, and A.
With C, work 1 row garter. Bind off.
Working in Stripe Pattern, cast on 57 sts.
Note: To make a larger square, cast on any odd number of stitches, placing makers each side of centre stitch. You will need to adjust the number of stitches picked up along straight edges for garter stitch squares.
Knit a row, placing markers as follows:
K28, pm, k1, pm, k to end.
Decrease row: K to 2 sts before marker, ssk, sm, k1, sm, k2tog, k to end.
Knit 1 row.
Repeat these 2 rows until 3 sts remain. Remove markers.
Slip1, k2tog, psso. Leave remaining stitch on a holder. It will be the “centre” stitch on another mitred square.
To make Mat, begin with a Mitred Square, then add to it as illustrated below.
Note: For photo below, a smaller version of the mitred square is shown.
To make garter stitch square, pick up and knit 28 sts along a straight edge of mitred square. Note: for purposes of photo(below), fewer sts are cast on and squares are smaller.
Work stripe pattern.
Pick up and knit 28 sts along another edge. Work stripe pattern.
To make another mitred square, pick up and knit 28 sts along side edge of one garter stitch square, pm, knit stitch from holder, pm, pu and knit 28 sts along side edge of second garter square. Follow pattern for Mitred Square.
Continue in this way, adding garter stitch squares and mitred squares until piece is desired length.
Weave in ends. To line, lay mat on fabric and cut fabric, leaving a 2cm overlap for hem. Turn edges and sew.