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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Slippery busy-ness

The world can be divided into two types of people.
Those who, like me, think slippers are great.
And those, like my friend Linda who says quite candidly,
"If you are thinking of giving me a gift of slippers...don't"

I don't think I'm that bad - but perhaps I have shown some signs of obsession which could be mistaken for possession. Maybe I talk about slippers more than I realize, a sort of Tourette's of the tootsies.

Could be. I do have a small collection of them.
I do like giving them to people.
And you know, some GUYS really like them and often drop hints that they would like a pair of comfy slippers like *insert aged female relative's name here* made them. Much less stress and trauma than a sweater! Of course, most guys are still not going to wear garish pink and blue slippers but you might be able to venture into a little pattern work or more than one colour that is not a shade of grey. Maybe.

Here are some things that I have learned about slippers. They are:
1) much maligned and often under-appreciated
2) a great source of knitting & creative satisfaction
3) as simple or as complex as you care to make them
4) a great opportunity to practice techniques like pattern work
5) an ideal way to use up left over bits of yarn and elements of your collection (aka stash)
that are languishing due to lack of inspiration.
6) small and portable (like socks - which means they also, alas, carry the curse of the second slipper syndrome)
7) you can often find an appreciative foot to wear them.

After I severely mistreated the Fleece Artist Country Mohair, I felt a little (but really only just a very little) guilty. The yarn is nice. I did buy it for the colours. But the slippers I ended up making with it were, well, kinda crappy. They are in the washing machine right now. Hmm I wonder how they felted this time. Anyway. I kept thinking that there had to be a better way.
I was at Romni Wools buying some Lopi-like yarns to do some repair work on more of Boyfriend's moth eaten sweaters. And when I got the yarns home and put them down, by chance, next to the Country Mohair, they clicked. A navy blue looked GREAT with the wild colours of the CM, and the weights were compatible. Okay, I thought, you two look like you go together, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel. And besides I should be finishing up a baby sweater for my nephew and starting on my twin nieces cardigans AND doing a lot of busy work and email and practicing and detail dribbling and copy writing and translation and basically anything BUT starting another, more or less unnecessary, knitting project. No stumbling around in the dark. I have to find the right pattern or template for this.

It is right under my nose of course. THEY are right under my nose.
Kenan Ozbel's Turkish Sock Patterns, Fancy Feet by Anna Zilboorg and my collection of slippers from Turkey and Bulgaria - if there is not enough information there to lead me in the right direction, I don't know where I'm going to find it.

Here's the first slipper, using the Turcoman's Earring motif from Anna Zilboorg's book. This is on a MUCH larger scale than anything else so rather than several repeats, there is just one.
This is before I ripped it back to the central medallion because I hadn't centered the ankle opening correctly and, after looking at the real slippers, I noticed there were better ways to do the edges. The bottom, pictured below, is more or less the same. I wanted to make the soles as thick and solid as I could. I have made slippers before and worn homemade slippers for years and they will get holes, so the sturdier the sole, the better.

(ooo bad bumper sticker: Slipper knitters are full of sole...)

I have yet to master the art of digital photos that are true to the natural colours - the yarns are more vibrant than appear here.

Since I am only looking to the books & models for Guidance and not a Pattern, I am currently working on getting the second slipper to more or less correspond with the first.
Slight consolation is taken from examining the "real" things and noticing that they are not always precisely, exactly the same. Part of the their charm I daresay.

Best part: the shoe fits the Boyfriend and while at first he said, "Those are pretty wild colours...I don't know B..." After about 5 seconds on his foot he wanted to know when its mate would be done.

Now, I want to see what happened to the original Ex$pn$ive $lipper$. Down to the washing machine.......

PS. the photo at the very top is one of my favorite slippers from the Aegean region of Turkey. The gauge is fine - at least 11 sts to the inch, while what I'm doing is more like 3.5 to the inch. A slipper gallery coming soon!

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