Friday, February 1, 2008

crocheted slippers (and a lesson learned)

slippers, originally uploaded by kelanew.

i crocheted these slippers for my sister-not-quite-in-law (my brother-in-law's long-time girlfriend... there's no convenient term for that, is there?) for christmas. i rather like how they turned out, a bit retro, a little seasonal, not too hokey, and they used up exactly the amount of yarn i had left over in that skein of vanna's choice lion brand yarn (say what you will about acrylic yarn, you have to admit vanna or her people can really pick colors -- that's what drew me in).

but here's the thing: i didn't really use a pattern, and didn't write down what i did. so, even if i like them, i can't ever make them again. oops.

life lesson #8295: write things down. and not on a postage-stamp sized scraps of paper that you found in the bottom of your purse, which you then shove into the pages of one of your craft books and subsequently can't find.

i started with a pattern, but didn't like the choices they were making, so from the very first row i started changing things. then, before long, i wasn't even looking at the pattern anymore and was just winging it. (other than the basic "it looks like a slipper", ultimately no measurements or stitch patterns were kept from the original pattern). knowing that slippers in a pair tend to want to be the same size as each other and look, well, alike, i did jot down random things like "inc 2 each side & 1 bot for 3 rnds then 2 more next 2 rnds". it worked well enough when i made the second slipper the next day and could remember what i did, but wow, that's not terribly helpful not even two months later. what did all that illegible stuff even mean? who made these slippers again? some mildly deranged woman (or talented monkey?) with free access to an (unspecified size) crochet hook but strictly limited access to office products?

so, i'd love to be able to tell you how i made these, but i can't. here's one cool tip i can share, though:

i didn't know her exact size (i knew she was maybe a size or so up from me, but that level of knowledge only takes you so far), so how big to make the slippers? my solution was to err on the side of caution and make them a row or two longer than i thought i might need (the back of the slipper is a straight seam; the last row of sc is folded in half and just stitched together). turns out i was right, and they were just a bit too long, but no matter. i left the pompom unattached until i had her try them on, pinched at the back of her ankle to determine how much needed to be "taken in", then attached the pompom at that point, keeping the slipper pinched together the proper amount. this accomplished two things: i effectively shortened the slipper, and i also added a bit of contouring to the heel area. rather than a straight up-and-down fit along the back, the shape comes in above the heel (at the achilles' tendon), helping the slipper to stay on the foot a bit. to be frank, this trick was the entire motivation for the pompom in the first place -- it creates and also hides the after-the-fact sizing/shaping.

i plan to start using patterns less often and to start "designing" (read: randomly making stuff up as i go along) more often. note to self: start using that notebook you made yourself and write things down!

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