Having learned to knit in December 2011, I’d been looking for simple, quick projects to practice on. When I was at Rocking in the Hutt in February 2012 with D, a camping enthusiast, he mentioned he was looking for thick socks to wear in his tent at night. My craft-gift-opportunity alarm went off and I knew instantly that this was a prime knitting opportunity! Slippers!
I spent a lot of time on Ravelry searching for the perfect pattern. The slippers had to come up to the ankle (so many slipper patterns leave the top of the foot bare, why???), but it had to be free, had to be knitted in the flat, and had to be simple. This was my first make after my doll after all!
I searched, favourited, emailed to Mum for review and approval, settled on a pattern, and bought the yarn.
As it was my first solo knit project, mum said she’d knit the pattern through first so that she could give me advice over the phone. So when I bought my yarn (Naturally Naturelle, 100% wool 14 ply and super thick and bouncy) I bought enough for her as well and posted it up. Mum knocked out the first slipper in about 2 hours, rang me up, told me about the typo and told me to go for it.
Knitting solo was tricky. Mum attempted to teach me over the phone how to make one by picking up the bar below, but I got it wrong. Luckily Google came to my rescue.
I also decided to make the slippers bigger, as D has good sized feet and the pattern was for medium. So I guesstimated how much extra to cast on, tried it out, decided it was wrong, frogged it, re-guesstimated, cast on, decided it was good, made up one slipper (yes, just one), was disappointed that none of my other male friends I could easily access had the right size feet to test it out, and posted that lonely slipper up to Mum too. Her partner, SB, had the right sized feet and success! The slipper fitted!
I quickly knitted up the slippers proper and really loved this pattern. The short row shaping creates really cool ridges and makes a fantastic shape, and it is fast and easy to knit. I did make one change – the pattern calls for a garter band at the ankle, but when SB tested it he said it made it tricky to get on an off, so I replaced it with a band of rib.
Once I’d made the slippers, I knew I wanted to make them just a little bit special, as D was about to go overseas to go tramping through Europe. He’s a big fan of the MMORPG Eve so I decided to give them “Eve cred”. I know all RPGs have equipment or apparel you can acquire in the game which gives you more points on a particular attribute, so I contacted my great friend Ares, an Eve addict, and got him to help me out. We settled on Rogue CY-2.5. This piece of equipment, in the game, increases navigation skill, which I thought was appropriate for someone travelling alone with little more than a tent, a laptop, and his wits. Another friend, The Sewhpist, used her fancy sewing machine to machine stitch the letters onto cotton twill tape, and I sewed it onto the heels of the slippers, where they double as little loops to help get the slippers on.
Ares also looked up D’s character and got his character’s address in the Eve world, and provided me with a logo of one of the shops in the game you can buy the equipment from, which I used to make the presentation perfect. I designed a “product insert brochure” which went with the slippers, wrapped in tissue, into a box. I added an address label, a logo, and a seal to the box and it was done! Gamer geek cred slippers!
I gave them to the recipient in May 2012 and they were very well received. I’d call that a win for a knitting project!
Oh and don’t worry – I eventually got around to knitting one more slipper to go up to SB to go with his test slipper. Can’t have the man having one slippered foot!