Traveling Shoes

Whew! Vacation can really take it out of you! Travel, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed, dealing with people you normally don't spend so much time with, and, in my case, too much exercise - I went downhill skiing. In Colorado. At 12,000 ft. Yikes!! Sore muscles and altitude sickness made for an interesting break from the day-to-day.

Me, in white, and my friend at 12,000 ft.

That being said, vacation is also a great time to knit. Long waits in the airport. Hours on a plane. Evenings in a hotel room (or, this time, a condo with a fireplace!) These are captive times when knitting can really keep one's sanity in check. It has a grounding and calming effect - Cassandra said she read an article that claims that knitting increases some calming element in the brain chemistry. Who knows. Regardless of any science behind it, I love to knit when I travel.

 I had a stroke of luck the week before my trip. A friend called and, in the course of conversation, I discovered that he was planning to buy a pair of slippers. So, I offered to knit (and felt) him a pair as a birthday gift. This particular pattern is the perfect travel project - it's small, relatively easy, requires only six skeins of yarn, and can be done very, very quickly. I've made these slippers about seven times. It was one of the first projects I ever did as a knitter and I'm still wearing the original pair that I made myself nine (or so) years ago. They make an awesome gift.

FiberTrends Felt Clogs
The pattern is by FiberTrends and it's just their basic felt clog. There are some variations in the pattern - you can make them with fancy cuffs or with suede bottoms (which FiberTrends sells, btw.) I just do the standard clog with the double sole and can knock one shoe out in about eight hours or less.

For this particular pair, I dug into my stash and found a lovely tan-colored Cascade 220. I needed a darker color for the sole and ended up finding a great evergreen color that coordinates perfectly. You want a dark sole so that they don't look dirty too quickly. You can (and should) wash and rewash these often, especially if they start to get too loose. Basically, you can "re-felt" them any time you need them to be a little tighter or cleaner. Never put them in the dryer though or they'll end up as Barbie slippers.
Cascade 220 - best felting yarn ever.

My favorite part about knitting something for felting is that you have to knit the item SO big. My friend has large feet so the final pre-felt shoe looks like a clown shoe. It's really hilarious.

So, while these won't be totally finished by my friend's actual birthday next week, they will be done very soon. I want to make another pair quickly and try to needle-felt a pattern on top of the shoes after the machine felting is done and the slippers are dry. Maybe I need to make myself another pair....

Cassandra's size 7 foot next to the unfelted clog

No comments:

Post a Comment