Friday, July 12, 2013

Fairisle Checkerboard Slippers

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Have you ever knit something that soon became one of your favorite ‘go-to’ patterns?  This slipper is one of those.   I don’t even remember where I got the original pattern from but it’s been around for a long, long time.  The original didn’t have a cuff but everyone likes the cuff so well that it’s all I knit anymore.  The fairisle floats make a nice double layered fabric for warmth and a longer wearing sole.  

They can be made on any machine and with any yarn but easiest knit with a punch card or electronic machine.  However they can be made on a manual machine by pulling needles.  Refer to your machine user's manual for instructions.

My pattern is designed for a woman’s size 8 or thereabouts, and knit on a bulky machine with worsted weight acrylic yarns.  I’ve made many pair for the grandkiddies on my midgauge machine with a lighter weight worsted, such as Caron Simply Soft.  Imagine how nice they’d be made with a superwash wool or wool blend.  If you know the approximate foot length, you can make a pair of these slippers to fit any foot.  They don’t need the precise fit that socks require so they’re somewhat size forgiving.

Use your imagination and combine some crazy yarns for a colorful slipper.  Or use colors of your favorite sports team.  (Note the pair with the Green Bay Packers green and gold.)

Fits size 8 Woman’s  (for approximately a 10” long foot)
Machine:  Bulky with ribber
Yarn:  Any worsted (4 oz main color, 2 oz contrasting color)
Gauge:  Unimportant

1.   T4, with WY and ravel cord, CO 44 sts (multiples of 6 + 2 to keep in checkerboard pattern)
2.   e-wrap (with 1 yarn). 
3.   K1R across. 
4.   RC 000, set fairisle card for patterning.
Note:  Pull out end needle on carriage side each row to catch the floats.
5.   K48R.
6.   Take machine off Fairisle and return to Stockinette.
7.   Cut CC yarn and K1R.
8.   Transfer EOS to its neighbor and move stitches together.
9.   K2R.
10. Gather up toe and secure, mattress stitch front seam.  Leave 4” opening (5 blocks of color).
11. If not adding ribbed cuff, sew back and heel together.  If adding ribbed cuff, do not sew up back and heel until after the cuff is knit.

1.   Hang top edge of slipper, with wrong side facing.  Pick up both loops of 46 stitches.
2.   K1R from L to R. (T4 on SK860).
3.   Transfer EOS to main ribber bed.   
4.   T0, Work 1x1 rib for 29 rows.  (35R at T5 on SK860)
5.   Transfer ribber stitches to main bed.  Back stitch bind off.
6.   Seam ribbing with a Bickford st from the wrong side.  From the inside, blanket st thru both loops of both layers on the back and heel by forming a ‘T’ shape for heel.

There is a very good foot size chart at  to give you a starting point for sizes other than my pattern.  

Kids’ feet are as unique and as varied as adult’s.  Some are narrow, some are chubby so it’s quite hard to declare a standard size.  But below is what I knit for some of our grandkids a few years ago, all with different configuration of feet.  These were knit with one strand of worsted weight yarn and one strand of Caron Simply Soft (a lighter worsted).  The ribbing was knit at T4 with Caron Simply Soft on my midgauge SK860 machine and ribber.

Sz           CO          # of Rows            Sts to P/U            # of Rows
                                                          For Ribbing              
9”           42           43                          45                          35
8”           37           40                          39                          31
7”           32           32                          35                          27
5”           29           26                          29                          23
NOTE:  To seam the back into a ‘T’ shape, I start from the top of the back and with a blanket stitch, seam the back edges together to within about 2/3 of the way toward the heel.  You can adjust the height of the back heel by leaving a bigger or smaller open area here.  Then I ‘flatten’ the remaining fabric from the middle of the fold, pushing it toward the seam to make a ‘T’.  Then I catch the middle stitch at the fold line and secure it to the already sewn seam with a blanket stitch just for a bit of added stability.  Then blanket stitch toward one end of the heel and fasten off.  Don’t cut the yarn but invisibly run it thru the seam already done toward the other heel end.  When you get to the middle blanket stitch, again close the other end of the heel with a blanket stitch.  Fasten off and hide yarn tail.  This picture shows the seam, in a different pair of slippers, but it'll give you a good idea how the 'T' is formed.