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.



  1. Wow! I guess you HAVE knit a ton of these. Questions: Have you ever used a different fairisle pattern? Also, have you ever felted them? Looks like it would be a good pattern for donations too.

  2. This is the only fairisle pattern I've used but I would think any pattern with the 3 st floats would work. The floats are what gives it the lined properties and 'pulls in' the sts to make it 'cushy'. Never felted them either but worth a try. Everyone loves these slippers and they are so quick and easy to work up, perfect for charity donation.

    1. I made many of these but without the cuffs. Everyone loves the floats for extra cusion. Thanks for resurrecting and updating the pattern into something new and fun!

    2. You're welcome, Dee. Yes, this is a favorite pattern with or without the cuff but most of my recipients prefer the cuff. These slippers are about the only thing I make that I can call the floats a plus. ☺

  3. Could you describe seaming the back and heel a little more? Is this two different seams - one for the heel (horizontal) and one for the back (vertical) or is it one seam all the way up the back that forms the back & heel?

    1. I just added a note to my post that may help explain the back seaming. Sorry I don't have pictures right now but will see if I can find something that will help visualize it. Feel free to get back with me if my instructions need to be made clearer. These are great slippers!!

    2. Thank you so much Slisen. That clears it up perfectly. I've knitted one slipper up to the point of seaming the heel and already have requests from my daughter and her friend to make them slippers. They're making me brownies now to 'butter me up'. I think I'm really going to enjoy this pattern. Thank you for sharing your talents!

    3. Yay! You're in business long as they clean up the kitchen after the brownie baking, ha.

  4. You're welcome. And thank you for your nice comments. I'm glad you're finding some useful tips.