Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Kind of Puzzle

I've always loved puzzles of any kind. Recently I've been doing lots of knitting and when a friend found out that I can knit socks, he brought me this sample slipper and asked if I might be able to make one like it. A knitting puzzle seemed a challenge that might be satisfying to attempt.

I looked the slipper over and seeing that it is similar in many respects to the socks I've been knitting (42 pair of socks knit since last October) told him I thought I might be able to do that. I asked him if I could keep the slipper as a point of reference, and he reluctantly let me keep it after I promised to take very good care of it. (It's old with a lot of sentimental value attached to it.) Searching for a pattern online proved fruitless, so I sat down with the slipper making notes about how I might go about replicating it. How many stitches? What kind of yarn? What size needle? What kind of heel? What is that toe style? These were just a few of the pieces of the puzzle. After much trial and error and a LOT of ripping or frogging, making notes as I went, I finally came up with a reasonable facsimile:

And here they are together.

Now I need to word process up the pattern, make a few little tweaks by knitting it again once or twice. (Pairs, of course, so the time won't be wasted.) I want to get the depth of the foot just a tiny bit narrower. I should be able to accomplish that by either dropping a needle size, or by knitting a couple of stitches together to decrease the number of rows around.

Along the way to solving the puzzle to make my friend some slippers for his mother like the ones made by his grandmother, I learned how to turn a Dutch heel and to finish a modified French toe. There was a lot of satisfaction in solving this slipper knitting puzzle as well as more than a little learning.

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