Friday, December 30, 2011

Knit Felt Slippers for Adults

 For a variation on these slippers that does not require cutting the opening, click HERE.

Despite a warmer winter than usual in North Dakota, my feet are cold ~ and the cute store-bought slippers that have sufficed in other years were making my feet sweat. Etsy is full of enticing wool slippers, but they are unfortunately much out of my price range. Not a problem, I can make my own. But the patterns I found for knitted ones do not look like what I had in mind. I wanted warmth for my toes ~ but NOT the ankles. There are a lot of patterns available, but nothing seemed quite what I wanted, so I have developed my own. I like the slippers so well, I made some for my parents, too.

For my mom's slippers, I used 2 strands Lions Brand Fisherman's Wool, Oak Tweed. The flower is made with Nature's Brown in the center and Oatmeal for the petals. Blanket stitching in Nature's Brown.

For my dad's slippers, I used 2 strands Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, Nature's Brown (One 8 oz skein will be enough for one pair, taking the yarn from both ends of the skein.) One strand of the same color for blanket stitching on the cut edges.

My slippers (top picture) were made with Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, one strand of Nature's Brown and one strand of Oak Tweed held together.


2 3.5 oz balls worsted weight wool
Double points and/or 24" circular needle, size 11 Double points recommended for toe. If used on the whole slipper, they should be at minimum 8" long.
Using two strands at once, CO 42 stitches. (for woman's narrow CO 40) [for men's medium or large CO 45] Join, being careful not to twist stitches.
Knit one round. [for men, k 3 rounds]
Knit 24 stitches (22) [26]. Work back and forth on these 24 stitches to create the back of the heel. Work 15 rows stockinette st. (Knit one row, purl one row.) End with a purl row.
Turn Heel:
Slip 1, K13 (11) [15] K2 tog, k1, turn
Slip 1, P5 (5) [7], P2 tog, P1, turn
Slip 1, K6 (6) [8], k2 tog, K1, turn
Slip 1, P7 (7) [9], p2 tog, P1, turn
Continue in this manner until all stitches are used up. End with a purl row. (For narrow sizes, the last decrease row will be a knit row. P1 row before beginning gusset.) There should be 14 (13) [16] stitches on needle.
Make Gusset:
Knit 7 (6) [8]. Place marker, if using circular needles. Switch needles if using double points. K7 (For narrow size, K2 tog, then knit 5). Pick up 10 (10) [11] stitches along side of heel flap. Place marker, or switch needles. Knit across 18 (18) [19] stitches, placing them on one needle, if using double points. Place marker, or switch needles. Pick up 10 (10) [11] stitches along other side of heel flap. Knit 7 (6) [8] stitches.

You are now at the center of the heel. This will be the beginning of your rounds. You should have 17 (16) [19] stitches on each side of heel.
Round 1: Knit to within 2 stitches of marker {or the end of the first needle.} K2 tog. Knit the 18 (18) [19] stitches that form the top of the foot. After next marker, {or at the beginning of the 3rd needle} K2 tog.
Round 2:Knit.
Repeat these 2 rounds 4 (4) [5] more times until there are 12 (11) [13] stitches on each side of heel.

Knit around and around to the desired measurement from the beginning of the gusset {where you picked up stitches.}:
For woman's small: 7" 
For woman's medium: 9"
For woman's large or men's medium: 11"
For man's large: 12"

Decrease for toe. Double points will work best here. If you are using a circular needle, you will have to pull up the cable as you go. In other words, pull out a loop of cable without any stitches on it, so you can reach the stitches on the needle to knit them. {It is a hassle, but it is only after years of knitting that I acquired double points in the larger sizes. If you only do an occasional project of this type, the circular needle will work.}

For women's regular size:
Round 1: *K 5, K2 tog* repeat around.
Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit
Round 3: *K4, K2 tog* repeat around
Round 5: *K3, K2 tog*, repeat around
Round 7: *k2, K2 tog*, repeat around
Round 9: *K1, K2 tog*, repeat around

For women's narrow:
Round 1: K3, K2 tog, *K 5, K2 tog* repeat between * to end of round.
Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit
Round 3: K2, K2tog, *K4, K2 tog* repeat between * to end of round
Round 5: K1, K2tog, *K3, K2 tog* repeat between * to end of round
Round 7: K2tog, *K2, K2 tog* repeat between * to end of round
Round 9: K2 K2tog *K1 K2tog*, repeat between * to end of round

For men's or wide slippers:
Round 1: *K 5, K2 tog* repeat between * around until 3 stitches are left. K1, K2 tog.
Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit
Round 3: *K4, K2 tog* repeat around until 2 stitches are left. K2 tog
Round 5: *K3, K2 tog*, repeat around K last stitch
Round 6: *K2, K2 tog*, repeat around, K last stitch
Round 7: *K1, K2 tog*, repeat around, K last stitch

Cut yarn with long tail. Thread on tapestry needle, and sew through stitches on needle. Pull tightly into a circle and sew up. Weave yarn ends into work.

Make flower to put on woman's slippers. Use one of these patterns, if desired:
Five Petal Flower
Easy Flower

Felting Instructions:
Place items to be felted in a pillow case. Tie shut. I use a rubber band or hair tie. This keeps the wool fuzzies from getting in your washing machine. Set machine to smallest wash setting, hot water, and most vigorous speed. Put pillow case with wool items in the machine along with a heavy piece of cloth to increase the agitation. I use an old drapery panel. Allow to agitate 15 - 40 minutes. The time needed will vary according to your wash machine, the water temperature, and the yarn used. I use two wash cycles, or about 24 minutes.  Do not spin out. Spinning may cause creases in the fabric that can not be gotten out. I leave the machine open, so the spinner will not activate, and cover the machine with a heavy cloth. Pull pillow case out of water. Squeeze out excess water and rinse in cold water. Remove slippers. If they need more shrinking, return them to the pillow case and put them back in the washer. If not, squeeze out the water, stuff with towels and allow to dry. They can be stretched a little, if needed.
(Be sure to pull the fuzzies out of your pillow case before throwing it back in the washer to spin out)

For man's slipper, while still wet, cut a slit down the top of the slipper (approximately 4") and fold the corners down.
Trim the foot opening on woman's slipper at least enough so that a foot can easily slide in. You can make it larger if you want. This can be done when the slipper is dry. Attach flower.
Blanket stitching is optional, but it gives a more finished look.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Song for the Season

Oh, do you believe in my Savior?
You honor the day of His birth,
But have you received His forgiveness,
And seen Him for what He is worth?

He came as a babe in a manger,
And humbly He dwelt among men,
Yet He is the high King of heaven:
In judgement He’s coming again.

He’s righteous and holy and perfect.
His judgements are all of them right.
We fall so far short of His glory,
That all are condemned in His sight.

I beg you to call on His mercy,
Before your short life is all spent.
He’s free with His grace and forgiveness,
And offers a chance to repent.

Don’t cling to your own silly merit;
Don’t cling to your sins or your pride;
But give yourself now to the Savior;
Today for Christ Jesus decide.

Nita Brainard
December 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Berliner Kranser

   I have always loved Berliner kranser. This year for the first time in my life I somehow found the patience to follow the recipe and make them right: refrigerate the dough, use one tablespoon of dough, and patiently roll into a six inch rope.

Grandma Folland's Recipe:

4 egg yolks
4 hard boiled egg yolks
2 cups butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
5 cups flour
pinch nutmeg

Mash hard boiled egg yolks. Mix with butter. Add sugar, then raw yolks and flour. Refrigerate. Roll into rings. Dip in egg whites then in sugar. (I used raw sugar. We used colored sugar when I was growing up.)
Bake at 400 until light brown ~ around 12 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Animal Slippers in Use

This is what children's felted wool slippers may look like after a few months of loving use:

Despite a missing tail and some whiskers, not too bad.

Here are the goofballs with Grandpa:

What a joy it was to see them and their family in November.Lovely pictures of my son and his family are here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hints on Hymnody

   I don't know much about music. But there is a difference between the modern choruses and old fashioned hymn music. Even I can hear it. One of the differences is in the meter. The choruses generally do not have consistent rhythm. The lyrics are not suited for it. They are written in the style of most modern poetry, which may or may not have rhyme, but almost never follows a rhythm pattern. Sometimes the music of a modern song is very pretty, but the words don't line up with it like they do in a good hymn. 

   If you want your poetry to be used as a hymn, it should have a consistent rhythm that fits hymn-style music. There are an infinite number of patterns you can use to have true poetic meter, but there are a few basic ones that are common to hymns. I have a hunch that the reason for this is that these meters best lend themselves to the style of music that sounds like a hymn to us.

   A poem does not have to be written in one of these common meters in order to become a good hymn, but I am suggesting that the writers of lyrics will make it easier for composers to write hymn music that is both beautiful and satisfying to the conservative ear, if they will stick to these and similar patterns.

   If you look in an old hymn book, you may see a code under the title of the hymn. These numbers or letters tell you what meter is used in the hymn. If you write words with the same meter, it can be sung to the same tune.

   There are two aspects to meter:
   1. The number of syllables
   2. The sequence of accented and unaccented syllables.

   The numbers in the code refer to the number of syllables, but the sequence of accents also has to be taken into account.

   There is technical terminology for the sequence of accents, but I am not going to use it  ~ partly because I don't know it, but largely because you probably don't know it either. I think you will understand me better in layman's terms.

Some of the most common meters:

CM (Common Meter 
      This is the meter used in Amazing Grace
     Each verse has four lines. The first and third lines have 8 syllables. The second and fourth have 6. All lines start with an unaccented syllable and alternate every other syllable across the line, ending with an accent. 
      Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing.
          My great redeemer's praise.

CMD (Common Meter Doubled
      As in Faith Is the Victory (excluding chorus)
     This is the same pattern as CM, but with 8 lines to a verse.

LM (Long Meter
     This is the meter used in When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
     Each verse has four lines. Each line has 8 syllables. All lines start with an unaccented syllable and alternate every other syllable across the line, ending with an accent. 
      Lord, speak to me that I may speak.

LMD (Long Meter Doubled
      This is the meter used in Some Day the Silver Cord Will Break
      Same pattern as LM, only with 8 lines to a verse.

SM (Short Meter
     This is the meter used in Blest Be the Tie that Binds
     Each verse has four lines. Lines one, two, and four have 6 syllables. The third line has 8. All lines start with an unaccented syllable and alternate every other syllable across the line, ending with an accent. 
        I hear Thy welcome voice,
        That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
     For cleansing in Thy precious blood 
        That flowed on Calvary.

SMD (Short Meter Doubled)
      As SM, but with 8 lines to a verse.
      As in Arise, My Soul, Arise
     Each verse has six lines. The first four lines have 6 syllables. The last two have 8. All lines start with an unaccented syllable and alternate every other syllable across the line, ending with an accent. 
      What was it, blessed God
      Led Thee to give Thy Son,
      As in Nearer, My God, to Thee
      Each verse has 8 lines. The first four alternate between 6 and 4 syllables. The last four have three lines of 6 syllables and a fourth with 4. Each line begins with an accented syllable. The next 2 syllables are unaccented. In lines with 6 syllables, the line ends with an unaccented syllable. The lines with 4 syllables end in an accent.
    We are but strangers here
       Heav'n is our home.
     Earth is a desert drear
        Heav'n is our home.
     Dangers and sorrows stand
     Round us on ev'ry hand:
     Heav'n is our fatherland
        Heav'n is our home.
      As in My Father Planned It All (excluding chorus)
      Four lines to a verse, alternating between 7 and 6 syllables. Each line starts with an unaccented syllable and alternates every other one. The 7 syllable lines end in an unaccented, and the 6 syllable lines end in an accented syllable.
      As in In Heavenly Love Abiding
      This is like but with 8 lines to a verse.
      In heavenly love abiding, 
        No change my heart shall fear;
      As in Jesus Christ Is Passing By
      Each verse has 4 lines with 7 syllables in each line. The lines start with an accented syllable, and alternate accent, unaccent, every other syllable, ending with an accented syllable.
      Depth of mercy! can there be
      Mercy still reserved for me?
      As in Rock of Ages
     As except that there are 6 lines to each verse.
      As Hark the Herald Angels Sing
      As except that there are 8 lines to each verse.
     As In the Cross of Christ I Glory
     Each verse has 4 lines, alternating between 8 and 7 syllables. All lines start with an accented syllable and alternate every other syllable. The lines with 8 syllables end in an unaccented syllable, and the ones with 7 end in an accent.
      Take me, O my Father, take me!
         Take me, save me, thro' Thy Son
      As except that there are 6 lines in each verse.
      Face to Face with Christ my Savior
      As but with 8 lines in each verse.

8.8.6. D
      There are 6 lines to a verse. The first two have 8 syllables. The third has 6. The fourth and fifth have 8, and the last has 6. The accent pattern is the same as for CM.
      That bright and blessed morn is near
      When He, the Bridegroom, shall appear,
         And call His bride away.
      As in Faith of Our Fathers
      As LM, but with 6 lines per verse.
      As in Sweet By and By (excluding chorus)
      Each verse has 4 lines with 9 syllables in each. Each line alternates two unaccented syllables with one accented, and ends in an unaccented syllable.
      There's a land that is fairer than day.
      As in Cleanse Me
      Four lines to each verse, each having 10 syllables.  All lines start with an unaccented syllable and alternate every other one, ending in an accent.
      Be still my Soul: the Lord is on thy side. (This song has a similar meter, but with 6 lines to a verse, ie.
      As in Come, Ye Disconsolate
      Each verse has 4 lines, alternating in 11 and 10 syllables. All lines start with an accented syllable, then have two unaccented syllables, and continue in the same pattern. The lines with 11 syllables end with an unaccented syllable. The lines with 10 end with an accent.
      Life, life of love pour'd out fragrant and holy!
          Life, 'mid rude thorns of earth, stainless and sweet!
      As in Lord Jesus, I Love Thee
      Each verse has 4 lines with 11 syllables. All lines start with an unaccented syllable followed by an accented and then two unaccented, ending with an accent.
      How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
      Is laid for your faith in His excellent word.
      As in Is Your All on the Altar? (excluding chorus)
      Each verse has four lines, alternating between 12 and 9 syllables. Each line starts with two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable, then two more unaccented, etc., ending in an accent.
            O how happy are they
            Who the Savior obey,
      And have laid up their treasure above!

   As you can see in the last example, a longer line can be split into two without affecting the meter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Easy Knitted FLower

This flower is very quick and easy to make.

Worsted yarn with large needles. (10 -13)
Cast on 7 st. leaving a long tail (6-8 inches)
Knit one row. Purl one row.
Change color.
Row 3: K1, YO across, ending K1.
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Repeat row 3.
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Repeat row 3.
Row 8: Bind off in knitting.

Thread tail from cast on in tapestry needle. Run the needle through the cast on stitches and pull into a circle. Tie off. Sew up the edges of the flower. Weave in yarn ends.


If you felt them, they look like this:

If you make two, one with larger and a second with smaller needles, and layer them, they look like this:

I used size 13 for the red layer, and 10 1/2's for the pink and yellow layer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Poem from Ezra

Trials and Grace
by Ezra Brainard

Some trials grow harder as time goes on,
And long is the wait for the break of dawn.
   But the sun that has set
   Is the sun that will rise,
   And the crown that I’ll get
   Is an infinite prize.

As fire that never will say enough,
Afflictions will burn, and the path is rough.
   But the fire I’ve felt
   Is the fire God sent;
   And the dross that did melt
   Is the purpose He meant.

Sometimes in the night when the storm is strong,
It seems that His promises might be wrong,
   But the trouble I face
   Is a storm from His hand,
   And the wind, by His grace,
   Will obey His command.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Poet's Dilemma

   You have heard of poetic license.  I don't use it to alter the facts.  But when I write a poem, I write my perception of the facts.  I know that my perception may deceive me, but I don't let that trouble me. When I write about events in other people's lives, I may say things that aren't quite so. I might say someone feels such and such, when the fact is, they don't.  That's not the dilemma.

   I consider myself to have poetic licence to write my poems in the first person, even when the events or feelings described in them are not my own.  I don't write fiction. I write what I perceive another person may be feeling. And for effect, especially in poems that deal with deeper emotions, I put the poem in first person and so bring the feelings closer to home.

   It's not that I never use third person, but a glance through my poems reveals that most of them are written in the first person. Many of them, especially my spiritual poems, are the reflection of my own feelings and experiences ~ but not all, and not necessarily from the time that they were written. This then is the dilemma. 

   I have sometimes written a poem for someone else's benefit, but written it as if I myself were going through the trial.  Thus, I have caused some who love me to be concerned and to wonder at me. Too much disclaimer won't do. It is only through knowing the depths of my own heart that I am able to speculate what may be transpiring in someone else's. Poetry is an intimate art, and it isn't possible to write it without exposing some of my heart. Here also is where its usefulness lies. What comes from the heart speaks to the heart.

I want my poetry to speak. And I want to share it with you.  But I don't want you to worry about me ~ especially if I write about struggles you wouldn't expect me to have.