Sunday, March 16, 2014

Variation on the Felt Slippers

When I tried to make my felt slippers by memory, I happened upon a variation that doesn't require cutting after the felting. It still leaves the ankle free, but comes up higher in the front.

You cast on 6 extra stitches. Then after you work the heel, you decrease 5 of those stitches across the instep when you do your second decrease along the side stitches of the gusset. Decrease the last stitch on the last decrease row of the gusset. Here are the modified instructions:


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 48 stitches. (for woman's narrow CO 46) [for men's medium or large CO 51] 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 24 (24) [25] 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 24 (24) [25] stitches that form the top of the foot. After next marker, {or at the beginning of the 3rd needle} K2 tog.
Round 2:Knit.
Round 3: Knit to within 2 stitches of marker {or the end of the first needle.} K2 tog. Knit the stitches that form the top of the foot, decreasing 5 stitches over the course of the 24 (24) [25] stitches {19 (19) [20] stitches remaining.} After next marker, {or at the beginning of the 3rd needle} K2 tog.
Round 4: Knit

Repeat Round 1 then Round 2, 3 (3) [4] more times until there are 12 (11) [13] stitches on each side of heel. On the last round, decrease one stitch in the center of the instep. You will now have 42 (40) [44] stitches total. From here the pattern is the same as the original slipper pattern. 

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)

These slippers were left in the washer through the spin cycle, and you can see a crease across one of them. This cannot be removed, and it is the reason for NOT spinning felted items. 


  1. Is 7 oz. sufficient for the men's slippers, or should I plan on 8 oz.? I was a little unclear on that.

    I thought I'd make these for myself, and if I like how they come out, offer to make them for my husband and son. I didn't even have a chance to buy the yarn yet, and both my husband and son are asking for a pair. That's a first, that they're actually excited about something I plan to knit! (...which makes me very happy.) Congratulations, Nita! (Wanted you to know so you could be happy, too.) =)

  2. Oops! I didn't mean to ask about the variation on the felt slipper pattern. My question is for THE felt slipper pattern. ;-)

    1. Yes, 7 ounces should be enough for either pattern. It is exciting when the men are interested in a knitting project. I'm glad for you. Thanks for sharing your joy.

  3. By any chance do you remember what your gauge was? Was that before or after felting?

  4. I didn't worry about gauge, because the felting process can take care of any discrepancies. If the gauge is looser, felt a little longer; if it is tight, felt less.

  5. Hi Nita, I love your original felted slipper. I made them for my son in law and he loves them too. Now my husband would like a pair but he would like to them to be about 1.5-2" higher in the back. Is that something you could tell me how to alter in the pattern? Thank you, Carol S

    1. Carol, there are two ways you could make your slipper higher in the back. The easiest will waste some wool. Where it says to knit one round at the very beginning, you could knit a few rounds until you have about 2-3 inches of knitting. Then continue with the pattern. After you felt the slippers, cut to the shape you want, so your husband can get his foot in.

      Another way would be to work short rows across the back. It would take some experimenting to figure out how long to make the rows and to get a nice shape.

    2. THANK YOU so much for your quick response. I will opt for the first way (I guess that's a benefit of felting) and add a blanket stitch after trimming and felting.

  6. The instructions for the heel are confusing for me...not sure how to continue in this manner means, “please help I cannot out figure out the manner to continue..thank you