Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Lopi Success - The Love Affair Continues

The 4 skeins of L├ętt-Lopi I had ordered were to make myself a pair of felted flower-power slippers. While making the kid's version, I entertained thoughts of making myself a black pair with gray, black and silver flowers. I wasn't quite sure how to go about making them, so I scaled up the kid's sizes using a linear calculation. (I should also add I only ended up using 2 skeins, having about 2 or 3 metres of wool left from each skein. That means I get to make another pair!)

I reasoned (hoped!) that the shrinkage would be proportional. It was. I used a provisional crocheted cast-on, casting on 46 sts on 4.5 mm needles. I increased 2 x 2 stitches in the middle of my first and third knit rows, for a total of 50 stitches. I wanted to create a rounded heel, and was successful using this increasing technique. Observe:

After 50 rows of knitting back and forth, I now started to knit in the round. To do this, I cast on 6 stitches that would form the bridge on the top of my foot, for a total of 56 stitches (14 on each needle). I then knit in the round until I had completed 36 rounds. I decreased the toes like I do for normal socks, using K2tog and SSK's until I had 4 sts left on each needle.

I grafted the toe stitches together, and removed my crocheted chain (tip: use slippery yarn!) so I could also graft the heel stitches together. I didn't want an uncomfortable sewn seam at the back of each slipper, and this was the only way I could think to do this. This extra effort made for a completely seamless slipper. (Before felting, always make sure your ends are well sewn-in and trimmed.)

Here's the before: (Appreciate the rounded heel, please!)

And here's the after, pre-trimming:

Before trimming, the are mega-fuzzy. Observe:

Has a nice Yeti look to it, doesn't it? They're almost terrifying! For what it's worth, I wear North American size 8.5/9 or Euro 39 shoes.

I trimmed the fuzz using my trusty Olfa scissors. (Seriously, if ever you see these scissors at the store, ignore the hefty price tag and buy a pair. You won't be disappointed, I promise).

Here's the end result:

I am really pleased with them! They are as pretty as I had imagined, and I had fun combining lots of odds and ends to crochet the little flowers. I used pearls and silver beads to decorate each crocheted flower.

Check out this little detail I found at the bead store:

The little silver hands say HAND MADE. I LOVE IT!

I still have to treat the soles with the Super-Grip spray, but there's always later for that. This is the pair of slippers I plan to take along to friends' houses when visiting. My "home" slippers (clogs actually) have had it; I am embarrassed to wear them in the house, let alone take them places!

This way I can step out in style!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Green Mountain State

We took a little day trip down to Vermont via New York state last week. I'll save you the sordid details of our comic interlude as we crossed the border, courtesy of Mr. Rayban and Mr. Buzzcut, and I'll save you the non-details of our entry back into Canada, where we obviously had woken up the border guard and weren't even asked for proof of ID.

The day started off overcast and humid, we'd had a lot of rain the day before, but once the skies cleared, we were in for a treat.

Route 108 winds its way down Vermont through Mount Mansfield State Forest, truly one of the nicest roads I have been on. Pardon the dash in the photos, I was just dumb-founded by the scenery and wanted to take it all in, all at once!

The road sign below says ROAD NARROWS:

They aren't kidding. The ROAD NARROWS:

That's a Smart Car above, so you can have an idea about the scale.  Cars literally have to wait for the all-clear before heading around the next blind curve. The scenery was so breath-taking it's hard to describe without sounding melodramatic.

Vermont is green and undulating. The people are friendly, the landscape is gorgeous, and the architecture is beautiful. I can't get enough of Vermont.

I love pastoral scenery, John Deere tractors, and old barns with stone foundations. I'm batting three for three above.

This photo was taken from the bridge with the car in motion, hence the terrible quality, but clearly shows Fort Montgomery in Rouses Point, NY. The story behind it is interesting, so have a look at the link.

We love Vermont and can't wait to go back. We love the smooth roads (and the wi-fi hot spots!), and the breath-taking scenery. At risk of gushing, Vermont just shines.
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