A Project That Just Works

Filed in Just Stitches by on December 10, 2015 2 Comments

As a designer, you are always looking to create the project that gets everyone super excited. Unfortunately, projects which go viral are rather rare. I doubt I will ever have it happen to one of my designs.

a project that just works

Even so, occasionally you will design something that still makes you rather pleased on many fronts. For me, that means the project will appeal to a wide variety of knitters, not require a huge commitment of time or money (in the way of yarn) and will be a great way to learn a new skill or technique. If I had to pick only one of my designs that fit that criteria it would be the Felted Slipper Socks.

When I originally designed these I had never made a pair of socks. I understood the construction, but it was not a project I was personally interested in making. Part of the reason is all those stitches on little tiny needles did not seem inviting. But I was looking for a great project to teach a variety of skills for my just-beyond-beginner students.

Socks teach all sorts of wonderful skills:

  • Casting on and working in the round
  • Switching from circular to flat and back again
  • Working short rows
  • Picking up stitches
  • Mirroring decreases
  • Finishing off a toe (3 needle bind-off or Kitchener)

So instead of a typical sock, in this pattern we work with bulky yarn on large needles and each step of the process goes rather quickly. Add the element of felting at the end and any minor imperfections just disappear.

For years I taught the project through my local community education programs, first in Kansas City and later in Merced. Every class of students loved the project and gained wonderful knowledge at the same time. Later, I would sell kits along with a teacher’s curriculum to yarn shops and independent teachers through out the country. So although it is far from exciting, it is still probably my most successful design of all time.

The reason I personally know it is a good design, is my family and friends will from time to time ask for a replacement pair once the felted fabric finally wears through. This year, the request was from my mother on behalf of my father. I didn’t even realize that he wore them that often, but there you go! I am in need of a new pair for myself as well.

The best news is that, after dozens of pairs over the years, I still enjoy making them. Most sizes only require 2 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky so the cost is minimal (about $20). Because I am familiar with the pattern, a pair only takes me about 4 hours to knit. But even a newer knitter could get a pair done in a couple of evenings. Yesterday I bought the yarn, so you know what I will be working on this weekend!

What is your favorite “go to” project?

P.S. If you were inspired by Gwen’s post on trying something new, and YOU’D like to try spinning (or you’re already a big fan of spinning), we’re hosting a giveaway for our EduKnit members and blog readers! Click here to enter to win some fiber or a drop spindle & fiber set from the generous folks at Louet North America!

Tags: , ,