I have a friend and she is the cutest thing. her name is Amy. I met her a couple of years ago because of spinning. It was near the beginning of her current career which has just exploded for her and I am so glad.
She is a terrific designer who has had knitwear designs in every knitting magazine. She is a talented tech editor and so has her name alongside many other gifted designers. Along whith that work she is also a talented spinner and has taught her young daughter to spin too!
And now, along with all of this, she has a new book out and it is all about slippers!
When I saw there would be a blog tour for the book I jumped in. I loved having the opportunity to review the book and ask Amy some questions about the book and also one pattern in particular.
Threesheeps: I know you are a spinner as well as knit designer and lots of other knitting related things and so I wanted to really focus my questions toward the spinners I know. I hope you don’t mind. But first! A slippers book is such a great idea. What made you decide to do a whole bunch of slippers?
[Amy Polcyn] Small projects are awesome, that’s why! It’s really hard sometimes to have enough time to take on a larger project, and sometimes we just don’t want to. Slippers are a nice alternative to socks, and as a bonus they take much less time to complete.
Threesheeps: I’m a little spoiled and have had the opportunity to see you working on many designs over the years. Can you tell me a little about how you get inspiration for your designs? How about specifically slipper designs?
[Amy Polcyn] Generally, my inspiration comes from things I see or “spontaneous brainstorms” that often wake me up at night. I keep a sketchbook filled with little scribbles, pictures from magazines, and even some scraps of fabric. Often I’ll see a collar, or a print, or a texture that I decide to save for possible future inspiration, while other times I’ll see, say, a blouse in a catalog, even a skirt or a pair of pants and instantly envision a sweater inspired by some element of it, maybe it had cool pockets, or an interesting shape to the sleeves. For the slippers, I thought more in terms of covering as many sizes, ages, and genders as possible in only a dozen or so styles, and also of covering as many techniques as possible (lace, cables, colorwork, different toe/heel treatments, etc). Lastly, I thought about as many types of slippers as possible– scuffs, pull-on styles, little dainty ballet slippers, Mary Janes, but I think you would have guessed that! and boots, clogs… once I had all this in mind I put the pieces together, thinking about styles I or people I know might actually wear. For me personally, it’s all about the
I love the Mitered Square Scuffs and think it is a great project for spinners to try. Do you have any advice about the overall knitting of the pattern?
[Amy Polcyn] I agree– not much yarn is needed, so it would be a great project for those fibers you only have 4 ounces of! The knitting is very simple– basically you knit a garter stitch mitered square for each toe (which has sts picked up on 2 sides and worked to create a pentagon shape) and 2 shaped garter stitch sole pieces for each slipper, which are then sandwiched around a piece of heavy interfacing. Super-basic crocheting skills are needed to finish the slippers, as a row of single crochet is worked to close the outside of the sole and to trim the front opening, though I suppose you could sew them closed instead if you prefer.
Threesheeps: The yarn for this is Aslan Trends Kettle Dyed Bariloche. Would you describe it as a medium or heavy worsted weight yarn? Are there any yarns you can think of that would make good substitute yarns?
[Amy Polcyn] I would call it a heavy worsted, since it gets a gauge of about 4 1/2 stitches to the inch. Good substitues would be yarns such as Mission Falls 1824 wool, Manos Wool Clasica, Classic Elite Montera, Nashua Handknits Champlain or Creative Focus Chunky, Stitch Nation Full o’ Sheep, or Plymouth Galway Chunky. Personally, when I’m working mitered squares I like the look achieved by self-striping yarns, so that is why I chose the Bariloche. Of course, you could easily use 2-3 solid colors and stripe them, which would be a great way to use up leftovers. I would avoid using a super soft singles yarn, as it might not hold up very well on the bottom of the sole.
Threesheeps: There is a felt or interfacing lining inside the sole of the mitered scuffs. What is the purpose of this? If it is for more cushioning do you think more would be better or is the thin amount called for a better choice?
[Amy Polcyn] Not for cushioning, but more to give the soles some structure. If they are too floppy the soles would flip under your foot, and that would not be nice. I used Timtex, which is a REALLY stiff and thick interfacing, for the scuffs. If you wanted to add some cushioning, a thin layer of quilt batting on top of the interfacing would be a nice touch, but it’s not necessary.
Threesheeps: I think everybody is getting slippers for Christmas…probably not handspun (well, maybe a pair for me in handspun)…and these Mitered ones look like just the ticket. Any advice on making slippers as a surprise gift when you can have a shoe size but no good foot measurements?
[Amy Polcyn] Glad you like the mitered ones. I agree that slippers make great gifts, which is why I included conversions for shoe sizes right in the book! Check out page 3, under Sizing, and you will find the shoe sizes that match each of the slipper sizes in the book. The sizing covers a toddler size 8- child size 3 for the children’s lippers, women’s sizes 5-13, and men’s sizes 7-13+, so that should cover pretty much everyone on your gift list.
And now for the review. Yes, I gushed over Amy. Yes, I love her. But this is a book I would have bought anyway. There is a pair of slippers for everyone in here. With 12 different designs I know you all will be knitting slippers for everyone for Christmas too. Short Sweet and to the Point! And don’t worry, I will be ordering plenty of these for the shop…and maybe we should do some together. Who’s up for a class?
This blog tour is going on for the next 10 days and the next blogger on the list is Kate Oates. Check her out. She’s got some really cute ideas for little kids over there.