You can crochet slippers in one afternoon, and the results will keep your feet toasty warm as you pad across cold hardwood floors or frigid linoleum.
What's more, you can easily make the bootees ankle height by picking up stitches around the upper edge and adding crocheted rows, much as you'd do when forming a sweater sleeve. If you start adding these rows at the back seam, you'll wind up with pull-on bootees. . . and if you add them beginning at the front seam, you'll get a slipper with an open seam that can be overlapped and fastened . You can even make enough extra "sock" above the ankle so that you can turn down or cuff the foot coverers.
In designing this slipper pattern, I've used a technique that helps to shape the bootee, but you can eliminate this step, if you wish, without causing any noticeable harm to the item's appearance.
Materials: Three ounces each of two colors of worsted-weight yarn. (I used two strands of yarn twisted together as one to obtain a tweedy effect, which helps to hide spots and dirt. If you feel intimidated by the idea of crocheting with a double thread, substitute some heavyweight or rug yarn.) You'll also need a size K crochet hook, a tape measure, and a large-eyed tapestry needle.
Sizing: This particular pattern fits an "average" adult woman. You can vary the width and length to yield a bootee suitable for a typical man or child. Before crocheting, you'll need to measure one of the feet to be shod from its heel to the tip of its big toe. Jot down that figure for future reference.
To start: Beginning at the heel, chain 22 stitches, leaving a 10" yarn tail at the start. Turn the work.
Row 1. Double crochet in the fourth stitch from the hook and in the next 5 sts (7 dc total, including the ch 3 at the beginning of the row). Dc twice in each of the next 2 sts, dc in the next st, dc twice in each of the next two sts, and dc in the remaining 7 sts. You'll have made a total of 23 dc, including the ch 3 at the row's start.
Row 2. Turn your work by ch 3, and dc 7. In the eighth stitch, dc 2 together, dc 7, and in the next stitch dc 2 together.
Row 3. Turn by ch 3 and dc across the row. Continue by alternating Rows 2 and 3 until the length is 1" less than the measurement you took. (Bear in mind, though, that it's better to make a slipper that is somewhat larger, rather than smaller . . . in case you want to wear a pair of socks underneath.)
Note: Use of the double crochet stitch in two spots in every other row is the shaping technique I mentioned. If you desire, you can eliminate this stitch and merely dc across every row instead.
When you've obtained the length you want, turn your work, and dc 2 together across the row. Finish with a slip stitch, leaving a 10" yarn tail.
Use the yarn tail at the toe-threaded through a tapestry needle-to weave the edges together for 4 rows, working from the wrong side. Do the same at the heel, using the yarn tail to weave together the back seam. Once that's done, turn the bootee right side out.
Here's how to fashion a drawstring to make the slipper fit more snug: Start by chaining a 30" strand. Weave this shoestring in and out of the ankle edge of the double crochet stitches around the slipper's edge, starting and ending at the front. Draw the string tight to adjust the fit, and tie a bow.
If you've decided to make ankle-height bootees, omit the drawstring until later. To make the additional crocheted rows, pick up the double crocheted stitches along the top edges of the sock and dc more rows. After you've finished building up the slipper's cuff, you can weave the chained drawstring through the double crocheted openings at any height you desire.
You'll need to repeat the whole process to make bootee number two. You can then slip on your afternoon project-look at that, the winter sun's still poking through the trees-and get ready for your evening activities!
Need a refresher on the basics of knitting and crocheting? Would a list of abbreviations be handy? How about more project ideas and patterns? See How to Knit and Crochet.
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