My house has been stupidly cold this winter. We're talking arctic proportions here. I like to blame it on the fact that my city has a love for single-paned windows (which is probably due to all the old houses in this heritage city...and possibly the area's humidity factor which leads to crazy mold issues...but I digress), and the fact that all the base heaters in my house, except for the one in the Kiddo's room, are completely useless. And racks up the hydro bill. For nothing. So we just don't bother with them. Before we replaced our space heaters back in November, I was layering up in practically every thermal garment and then hand knit I owned, then wrap myself in a million blankets, and then park my butt on the couch. The Mister got on my case about wearing socks cause funny story: for someone who knits a lot of socks, I don't really wear socks when I'm at home. The second I get home I usually take off my socks pronto and prefer to be barefoot. Not this winter. No. This winter I was sporting at least two pairs of socks at any given time and the Mister urged that I invest in some slippers. The thing is, I couldn't find slippers that I liked.
So this was back in November. Fast forward a few weeks to December when Stackpole Books offered me an opportunity to review a new knitting book. Get this: it's a newly released book about knitted slippers. 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers by Rae Blackledge, to be more specific. Universe, you have perfect timing!!
I did a quick flip through the book to get the gist of it and noted a visual index at the very back of the book - a feature that I think every knitting pattern book should have - and that each chapter was about a different type of slipper, such as felted and boot style, to name a few. Each section had a good mix of of styles that will suit most tastes. All yarn weights were used, from fingering weight to super bulky, which I greatly appreciated as the majority of popular slipper patterns on Ravelry seem to use worsted or bulky weights. As for sizes, there's something for everyone, mainly women. To be more specific, I recorded 19 patterns just for women, 2 patterns just for kids, 2 patterns sized for both women and kids, 1 pattern sized for men and women, and 1 pattern sized for everybody.
I've read through the book several times more thoroughly and noted the use of different methods of construction, several of them are quite clever too. At the back of the book there's a great and comprehensive section dedicated to techniques and tutorials that touches down on topics like yarn, sizing, sole and anti-slip options (re: how to add a pre-made leather bottom to your slipper!!), and how to block and felt your slippers. Each tutorial is actually a photo tutorial, which I think is awesome, and especially great for techniques like surface slip stitch crochet (which I've never done before) and picking up stitches as you go i-cord. With the help of this last section I think even advanced beginner knitters can knit any of the slippers from the book (or even a fearless beginner!). I should point out though that I did notice a few iffy, not really clear instructions on a few of the patterns. I don't think this is of fault to the designer (who is quite a prolific designer, judging by her Ravelry designer page), but more likely due to the editing (by a non-knitter maybe?) and space restrictions.
I was listening to a podcast in which Rae Blackledge was interviewed to help promote 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers (if you'd like to have a listen, you can here), and she had mentioned that in order to ensure that any and all knitters could knit something from the book, she would knit the first slipper and then had a fellow knitter from her knitting group knit the second. Not only did this avoid "Second Sock-itis" (after all, I'm sure she designed more than 25 pairs of slippers for the book), but also hit the two-fer button in accomplishing test knitting and a bit of tech editing. Genius, if you ask me.
Anyhoo, it's hard to pick a favourite, the designs are all varied from clogs to moccasins to Mary Janes (both the foxy and faux kind!) so I thought I would show you which were my favourites from each chapter. Please check out the Ravelry page if you'd like to see all 25 designs.
:: Felted Slippers ::
The first chapter is about felted slippers. Probably the most easiest of the slippers to make, and hey - if you make a mistake in the knitting, no one will notice because you'll be felting that baby out! I like that Rae gives you stitch gauge for both before and after felting, to give you idea of how much shrinkage should happen so that you can make a better decision on which size to knit.
Right out of the gate, the very first pattern is the Two-Tone Slipper, a slipper for everyone in the family. Yes, this is the pattern that is sized for men, women, and children. But my favourite is the one pictured above, the Spiral Clogs. I wish this pattern was sized for all (it's women sizing only) as the style and shape is classic and would make for a great pattern to whip up for gifts. I can totally envision personalizing these clogs with an embroidered monogram and gifting them to family members. Or knit yourself a pair for every day of the week. Cause you know you'll definitely appreciate it!
:: Fun and Fantasy ::
The second chapter, Fun and Fantasy, is hands down my favourite chapter out of the whole book. As the title suggests, it's all about the playful, cute, and fun slippers. Like Beatrix, the aptly named bunny slippers you see above. I love how they look like you took your favourite stuffy and turned them into slippers. I wish was sized for more than just women, as I think these would make any child really happy to wear! Don't you think?
Another pattern that I wish had more sizes to it - more specifically, was also sized for women - is the Buckaroo Boots. I would totally rock these around the house!! When I first saw these I thought it would be awesome to knit up a pair for myself and the Kiddo and we can pretend we're Woody and Jesse from Toy Story. I'm a nerd, I know!! But in all seriousness, from a knitter's point of view, they'd be an interesting knit. There's so much going on in this design: short rows, duplicate stitch, surface crochet, and the fun colour combination possibilities!
My absolute most favourite slippers out of this entire book? These super cute Foxy Slippers. Admittedly, they are the main reason I said yes to doing a review of the book (I swear on my stash that I would only review stuff that I would honestly use and knit, and would purchase myself). And these are the slippers that I have actually cast on for and knitted up, but I'll save that for another post. But what I can say for now is that the construction for these were clever (like a fox!! Sorry...couldn't help myself) and were very quick to knit up. My LYS doesn't carry Willow Yarns (the yarn company that Rae Blackledge is the "Design Coordinator" for), so I had to substitute yarns. I held the yarn doubled for this project and I still had plenty of yarn leftover, enough that I could possibly whip up another pair. Which I just might, cause these slippers are just so, so, SO cute!!
:: Everyday Slippers ::
I had mixed feelings about the Everyday Slippers chapter, which contains the most designs out of all the chapters (there's beautiful 10 pairs). I think this is due to personal tastes and ideas as to what would be considered everyday wear. Like, I think Moccasins (pictured above, and what I would like to knit up eventually) are the definition of an "everyday slipper". Sew pre-made leather soles on these babies and you're golden! But the Boardwalk Loafers and Degas slippers? While they are both pretty, to me any slipper that involves a length of ribbon or yarn that you have to tie up to keep your footwear on is neither convenient nor slippers you can quickly slip in and out of in case you need to chase your neighbourhood postal courier down the street. Not that I've done that before...
Moving on...aside from those two laced up slippers, the chapter has a really good selection of slip-on anklet type slippers that ranges from cables (like Caramel Twist above) to lace to "deceptively simple" colour work. The Tilted Espadrilles are very Toms shoe like, are super cute, and would make for a very impressive gift. Or be the gateway to a slipper knitting addiction.
There's also two patterns for slipper socks, the funky Color Study Slipper Sock and the mega adorable Mary Jane (pictured above). The latter is sized for both women and children and I had immediately thought of 'Mommy and me' matching slippers...if you're into that kind of thing. I also thought about how fun it would be to make these for a little girl who likes to dance (or spin endlessly) around the house. Makes me wish I had a little girl of my own to knit for.
:: Boots ::
The last section is dedicated to boot-like slippers (with the exception of the Weekender Slippers, I'm not sure why that pair is in there, unless it's an error in my copy of the book). The Kaleidoscope Knee-Highs are knit in a fingering weight yarn and could double as slippers and socks. My favourite out of the bunch are the Cabled Cappuccino boots (above photo). They're knit using a bulky weight yarn and I can just imagine myself padding around on the hardwood floors of a cabin somewhere in the woods, sipping a mug of piping hot coffee and curling up by the fireplace. Very Instagram-y.
All in all, out of the 25 designs in this book, I would knit 12 of them for sure. My rule of thumb when it comes to buying knitting pattern books is that I must want to knit at least half of the patterns and when it comes to 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers, I do want to knit half! What do you think? Any slippers that caught your eye? To get your very own copy of the book, check out Stackpole Books, Amazon (affiliate link), and Google Play.
OR you can enter the giveaway below!! I'm very lucky to give away a hard copy of the book to one lucky reader, but I am SO sorry to my fellow Canadians and International Friends, as this giveaway is for US addresses only. If this is you, please read the details below and enter!!
** Giveaway is now closed! **
** Thank you to all who have entered! **
** Thank you to all who have entered! **
:: THE PRIZE ::
One lucky reader will receive a print copy of 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers
:: THE RULES ::
:: Giveaway is open to US addresses only (sorry my dear Canadian and International Friends!)
:: Giveaway is open until Monday, February 8, 2016 at 11:59pm PST
:: All comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so that I can contact you if you are the winner
:: Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends
:: HOW TO ENTER ::
Leave a comment telling me what pair of slippers are your favourite? Don't forget to also include your email or Ravelry ID with your comment, because how else can I get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner?
♥ Happy Knitting! ♥
* Please note: all unmarked photos in this post are © Rae Blackledge.
:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent an eBook copy for review purposes in exchange for the possibility of posting a review. The wording and opinions I've written are my own. For the sake of transparency, please note that some of the links below are third-party affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.