How to Knit Slippers

Learning how to knit slippers is a great choice if you want to make hand-knit gifts that are easy and enjoyable to knit, and won't require you to invest large sums of money. In addition, knitting slippers isn't as fiddly as some consider sock knitting to be, as it can be done on larger needles and with thicker wool. In fact, many hand-knit slippers are later felted, a generous process which erases little mistakes you might make along the way.

Wool and needles required for knitting slippers
Worsted weight wool is a must for hand-knit slippers. Wool is the warmest option, which you'll want in a slipper, and it's necessary if you are planning to felt your slippers. Some patterns may also recommend a chunky weight wool, which will require larger needles. They'll knit up more quickly than worsted weight. Allow yourself a full skein, or approximately 150-200 yards of worsted weight wool, to play with, though specific requirements will vary depending on the yarn used, your gauge, and the pattern in question. Follow pattern directions for specifics, but in general, aim for a needle that will produce a loose stitch, which will be better for felting. If your wool calls for a 5 mm needle, consider moving up to 6 mm or 7 mm instead.

Additional notions for knitting slippers
In addition to wool and knitting needles, you'll need to have a few other knitting notions on hand as you are learning to knit slippers. Be sure that you have stitch markers ready, most importantly for your work on the heel and for marking the beginning of the round. Also, keep a tape measure, darning needle and crochet hook handy in case of slipped stitches. A well-stocked knitting bag comes in handy for all knitting projects, and this one is no exception.

Basics of knitting slippers
Hand-knit slippers follow the premise of hand-knit socks, meaning that you'll need a cuff, leg, heel, foot and toe. While hand-knit socks are typically knit on approximately 60 stitches in fingering weight yarn, you'll want to start your worsted slippers on 40-50 stitches. Knit in 2x2 ribbing for an inch, and then you'll want to insert a heel as the pattern directs or in your preferred method. Afterward, rejoin in the round, decrease the number of stitches back to the number you started with, and then knit until the slipper is bigger than your desired length. Decrease for toes and use Kitchener stitch to finish.

Repeat this for the second slipper. Then slowly felt the items in your washing machine, on high heat and high agitation, checking regularly for the desired felted size. It's recommended by many designers and knitters to throw in a towel or a pair of jeans to add extra agitation.

Once the slippers have felted to the desired width and length, remove them from the washing machine. Mold them to the correct dimensions on your feet, and then leave the slippers to dry.

Other options for hand-knit slippers
These variations are modeled after basic sock patterns, using 100 percent wool, bigger needles and thicker yarn. It's also possible to knit slippers by knitting the bottom, picking up stitches along the side for the foot, and then picking up along the back for the heel. These would more closely resemble a moccasin instead of a sock-like slipper. "Knit 2 Together" by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark offers a chunky weight version of house slippers knitted in a similar manner.

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