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Gauge, Smauge

May 15, 2007

No, I'm not thumbing my nose to the knitting gods. Previously I posted pics of the felted slippers I made for my mom for Christmas. While they were pretty cool, they were a tad wide for her unbelievably narrow feet, and the toes (I have to admit) were just shy of.... elf-y.

When she came to visit a few weeks ago, I decided to make her a replacement pair. I adjusted the pattern, fired up the ISM and commenced ta'knitting. After the first slipper (and a skein and a half of Patons Classic Wool in a double-layer slipper), I started questioning "my" math. The pre-felted slipper was HUGE. We're talking Jolly Green Giant huge.

I frogged the whole thing and made a big ol' swatch, then ran it through the washer on the "Abuse" cycle. I figured that if I shrunk the soup outta the swatch in super hot water and a hot dryer, there was no way Mom could accidently over-shrink the slippers when she popped them in her (less abusive) laundry routine.

Okay. I swatched. I counted stitches. I measured the post-felted piece and figured out my gauge. Plunked the numbers into Lucia's generator again and came up with almost the same pattern as before (maybe 2 stitches narrower).

Fast forward to the newly-knitted, to-gauge, sized for scary-narrow feet slippers:

Unfelted SlippersFor comparison? The squares in my linoleum are 4"...

Oh, and I used the hairpin-seam-as-you-go method from Heidi's Altogether Sock to seam them as I knit. WAY cool.

Tossed them in the washer on "Abuse", then pulled them out. Before even getting them in the dryer (more abuse, you know), I gave them a stretch and a pull to see how they worked out.

Felted Slippers They don't look too bad, do they?

Oh. Wait.

Slipper and Can
That's a can of mmm-mmm-good soup. 8 1/4 inches in diameter. I'll wait if you want to wrap a measuring tape around your instep, for comparison's sake.

Oh - you can see that it doesn't fit in the slipper, right?
Now, I know that I said Mom has scary-narrow feet, but they are certainly more than 1 inch thick at the top of her instep.

I think I learned an important felting lesson. It may just be that a double-thick knitted fabric shrinks more than a single-thick fabric. Note to self: swatch a double-thick fabric and abuse it for next time.

Yes, there will be a next time. I am nothing if not tenacious.

For now? Maybe one of the offspring would like a pair of slippers for dress-up. Or maybe I could come up with a whole new home dec craze:

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