Patterns

Simple House Slippers

9th July 2015

simplehouseslipper

These house slippers are my comfort knitting. They are the the kind of thing you cast-on while contemplating the next big project, no worries just easy practical work. Usually they only take an evening to make and because of this they are a brilliant project to practise one of my favourite things; modify, rinse, repeat.

When I start making these I dont stop until I have at least 3 pair. This whole process of knitting the same thing several times is a joy I discovered late. I attacked knitting very hungrily when I first found it, wanting to learn everything and preferably last week. So for a long time I only knit things I had never tried before. It was all very no pain – no gain.

Ok so maybe mostly gain and not that much pain, but never the less it is great to have a little arsenal of go-to patterns that you know by heart. Somehow it feels like that is what I am working on now. These slippers are always needed in my wardrobe and making them provides a simple basic canvas for experimentation and immersion. By now I feel like I have all the kinks worked out, this leaves a lot of space to just play around with the colors, marl and different textures. I find the whole process incredibly meditative and almost a bit ritualistic.

simplehouseslipperspile_760

To me this model is something of a classic. I know an amazing 93 year old woman who says she’s been making similar ones since the 50’s, at least, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been around for longer. There are several great versions out there; The awesome cultish color schemes of Mieke Willems, The moccasin-like toe of Anna Mcclurg, Handepande’s Simple Garter Stitch slippers, although constructed differently has a similar feel and then there is Meg Strong and Karen Templers remake of a 60’s pattern Tootsie Toasters.

I’ve looked at all of them, but over time I’ve developed my own method. The simplicity of the garter and stockinette stitch is initially what attracted me to them, so I’ve tried to keep it as minimal as possible, with a few little twists of course! Initially I knit these for my boyfriend, but found that a regular toe didn’t work well with his long feet. So after trying a few different approaches I ended up with a model inspired by a standard mitten top. The extra decreases in the middle means that the toe is finished over fewer rows and has that nice little X pattern. They are very rounded, which makes them look cute on my size 36 feet and not overly pointy on my Boyfriends 45’s. It might be a bit of a weird idea but to me it is perfect.

The pattern is knit flat for the heel and then gathered in the round for the rest of the foot. This means a lot of pull on a few stitches at the top of the foot,  and as a result there can be quite a bit of laddering. I experimented a bit and found that switching the first and last stitch on the row before gathering worked wonders.

Christophersslippers2_760

As per usual this is not a super precise pattern in regards to gauge and needles. They are so quick that knitting a gauge swatch would be total overkill. If you use something like a 4 – 4,5 mm (6-7 US) needles and a Sport/Light Worsted yarn or even 2 fingering yarns held together, you will most likely be in the clear. Another thing to remember is that these, like all socks, have to be able to take a beating, so it is better to knit them too tightly rather than too loosely. This is a standard size, if you have very wide/slim feet you can add or subtract stitches in increments of 2, you would then have to modify the toe decreases a bit, or simply try with a larger needle and thicker yarn.

 

 

Simple House Slippers

MATERIALS

Needles: 4-4.5 mm (6-7 US) Circular for magic loop or Dpns
Yarn: Ca. 70 – 100 gr. of Sock/Light Worsted weight yarn (or a combination of lighter yarns)
Tapestry Needle
1 Stitch Marker (optional)

 

ABBREVIATIONS

K: Knit
SSK ( Slip Slip Knit): Slip 2 stitches knitwise, knit together through the back loop (decreases 1)
K2TOG: Knit 2 together
CDD (centered double decrease): Slip two stitches knitwise (at the same time), K1, Pass the two slipped stitches over the newly knit stitch.

 

THE HEEL AND THE FOOT

Cast on 40 stitches with a regular long tail cast-on.

Knit for 32 rows (garter stitch), slip the first stitch purlwise on every row. On the 32nd row knit until you have 1 stitch left.
Gather in the round while switching the last (unknit) stitch of the current row with the first stitch of the next row ( to prevent laddering), place marker in between those 2 stitches.

After knitting the first gathered row, rearrange your stitches so that you have the top of the foot on one needle and the bottom of the foot on another, using the marker as a guide. You can now remove the marker or place it in the new 1st stitch of your row.

Knit stockinette in the round  until you are 2,5 centimeters (1 inch) from where you want the toe to end.

 

THE TOE

Row 1: *K1, SSK, K3, SSK, K5, K2TOG, K3, K2TOG. Repeat one more time from *

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: *K1, SSK, K2, SSK, K3, K2TOG, K2, K2TOG. Repeat one more time from *

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: *K1, SSK, K1, SSK, K1, K2TOG, K1, K2TOG. Repeat one more time from *

Row 6: Knit

Row 7: *K1, SSK, CDD, K2TOG. Repeat one more time from *

FINISHING

Cut yarn leaving enough for weaving in. Thread yarn onto tapestry needle, bring it through remaining stitches, slipping them off the needles. I usually start by covering the little hole in the tip with a cross stitch, then weave in on the wrong side.

Mattress stitch the back of the heel. Working from top to bottom, make sure to leave a little hole at the bottom of ca. 4 st. (2 from each side). Weave your ends through them. This will keep the back from being too stiff.

Repeat if you have 2 feet. Done!

 

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56 Comments

  • Reply jill 23rd July 2015 at 14:48

    Thank you for the lovely slipper pattern!

  • Reply carol 23rd July 2015 at 17:36

    Thanks for the pattern! Am doing some traveling and think the slippers would be a perfect knit and then I could wear them.

  • Reply Jo Doran (Recniky) 25th July 2015 at 01:11

    Simone, I found your site through following Karen Templar’s “Fringe” site… and since I’ve been looking for a really good, basic slipper pattern, I was really happy to find this page on your site… which is fantastic by the way… easy to read, very professional, just superb. I also love your story bit, about being born in a hippie commune in the middle of Cophenhagen… being a photographer, traveler, and tarot reader.
    Thank you for posting this pattern and the directions.
    Jo

    • Reply Simone 4th August 2015 at 14:33

      Hey Jo!
      Thank you so much for the encouragement! Maybe I’ll have to elaborate at some point :)

  • Reply Kristi 3rd August 2015 at 22:32

    These slippers are just like the ones my Grandmother used to knit for us every Christmas. Her mother, my great grandmother, came over on the boat from Sweden in the 1800’s so maybe that is where they originated. I have been looking for a pattern for these for ages! Thank you so much for posting, they will bring back such memories for my sisters and I.
    Kristi

  • Reply Monica 11th August 2015 at 21:07

    This is perfect! I have been looking for a pattern like this forever!!! I am planning on making a bunch of these for Christmas!!

  • Reply Lori 14th September 2015 at 00:39

    I’m a new knitter and am having trouble at: On the 32nd row knit until you have 1 stitch left.
    Gather in the round while switching the last (unknit) stitch of the current row with the first stitch of the next row ( to prevent laddering), place marker in between those 2 stitches.

    After knitting the first gathered row, rearrange your stitches so that you have the top of the foot on one needle and the bottom of the foot on another, using the marker as a guide. You can now remove the marker or place it in the new 1st stitch of your row.”
    Could you do a video and post?
    Thank You!

    • Reply Simone 14th September 2015 at 12:55

      Hey Lori! Congrats on your new knitting venture!
      I’ll consider doing a vid but I might not be able to get to it straight away. A thing you can do now that might make it easier is to skip switching the stitches in the first paragraph and just gather in the round placing a marker in between the gather. This will take away a bit of the finesse of the pattern but sometimes it’s better to get acquainted and then add on stuff. You can always knit them again with the switch when you feel comfortable.

      When rearranging stitches you want 20 stitches on each needle one for the top of the foot and one for the bottom. Use the stitch marker you just placed as a guide and count ten stitches to either side of it, pull out loops here. This is your new top and the beginning of every row will now be at the first stitch of that needle (move the place marker to that stitch).

      I hope that helps!

  • Reply Gwen 15th October 2015 at 10:25

    I was wondering what length of circular needle you use for this pattern? Thank you,

    Gwen

  • Reply Aurora Clarke 28th October 2015 at 03:53

    I’m confused! Why the circular needles when it seems as though the slippers are knitted back and forth as with regular needles?

    • Reply Simone 28th October 2015 at 11:27

      Hey Aurora! The heel is knit flat, but the work is then gathered in the round for the rest of the foot hence the circulars. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Lisita 29th October 2015 at 01:56

    I am confused too. I just finished knitting the garter stitch part. I gathered it in the round. Why do you have to put 20 stitches on one needle for the top and 20 on the bottom if you are knitting in the round? Also don’t you have to use dpns as your are getting towards the end rather than circulars? thank you so much :)

    • Reply Simone 29th October 2015 at 17:51

      No worries! The reason why I want you to place 20 st. on the top needle and 20 st. on the bottom is so that when you start decreasing for the toe you do the decreases at the right spot. It doesn’t have anything to do with joining in the round, I just find it easier to fix the positioning right away rather than waiting until you’re at the toe, at that point I know I am likely to forget. Thank you for asking about the dpns, I am so used to magic looping stuff, that I totally forgot to clarify this in the pattern! I’ve added a little line to the pattern now.

  • Reply Diane 30th October 2015 at 14:16

    Beautiful slippers, thank you for the post. Can you tell me what yarn you used for the light coloured slippers?

  • Reply House Socks |Airplane Socks | 30th October 2015 at 18:57

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  • Reply Lisita 31st October 2015 at 00:40

    Thanks Simone! I get it now :)

  • Reply Zoe 3rd November 2015 at 17:06

    These look so cute, I’m going to knit some for my mum for Christmas. Thank you very much for the free pattern. I was just wondering though (my counting might be really bad but . . . ) When you start to decrease on row 1 I can only count 15 stitches there, wouldn’t it be 16 if there’s 32 to start with? Or have I missed 1?

    Zoe

    • Reply Simone 3rd November 2015 at 19:35

      Hey Zoe, Glad you like the pattern! You should have 40 stitches when you start to decrease at the toe. You will then have 32 stitches when you are on Row 3 and to my count the numbers fit… Maybe you missed a K2tog somewhere :)

  • Reply Zoe 4th November 2015 at 12:57

    Oh god sorry, I must’ve been reading this tired or something ha, I somehow mixed up the cast on number with the knit for 32 rows hehe sorry. . . . Thank you for replying :)

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  • Reply Dani 14th November 2015 at 02:03

    Thanks for the pattern! Will the heel be slightly pointy at the bottom after I sew it up? Is there a way to flatten ? I’m not sure I understand that part.

  • Reply Brandy 18th November 2015 at 06:06

    Ok I’m knitting these and I’m also having issues with “gather in the round” and the whole top va bottom needle. I feel like something is missing from the instructions…I’m a veteran knitter and this just isn’t clicking for me. I’ve joined the ends and switched he first and last stitches, but that still leaves the start of the row in the middle of the top of the foot.

    Can you elaborate some more on how we would get fro. The to having the start of the rows where they’re supposed to be for decreasing? Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m pulling my hair out trying to make Hesse for my brother lol

    • Reply Simone 18th November 2015 at 14:00

      Hey Brandy. This is the part of the pattern you need: “After knitting the first gathered row, rearrange your stitches so that you have the top of the foot on one needle and the bottom of the foot on another, using the marker as a guide. You can now remove the marker or place it in the new 1st stitch of your row.”
      I can elaborate a bit. You have 40 stitches total, you want 20 on top and 20 on the bottom. Use the marker you’ve placed in between the switched stitches and just count 10 stitches on either side of it. Those 20 stitches are now your top needle, the rest is the bottom. I hope that helped!

  • Reply Claire Wilkins 30th November 2015 at 15:18

    I love these & I think I understand the construction. I’m in the UK so I’m thinking DK weight yarn given the stitch count?

    Sock is equivalent to 4 ply (or fingering) & I think would knit up way to airy on a 4mm needle, which is the usual size for our double knit. Or would a firmer fabric be better, using aran weight with the 4.5mm?

    Hmm – I guess I’ll have to try them out & see!

    • Reply Simone 3rd December 2015 at 20:09

      Hey Claire. glad to hear you like the pattern!
      The black slippers shown are knit with a DK weight yarn and 4 mm needles. The white/marled ones are knit with Aran weight yarn and 4.5 mm needles without changing the numbers of the pattern. I’d definitely recommend using heavier yarn knit tighter rather than the opposite. If you ask me slippers should be warm, cozy and as sturdy as possible you wont get that with light yarn.

  • Reply Zoe 7th December 2015 at 09:07

    Can you take a picture of how your would arrange the stitches on the double pointed needles? I was reading the above comments. Can you explain a bit more on dividing the stitches on the needles? I understand the 20 stitches on 2 needles but unsure of where you say to pick up 10 stitches .
    Thank you

  • Reply Monica 9th December 2015 at 22:01

    I would love to try this pattern, but as a beginner (even though I’ve been knitting for several years, I haven’t really been able to push past the beginner place) I’m having some difficulty with the directions. Is there any way you could post a video tutorial?

    Many thanks!

  • Reply Diane 13th December 2015 at 21:37

    What length cable is circular needles are used?

    If dpns are used , there are 20 stitches on only 2 needles and you knit with a third needle?

    This part of the pattern is very confusing!

    BUT, the slippers in the picture look great!

    Hope someone can clarify this.

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  • Reply Shelly 22nd December 2015 at 23:14

    I have just learned to knit with the magic loop. What I think you are saying is that as you start knitting in the round the first half (20 sts) are forming the bottom of the tube (sock) and the second half(20 sts) are forming the top of the tube (sock). The placement being the top needle is the top of the foot and the bottom needle is the bottom of the foot. Not that you are knitting the top seperately from the bottom. Correct or no? Maybe this may not work the same for dpn’s.

  • Reply Shelly 22nd December 2015 at 23:23

    For finishing the heel you say leave a little hole at the bottom of ca. 4sts……. I don’t quite understand that set of instructions. Could you explain to a not so experienced knitter?

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  • Reply mandy 3rd February 2016 at 20:26

    By “Gathering in the round” do you mean joining the rounds? Thanks!

    • Reply Simone 17th February 2016 at 12:56

      You got it ;)

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  • Reply Dianne 5th March 2016 at 16:14

    Like Diane (see 12/13/15 comment), I’m confused about dividing those 40 sts. I knit with dpns, and would normally just divide the 40 sts 10 ea. on 4 dpn needles, but not sure because of the top and bottom sts. Please clarify for me. I love these slippers and really want to make them for family and friends. Thank you.

    • Reply Simone 17th March 2016 at 14:21

      Im glad you like the slippers :)
      I originally wrote the pattern for magic loop because that is what I use myself, and to be honest I don’t have much experience knitting with DPNs. My best guess would be to use 3 needles and place the bottom stitches on one needle and divide the top stitches on 2 needles. That way you will know where to place your toe decreases and you wont have to struggle with the yarn. You could also take a look at how other people did on Ravelry, plenty of people knit them with DPNs in various constellations, maybe you’ll find some visual aid. Hope that helps!

      • Reply Dianne Mulligan 17th March 2016 at 15:09

        Thank you so much for your reply to my question about the house slippers; it really helps a lot. I have used magic loop only once (the Twinkle Twinkle Blanket) and it did turn out beautiful. But, obviously, I’m not comfortable with that method yet. Thanks again for your reply – I am so anxious to knit up those great slippers of yours!

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  • Reply Samantha Shah 23rd March 2016 at 01:33

    Would it be alright for me to use this pattern in an Intro to Knitting in the Round class at my yarning store?

  • Reply Allie 1st April 2016 at 22:04

    Just completed slipper no. 1 – love it!! Will be making several pairs to keep by the front door. Thanks :)

  • Reply Amanda 10th April 2016 at 21:58

    I love these slippers!! I am between big projects right now and this pattern has kept me busy :) I made a pair for myself and my husband today. And tomorrow I’ll be making them for my three boys (thinking of adding cute animal faces) and I think I’ll have to make a pair for my whole family they are just so sweet! I’m also teaching a friend to knit and she is tired of making dish clothes and scarfs so I modified this pattern to be worked flat and she is happily making a prior right now! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • Reply Simone 7th June 2016 at 12:02

      You made my day Amanda :)

  • Reply Candace 26th May 2016 at 21:44

    Wonderful pattern, I keep returning to it and I am about to begin pair # 4!!!

  • Reply Samantha Normandin 13th September 2016 at 05:44

    I absolutely love the look of these, but I am a little confused. I’ve followed all directions, but haven’t gotten to making the toe yet. What part is the heel? Mine doesn’t look like it will end up looking like yours.

    • Reply Simone 13th September 2016 at 16:40

      it will, no worries :) You simply stitch the cast on edge together using mattress stitch once you’ve finished the toe. The garter stitch portion will then be the heel. It definitely looks a bit weird until it is done so I can understand the confusion!

  • Reply Annemarie Fuchs 16th September 2016 at 16:06

    Hi there! I love this pattern and am currently working a slipper on size 7s. I have a few questions, how much smaller does the slipper turn out on 6s & if I go down another needle size would it be small enough for a kid? Should I still complete the pattern as is, or start to decrease stitches?

    • Reply Simone 22nd September 2016 at 11:37

      Hey Annemarie!
      I’m glad you like the pattern :) There are so many variables that I find it hard to answer your question with any kind of precision. It all depends on the yarn you are using and how tightly/loosely you knit. It is a small and quick project though so I think you best bet is to simply try it out! Remember to make notes ;)

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