Important update: After many requests I’ve rewritten the Simple house Slippers into an updated pattern using all the feedback I’ve gotten since I wrote this blogpost. You can find the full pattern with sizes on Ravelry Here.
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.
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.
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
NB: I have decided to leave this free version of the pattern here for anyone to use, but it was written long ago mostly as notes on an approach with no editing etc. So please keep that in mind.
I’ve answered the questions I’ve gotten over the years in an updated version of the pattern and also have a video guide on my instagram. So please visit these sources if you’re struggling with anything. Thank you!
Needles: 4-4.5 mm (6-7 US) Circulars for magic loop*
Yarn: Ca. 70 – 100 gr. of Sock/Light Worsted weight yarn (or a combination of lighter yarns)
1 Stitch Marker (optional)
*The pattern is NOT written for Dpns, but you can adapt it pretty easily.
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.
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 *
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!