It started in May. I had a week to go before my road trip to Maryland Sheep & Wool, and the itch set in. The itch to make something for this trip. I can make something in a week, surely. It’s not like I have anything else to do. (I had a lot else to do.) I know: I’ll make some slippers! My beloved old moccasins are looking pretty beat up, and they take up a fair bit of room in the suitcase, and I bet I can whip out a pair of ballet-ish slippers that look nice and pack small and will keep my bare feet off the hotel carpet.
Now, this is not my first last-minute-travel-project rodeo, and though I was tempted to also spin the yarn for these things, I knew that that way lay madness. Besides, that’s much of the point of a stash, surely: to have exactly the right yarn when inspiration strikes, just waiting for you to pull it out and get knitting. So I did. I found some worsted weight from Imperial Yarn in a heathery bottle green, and off I went.*
The entire project took me two days—days in which I must have done other things, surely, though it’s all a blur now—and I was so pleased with the result, I posted them to Instagram. A couple of people asked for a pattern, and I’d taken decent notes, so I went in search of an appropriate, currently available yarn. (That’s the problem with designing from deep stash: the inevitable hazard of discontinued yarn.) I wanted something woolen-spun (for lightness and cushiness) but durable (because you’d be walking on it) without being too crunchy (so it’s comfortable on bare skin) in a good range of colours (so there’s something for everyone) in worsted weight (for a nice balance between fast knitting and a not-too-bulky result). Harrisville Highland fit the bill nicely, and I like what that company’s about, so I bought a skein in Woodsmoke and got knitting.
Though the sample itself only took a couple of days, my summer filled up with other work, so it took a while to get the pattern ready for its public. In the meantime, the prototype got some serious road testing.
I particularly like how small they roll up for packing.
Finally, just yesterday, the pattern was ready to go, and now you can have a pair of these babies, too. The original project name seemed fitting enough, so I stuck with it: the Last Minute Travel Slippers pattern is now available on Ravelry, complete with gorgeous photos by Gale Zucker and an illustrated tutorial for Judy’s Magic Cast On (my go-to toe-up cast on), plus my German Short Row tutorial for the little bit of shaping that keeps the heel on your foot.
With just under a week to go ’til New York Sheep & Wool (a.k.a. Rhinebeck), I think the timing worked out nicely: early enough for last-minute-travel-project people like me, and just the thing for a single skein of that farm yarn that we wool people can’t resist.
*Sadly, that yarn is no longer available. Though the label says Columbia, the put up was 220 yds/201m to 4 oz/113g, rather than the current 170 yds/155.5m, and the colour—Pine Tree—doesn’t appear to be there now.