Cotton Loafer Knit-a-Long, Part 2: Jute Soles

Thanks for joining us for part two of the Cotton Loafer series. They loafers are some all-season slippers from The Knitted Slipper Book.  In part one, I talked about my design inspiration and choices. Be sure to check in over at the STC Craft blog for a chance to win a materials kit and knitting tote! In the meantime, we're talking about jute today. I love thinking creatively about new materials or techniques to solve design problems. When I set out to make a pair of slippers that were inspired by boat shoes and espadrilles, I figured I try the very same material that espadrilles are made from- jute. I bought my jute at Ace Hardware, but you can find it in the garden sections of most stores. 

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It's not something you'll find in your local yarn shop, but jute is an interesting material to consider when you're knitting something that needs to be rustic, sturdy, and richly textural. I think jute would also be good for knitting flat objects like coasters, or even a doormat or vessels like baskets and bags. In fact, I'm planning to offer a free pattern that uses jute and cotton to make a sweet mini-tote- stay tuned for that next week. There are also other footwear patterns that have used jute before, these crocheted sandals have always intrigued me. 

Now. Time for some real-talk. Jute is not a delightful material to work with. In fact, it's kinda awful. It doesn't glide through your hands like the most luscious, rich merino. It's like a hairier, rougher and generally more unpleasant linen. But happily, the sole is so small, the not-fun part of knitting is over quickly. Garter stitch and short row shaping make for a shapely, yet cushy sole, and  it's fun to see how quickly it develops. The garter-stitch edges make it easy to pick up the stitches for the cotton upper, which I'll talk about next week.