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.
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.