Blanket Ankle Boots Tutorial: Part Two

In part one of the tutorial, I shared the materials and tools, knitting, sewing and template-making. Today I'll cover how to stitch together the sole and attach it to the boot. Making the sole requires the use of saddle stitch, a leatherworking technique which makes very sturdy stitches that won't unravel even if one stitch is broken. To prepare for this type of stitching, cut a 40" long piece of thread and thread *both* ends with needles. 

To advance to the next step in the slideshow, just click on the image. 


Comment

Blanket Ankle Boots: A Tutorial, part one

I'm pretty psyched about this project you guys. One of the main reasons I got started on this slipper path was because for a while I was obsessed with trying to make my own shoes. I did make some awesome sandals that Laura and I still wear, but I took a huge detour in the form of The Knitted Slipper Book once I started exploring felted wool footwear, as slippers seemed a natural fit for that material. But now it seems I've come full circle as I've figured out how to add custom sturdy *outside* soles to slippers. This means there's no reason for me to have cold toes all winter. It means not having to remove my favorite slippers to trek outside. It means I don't have to purchase another pair of cute but flimsy "made in China" boots to get me through another winter. It's heady stuff, and I can tell that this is just the first of many pairs of slipper/shoe hybrids I plan to make for this winter. 

IMG_3540.jpg

These are the Blanket Ankle Boots, trimmed with a special piece of thrifted weaving I've been saving. They are made from thick and sturdy felted wool and have a leather and natural rubber sole that is hand-stitched in place. The pattern is based on the Renaissance Boots from The Knitted Slipper Book. Incidentally, the socks that are peeking out the top of these boots are the Slouch Socks, another pattern from the book.  

The natural rubber and leather soles transform these into actual shoes, I don't think they look like slippers anymore. Since you trace your foot to make the soles, they fit perfectly, and it also means you don't need any fancy shoemaking tools to make these. 

I think these boots will be perfect for knocking around this fall and winter. Would you like to make some of your own? I'll be posting the tutorial over the next two days, so read on! Today I'll cover the knitting pattern alteration, blanket cuff sewing and first part of the sole assembly. On Tuesday, I'll add the tutorial for sewing the sole together and attaching it to the slipper boot. 

Let's get started! 

The body for this boot is a simple pattern, knit like a extra-large simple sock with a quick short-row heel. Since you're felting them, the short rows are easy to knit because you don't have to pick up your wraps- they disappear upon felting! Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica yarn felts up thick and lusciously. I used a vintage piece of weaving for my boot cuff, but you could use a favorite scrap of fabric you have squirreled away, or maybe a funky woven fringed placemat. Other than that, you'll need a scrap of thin leather and a piece of rubber soling. In the supplies and tools section below, I link to sources for the specialized supplies and tools. Because some of these materials can be tricky to find, I'm thinking about offering kits of leather, rubber, and the special heavy waxed nylon thread. Let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in this and I'll put some kits together. 

Supplies and tools

Supplies

  • Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica: 3 skeins (since the pattern is shorter now, you *might* be able to make a pair with 2 skeins.
  • Fabric for cuff- 2 pieces that measure about 6"x16" each- including fringe, if present. 
  • Button and craft thread
  • Thin leather piece, about 12"x12" I use leather upholstery samples for this. 
  • Rubber soling. This is hard to find-  I bought a whole bunch directly from the manufacturer. Simple Shoemaking sells something similar, I think the material I have is a bit thicker.
  • Waxed nylon thread
  • Nontoxic contact cement

Tools

To make the Blanket Ankle Boots 

Felt and shape the boots as written in the book, but knit only 50 (53, 53) rows before turning the heel. After felting, turn down a 2" cuff on the boots to add stability and extra warmth. This also allows for flexibility when you add your blanket piece. I used a vintage piece of weaving, and it was smallish. I folded the cuff down so the weaving fit perfectly on the body of the leg. 

I'm trying something new for this tutorial, and have added a photo slideshow for the how-to steps. To advance to the next step, click on the photo. Tomorrow, I'll continue this tutorial and show how to finish up the sole and attach it to the boot. 

Knitting Daily TV Series 1300

Back in February I travelled to sunny and warm Cleveland, Ohio to film a segment for the newest season of Knitting Daily TV with Vickie Howell. It was a great experience to meet some fellow designers and to work with Vickie and other knitting pros. I had a lot of fun chatting with Heather ZoppettiJoanna Johnson and Lauren Riker, who were also in town to film segments for the show. Working from home, it's sometimes difficult to feel connected to the knitting world, so it was especially nice to spend time with these talented women. 

Here are some shots from my "vintage" iPod, the only camera I brought with me. 

The series is now beginning to air on PBS stations and it's also available to purchase on DVD or digital download.  I'm in Episode 1311- Foot Forward. Here's a preview for that episode:

In my segment I demonstrate how to felt and assemble the Sunday Morning Scuffs from The Knitted Slipper Book. It was fun to make these slippers in a new and cozy colorway- they look so different from the samples in the book.

You'll have to check your local PBS listings to find out when the new series airs in your area. From the looks of the production calendar that was in the green room, the series is full of some really stellar guests and great projects-  I'm looking forward to catching up on the whole series soon!

Comment

Tangents

Katie's Tangents

We went camping as a family this week. Raftless, but with a borrowed rowboat, we stayed at Holly Bay Campground on Laurel River Lake. It was a super break, and only an hour's drive away. Since we went mid-week, we basically had the lake to ourselves. It was our first time camping as a family for more than one night, and I think we will definitely go camping again. 

Two successes of the trip were my camp kitchen setup- made totally from materials scrounged from my garage and messily in-use in this photo, 

and the hammock I made from a thrifted sheet using these directions. Wish I had made one for each of us! It was in high-demand. 

I had time to stitch and finished an Alabama Chanin style corset that I plan to overdye with indigo to tone down the bright blue. 

Laura's Tangents

My family has been in vacation mode too-only we headed to Chicago to visit Stirider's brother, Jamon. We had such a great time. It was fantastic to experience the city with someone who lives there and loves it. We did all sorts of touristy stuff like an architectural boat tour,

visited the (free!) zoo and conservatory, and spent an entire day at the Museum of Science and Industry, where we toured a U boat and a streamlined train from the 30's-but what really made an impression on me were two much smaller objects-the sweepers clock video installation, and a vintage plywood model for a proposed exhibit.

Hope your summer thus far has also included a break from the ordinary and plenty of knitting by the water!


2 Comments

In progress

Katie's projects

I started an Alabama Chanin style dress last Thursday and finished stitching it yesterday, so it's not really in progress, but here's a dress I made, dirty mirror and all- 

It's the short dress from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design and I'm planning to overdye the plain beige with indigo. This dress is made from two layers of a cotton jersey sheet I thrifted. I hit the jackpot last week and found 5 (!) flat jersey sheets at one thrift shop. This project was a bit of a trial and made me use up some of my new sheets because right now I'm not quite the size I'm accustomed to usually being, and I'm not getting skinnier! Anyway, I first made the size medium (using a different sheet) and it was too small. Then I made the size XL and it was too big. Just like Goldilocks, the size large was just right, and it was super fast to sew together. I made a mistake when I cut out the front panels, cutting them to tunic length instead of dress length, so I improvised-

I'm happy with the diagonal seam detail. Now that I figured out the sizing, I may make an embellished dress with some of the nice fabric I bought when we visited Alabama. But first, I'm making a jersey "muslin" of the corset from the first Alabama Chanin book. The sizing standards are different between the first and last books, so I am trying the size medium for this corset. It's another sheet, two layers, and I just started it today. 

If this ends up fitting me, I might try to overdye it too. Around here, lots of people wear royal blue all the time because it's the color for the University of Kentucky. So if I were to wear this royal blue tank around town, I'd blend right in! Hmmm, maybe a wildcat stencil is in order. (Just kidding...)  

A while ago I blogged about wanting to make a good little tool bag. Well I think I've found a good tool container and I didn't even have to make it. It's a thin vintage cigar box that I found when organizing my studio last week. 

It's tied with a jersey pull from Alabama Chanin and is outfitted with both knitting and stitching supplies- so handy to have all in one place, why did I never make a tool box before?! 

1 Comment

Tangents

Laura's Tangents

Really appreciated this post of Ann Wood's on working through the doldrums.

I made another one of my knit yoke tops this week. Such a quick knit and a tiny bit of sewing. The free pattern is here.

I harvested my yellow storage onions-I've got quite a bit of braiding to do...

Katie's Tangents

We're getting ready to do some canning, so Iwas delighted to receive bunches of canning jars that a friend found in her shed. Avery helped me sort the six-dozen plus jar collection.

IMG_3140.jpg

They'll just need some scrubbing up and then they'll be good as new. 

I'm starting a few plants for Fall growing, trying transplanted beets instead of direct-sowing...

I've been walking up to our community garden early in the morning and both my dogs have happily been accompanying me- I can't get a non-blurry photo when we're walking, but wanted to share my morning view. 

Comment