First off, let me say that I am by no means an accomplished knitter. I promise you, before this pair of slippers you see, the only things I had knitted were 8 small wonky squares: a feeble attempt to make a knitted patchwork blanket. Knitting a scarf seemed like far to long a project to take on, and I didn’t dare think of attempting anything with purling or ribbing etc.. So, if you think knitting isn’t your thing, but you like the look of these cosy slippers, stay with me!! You can do this!!
It was my work colleague that taught me how to make these slippers. She proudly brought them in one Monday showing off her lovely weekend handiwork! I was so impressed, but scoffed at her when she said I could do it. The next day I was still pretty in awe of the slippers and we went to the wool shop at lunch time to pick out some wool for me! See, she persuaded me that I’d be able to manage because you just have to knit a flat rectangle. There is purling and ribbing involved – all the thing I had steered well clear off – but she assured me that all I had to do was watch a YouTube videos a few times and I’d be well away!
We both now have a pair of cosy office slippers for sitting at our desks, and it made me think about comfort at work in general. Obviously there are things that are really important that we don’t have a great influence over, like: core work hours; how long you have to stare at a computer for; or physical comfort in temperature and noise levels. I suppose I’m thinking more about what we can do to ease psychological pressures of the work place. I’ve read that pyschological comfort is an extension of human desire to have a degree of control over our immediate physical environment. While improving psychological comfort may not directly boost your productivity, it can boost your mood, help relax your mind and increase feelings of contentment in your workplace. Most importantly, depending on the strictness of your employee (woop if you’re self-employed!) there are varying degrees of things that we can do (take control of) to better our emotional comfort! I’ve come up with a little list of things that I want to do at my little desk space:
- Introduce a little nature to my desk – as well as improving the air quality and looking nice, some studies have even found that negative feelings are 30-60% lower within offices with plant life.
- Make time for a bit of fika – I love a nice cup of coffee but our office only has instant and is a bit of a walk to town. It would be so easy for me to buy a cheap cafetiere and share a coffee break with colleagues. As well as getting a cup of good coffee, I’ll also be having a break and resting my eyes for a while.
- Bring in a little lap blanket – sometimes you just have a chilly day and yet everyone else wants the aircon blasting out. Having control over your temperatures increases both your psychological and physical comfort.
- Drink more water – this is a biggy for me.. I simply don’t drink enough, or frequently enough, and staying hydrated can only be good for your mind. I am going to bring in a litre water bottle and aim to drink it steadily throughout the day – I might even mark lines on the side like little targets!
- Bring in a picture of a beautiful natural view I love – it’s well documented that access to the natural world improves psychological wellbeing and even a picture is said to help. I’m also going to try and step out the office at lunch for some fresh air every day.
- And … lastly … give my feet a break from shoes and wear my cosy slippers! – ditching the thick soles and having your feet more grounded on the floor can help you feel more calm and stable in body and mind.
First you’ll need to choose your wool, I chose this moderately chunky grey suitable for 6mm needles.
Cast on 28 stitches for a small (UK 5 or less), 32 stitches for a medium (UK 6 – 8), or 36 stitches (UK 8+). I used the tail casting on method and started this process with about a metre of wool as the tail. This will leave you with some left over after you’ve cast on that you can use to sew the slipper up later.
No matter what size you’re knitting, the rest of the method is the same regardless. I’m going to chat through the method for beginners like me, but click here if you want to jump straight to the summary pattern.
Knit, garter stitch, for 5 inches. This should be 5 inches when you stretch your knitting a bit, as it’s going to stretch on your foot when you walk about in them, and you don’t want them to fall off!
Once you’ve done your 5 inches of knitting (great for getting into the swing of things!) you’re going to do K1,P1 ribbing. I found this tricky at first because you have your ‘working thread’ on the opposite side when you are knitting to when you are purling. I didn’t really clock this having done full rows of knitting or purling before but never alternating between them – I’d really recommend watching a youtube video showing ribbing like this or this.
Continue with the ribbing until your piece, stretched out a bit, reaches the middle of your toes.
Now ‘K2 tog’, pick up two stitches with your needle (rather than one) and knit the whole row like this. You should now have half the number of stitches to the number you cast on at the beginning. Do this for one more row. This tapers the end of your knitting to fit your toes!
Lastly, cast off your knitting. Cut your wool leaving about 30 cm for sewing up the slipper.
To form your slipper, fold your first knitted row in half and sew to form the heel. Then sew the edges of your knitting together, from the gathered toe end, to the transition from ribbing to knitting. That’s it! Now you can embellish your slipper however you like, slip them on, and prance around!
Cast on 32 stitches (28, 36)
Garter stitch until you have 5 inches of rows.
Start ribbing (K1, P1) until the piece (slightly stretched out) is the length from your heel to the middle of your toes.
K2 tog across row, 16 (14, 18) st remaining.
Repeat K2 tog for one more row, 8 (7, 9) st remaining.
I embellished my slippers with some tassels around the top. These are super easy to make! Just wrap some embroidery thread around a fork about 12 times. Then cut a length of the thread and wrap it around your tassel under the top fork prong – as in the photo below.
Tie this tightly, then slip your tassel off the fork and cut ends of the thread (of the long end of the tassel). To attached them to my slipper I just threaded the tassels (through the small top loop) onto my grey wool as I did a running stitch around the top of the slipper.