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Design your own knits: Pan(da)toufles, Part 3

By Caroline Leamon, one of two guest bloggers devoted to knitting for National Sweater Day. This is the third part of her blog post. You can also read part 1 and part 2.

At this point, you should have two almost-slippers that are gathered at the top (see last week’s post for the full pattern and instructions). Start by firmly pulling the yarn that you used to gather the stitches. Thread it through a tapestry needle and make a few stitches as shown above to close and reinforce the slipper’s toe. No need to worry too much about precision with these stitches as they are only meant to close the hole that appeared in the middle of the stitches when you gathered them. The toe should look something like this when you’ve finished this step:

From here, working with the same piece of yarn still threaded through the tapestry needle, use mattress stitch to sew the outer edges of the rows together for 1.5 inches. See the photos below for more guidance.

Mattress stitch (also known as “vertical weaving”) involves weaving under the threads between the first and second stitches on one side (as shown above) and then bringing the needle to the other side and weaving under the threads between the first and second stitches on that side (as shown below).

If you’re unfamiliar with mattress stitch and need more in-depth instructions, there are lots of great tutorials online that go into much more detail. Google “mattress stitch” and you will discover plenty of resources that will help you find your way. When you’ve mattress-stitched for an inch and a half (which should be for the full width of the top white stripe), fasten your yarn securely and weave the loose ends through. Your finished toe will look like this:

And now for the final step: the heel! Fold the back edge of your piece together and sew the heel seam, working from the fold to the outer edges as pictured below.

Weave in all loose ends, repeat everything for the second slipper, and you should end up with a lovely pair of (almost) pandatoufles! Victory!

So how are we going to incorporate our original WWF logo inspiration and make these black and white slippers into pandatoufles? I’m going to leave it up to you, dear readers, to answer this question. Now that you have a very nice basic pair of slippers, it’s time to figure out how you’ll decorate them to make them your own. Maybe you want to use some felt, embroidery thread, and buttons to make a panda version of classic children’s bunny-rabbit slippers. Or maybe you want to do something a little less literal, focusing more on the bamboo aspect of our inspiration for your decorations. Craft stores, fabric stores, and your own closets are all great places to find ideas and materials to help you customize your slippers. For me, this is always the most exciting part of any project, so enjoy brainstorming and don’t rush the process – above all, it should be fun!

Next week, I will show you a few different interpretations of the pandatoufles theme, complete with instructions for making each of the decorations that I use. For now, I’m making some “bamboo,” using single crochet and some scrap yarn from an old project. We’ll see how it turns out next week. Until then, I wish you luck with your own hunt for inspiration and materials. Happy decorating!

*Template pattern source: “Posy Striped Slippers,” from Laura Long and Melissa Halvorson’s book Handmade Underground Knitwear: 25 Fun Projects for All Seasons (Wiley Publishing, 2009).