Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crafting: Norwegian House Slippers Part IV ~ The Christmas Slippers

I like to get a little something for Rodney on St. Nicholas Day each year. This year I decided that I would make him a pair of Norwegian House Slippers. Little did I know the trials and tribulations the completing of those slippers would be!

As you may know, St. Nicholas Day is on the sixth of December. It is holiday where children put out their shoes and hope for a small gift from St. Nicholas in the night. I like to get Rodney something small and place in or on his shoes the next morning. It is almost always a surprise for him. I always languish over what to get him. Sometimes I get him lottery tickets, sometimes candy, but this year I thought I would just make him a sort of shoe! Not quite what the holiday calls for, but…

So about a week before Thanksgiving I set to work on making the slippers. First I had to find the right yarn. I wanted to make them in Iowa State colors, for he loves all things Iowa State, but I figured if he were to see a bag with yarns of those colors laying around he would know something was up. Instead I used a grey and cream twisted wool yarn from Patons (they call the color Grey Marl). For some strange reason I believed I would only need one skein, so that is all I bought on my first outing.

At first I thought I might knit the slippers, since the original pattern is actually knitted. Well, I started them that way, but I soon ripped them out. I figured that I was way too slow at knitting to get them done in time…this should have been a moment of foreshadowing for my brain, but no, I went on merrily in crochet. The next issue was how big to make them. You need to do a bit of guessing because you do not know how much the yarn is going to felt. I had felted some other projects in the same yarn, so I thought I was good to go.

I started crocheting. I got what I thought was almost one slipper done on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. At this point I realized that I would need two skeins of yarn. I figured I could pick one up the next day, and, even though Rodney would be home Thursday and Friday, I could get the slippers done and felted easily by the end of the next week.

Oh the best laid plans… The next day I did pick up the yarn, but I also got a phone call. By the end of the day I had a job and I would be going to work on the following Monday for what I thought was about twelve weeks. Hmmm….how was I going to get those slippers done now?

The following week I tried to crochet at lunch time, but that was not working. I was able to crochet for about an hour before Rodney came home, but I was not making much progress. About this point I realized I was not going to get the slippers done for St. Nicholas Day. So I had to contemplate what I could get him instead. I also realized that I would need yet another skein of yarn. I was getting worried that Rodney would ask why I needed more yarn when he only saw me working on hats for our niece. (I also thought he might realize something was up because Hawthorne would not leave the bag I was keeping the project in alone. We would be sitting watching TV and all of a sudden Hawthorne would be attacking the bag. I thought for sure Rodney would look to see what was in there that was so fascinating at some point!)

Niece hat #2. (My cellphone seems to have deleted 
pictures of hat #1. I will update the post if I can 
resolve that or get the niece to take a picture of it.)

So on St. Nicholas Day I put a Ritter Sport chocolate bar in Rodney’s lunch bag before I left for work. That day I made sure to eat lunch at my desk and to crochet my heart out. That afternoon I was told that the lady I was filling in for would be returning and that I would be done by Monday (yeah... ten days instead of 12 weeks). Well…at least now I knew I would have time to finish the slippers before Christmas. I possibly did not need to eat at my desk that day, however!

Now you would think that is where this story ends, but no. I finished the second slipper and I was about to sew them together when I realized that I had only crocheted six squares not the eight the pattern needs! So I set about adding to what I had already done. I was merrily crocheting away when I looked at the “L’s” I was making and realized that I was making “V’s”!  I had to rip out the new squares I had added. 

Finally they were done and I sewed them together. I expected them to be large, but not this large!

I think I could fit several feet in there!

I was a bit freaked out by this. What if they were too big? Would I have felt them several times? Would they ever shrink enough?

Well…I should not have worried. This is what they shrunk to:

Only one foot will fit now!

Now I was worried that they would not fit Rodney at all! They were tight on my foot. What could I do? And then an idea came to me. I would put on a pair of my flats and then put the still damp slippers on over them to dry. That worked like a charm! They dried well-formed and did stretch a bit. I was able to get them under the tree the Monday before Christmas.

The slippers are in the package to the right of
the tree that says "Merry Christmas".

Okay, you might think that is the end of the story, and it is sort of.  On Christmas Eve we left for my mom’s house. Rodney packed up the gifts we were taking with us there. It was decided that he would bring one of my gifts from him to open there because I had a gift for him already at my mom’s (it was this shaving set).  Well we got to the opening gifts portion of the night and when Rodney gave me my “gift” I said, “This looks familiar…” Then I noticed that it was actually the slippers. He had grabbed the wrong gift. I was going to make him wait to open it, but I wanted my mom to see the slippers.

Rodney was very surprised and could not figure out how I had got them done. And, you know what? I am not all that sure how I did either!


  1. Oh, what a wonderful and worth reading story of Rodney's slippers, it was a real adventure!

    By the way: Do you know that Ritter Sport is a German brand? It is even the best known chocolate bar here, and their advertising slogan is "Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut." ("Square. Practical. Good.")

    The shaving set looks absolutely great (but I have not used a bristle shaving brush yet so far).

  2. Congratulations for getting them done in time! I always have good intentions and did this year with a homemade gift, but just didn't get it done. What a great gift and I don't know how you managed to do it so it was a surprise to Rodney. Really enjoyed reading your story.