I’m on the road for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would share a project that’s good for traveling: knitted Mukluk slippers. They’re great for a cozy night on the sofa, and of course they make a great gift. I mean who doesn’t like toasty feet? So if you’re headed somewhere chilly, or have friends in cool climates, have fun knitting a pair of mukluk slippers.
You definitely don’t need to be an expert knitter, either. Any uneven stitches you have will practically disappear once they’re felted. If you do need a little knitting practice, though, try making some reusable makeup wipes.
Mukluk slippers knit-up really quickly, too, thanks to the huge needles. I had a long flight and a few train rides, so I’m definitely going to be able to give these to a host along the way. Don’t worry, I still have three other projects for the rest of the trip.
Supplies for a pair of mukluk slippers
Here’s what you need to make a pair of mukluk slippers in women’s size 7-9 (US) / 37-41 (EU):
- 200g bulky weight, 100% wool yarn. The amount of each color will depend upon the color pattern you use. For these slippers I used about 125g of the green yarn and about 75 grams of the white. The other colors were just scraps.
- Double pointed needles in size 11 (US)
- Darning needle
As long as you follow the stitch pattern, you can change colors whenever you like. To get a color pattern like the one I made, you will need four colors. These are the colors I used, with numbers assigned for reference:
- Green: color 1
- White: color 2
- Purple: color 3
- Blue: color 4
Mukluk slipper pattern
Making the cuff
Using color 1, loosely cast on 32 stitches. You want the cast-on edge to be loose because it will get a lot tighter when felted. Next, join the yarn so you are knitting in the round. Place a stitch marker to mark the beginning, and knit 1 round.
Next, make the top of the cuff by working 10 rounds in knit 1, purl 1 rib. Then, switch to color 2 and knit 6 rounds. Now it’s time to use up some scrap yarn with a fun little color pattern.
How to make the pattern on the cuff
Of course you can use any color pattern you like. Here is the pattern I used for my mukluks:
- First, knit 1 round in color 3.
- Then, change to color 2 and knit 1 round.
- Now work 1 round in alternating colors, like this: knit 1 stitch with color 2, then knit 1 stitch with color 4. Repeat this pattern for the whole round.
- Next, change back to color 2 and knit 1 round.
- Last, knit 1 round in color 3.
Now change back to color 2 and knit 8 rounds.
In the next round, you will decrease two stitches to make the ankle a little more snug. To do that, knit 2 stitches, then knit 2 stitches together. Now knit to the last 4 stitches. Then knit 2 stitches together and knit the last 2 stitches. You should now have 30 stitches.
Now knit 7 more rounds, stopping 5 stitches before the end of the round. This is the start of the heel.
Mukluk slipper heel
Slip those 5 stitches and the next 6 stitches (11 total) onto one needle to form the heel. Now switch back to color 1 for the heel and foot. Make the heel flap using a two row repeat pattern as follows:
- Row 1: knit 11 stitches, then turn.
- Row 2: purl 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch. Repeat these two stitches 4 more times until 1 stitch remains. Purl the last stitch, then turn.
Repeat these two rows 8 times, for 16 total rows. Now, turn the heel so the right side is facing you.
On the next row, slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch. Knit to the last 2 stitches and knit them together. Turn, then repeat the purl 1, slip 1 pattern from the heel flap until 1 stitch remains. Purl that stitch and turn.
Repeat these two rows one more time. There will now be 7 stitches on that needle. Knit one row and get ready to pick up stitches for the heel gusset.
Making the heel gusset
If you used a different color for the heel, switch to color 1 now.
Pick up and knit 10 stitches along the side of the heel. Knit across the next 19 stitches. Pick up and knit 10 stitches along the other side of the heel and knit 3 stitches from the heel onto this needle.
You will now have 46 stitches. They should be divided so there are 14 stitches on the first needle, 19 stitches on the second needle, and 13 stitches on the third needle. Now knit one round.
Heel gusset pattern
Make the heel gusset by repeating these two rounds:
- Round 1: knit to the last 3 stitches on needle one. Then knit 2 stitches together and knit the last stitch. Knit across all 19 stitches on needle two. On needle three, knit 1 stitch, then slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, and pass the slipped stitch over this knit stitch. Knit to the end of needle three.
- Round 2: knit all the stitches
Repeat these two rounds 7 times, for 14 rounds total. You will now have 32 stitches.
Making the foot
This part goes really fast. Just continue knitting for about 20 rounds. The foot of the slipper should be the same length as the foot you want it to fit. Measure from the back of the heel to the needles.
Making the toe
The next step is the toe decrease. Before you start, move the stitches around a little so there are 8 stitches on needles one and three, and 16 stitches on needle two. Do this by slipping stitches from needle two onto the other two needles. Check to see that the toe is generally centered on the heel, and adjust the stitches as necessary.
If you want a different color for the toe, now is the time to switch to it.
Make the toe by repeating the following two rounds:
- Round 1: knit to the last 3 stitches on needle one. Then knit 2 stitches together and knit the last stitch. On needle two, knit 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over this knit stitch. Knit to the last three stitches. Then knit 2 stitches together and knit the last stitch. On needle three, knit 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over this knit stitch. Knit to the end of needle three.
- Round 2: knit all the stitches.
Repeat these two rounds until 8 stitches remain. Graft the remaining stitches together. I like to use a Kitchener Stitch bind-off for this part. There is a good tutorial for it here.
Now make a second mukluk slipper to match the first one.
Finishing your mukluk slippers
Weaving in the ends
After grafting the toes, weave-in any loose ends. If you dislike this step as much as I do, don’t worry: it’s a lot easier when you’re felting. That’s because felting will hold the yarn together, so you only need to weave the ends in a few times. I also like to use this step to align the colors where the rounds start and end. By pulling the colors together, and following the color pattern as you weave in the ends, you can make the join almost invisible:
Once your ends are all woven-in, you can move on to the final step: felting.
Felting your mukluk slippers
Felting is a very inexact science, so don’t worry about it too much, just kind of go with it. Start by washing your mukluk slippers in a normal load of laundry, with soap, on low spin. This will strip the lanolin from the fibers so they felt better. For some detailed information about felting, read the Creatorvox post on felted coasters.
Normally you want to felt both of your slippers at the same time, but I did these separately to show how they look before and after:
When you remove your mukluk slippers from the washer, they will only be a little felted. Most of the felting happens in the dryer. The next step is to dry your mukluk slippers in the tumble dryer on medium heat. Remove them from the dryer and check the sizing. They should be smaller and a bit felted, but still too big to wear. That means they need another round in the dryer.
Shrinking your mukluk slippers to fit
To get a good fit with your mukluks, re-wet them, and dry them again on medium heat. This time when you remove them from the dryer, they should fit well. If they’re still too big, you can wet and dry them a third time.
The benefit of a third round in the dryer is that it usually achieves maximum shrinkage. That means you can wash and dry your mukluk slippers in a regular load of laundry going forward. The risk is that a third round in the dryer may shrink them too much. If you know someone with smaller feet who might like a cozy pair of mukluks, I’d go ahead and try a third round of felting.
Tips and tricks
- If you are unsure how much yarn you have in a particular color, you can still make identical slippers. Just weigh each color, then divide it in half. An easy way to do this is to unwind the loose end of a ball of yarn into a new ball that is attached to the original ball. When you have about an equal amount of yarn in both balls, weigh each ball and wind, or unwind, yarn as necessary until they are the same weight. Then cut the yarn to separate the balls.
- To care for your mukluks, it’s safest to wash them by hand and let them air dry. Of course if you achieved maximum shrinkage in the dryer, then you can wash them in the machine.
I love how cozy they are for lounging around. Time to put mine on, and get comfy with a good book. Have fun inventing color patterns for your mukluk slippers. Anything goes, so go wild, and bust that yarn stash!
As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to Creatorvox to get new posts right in your email. You can also follow Creatorvox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more tips and tricks between posts. Thanks for reading, and happy making!