Family, Friendship, Knitting, Religion

Good Shabbos, Good Slippers: From Warm Hearts to Warm Feet

Vanilla Challah by Katrin Gilger

I returned home late Saturday night from a new and wonderful experience–spending the Jewish Sabbath with a delightful family and friends who, until now, I’d known only online.  My friends are shomer Shabbos, when means that they observe the Jewish commandments regarding the Sabbath, and they follow the rituals that govern it from nightfall on Friday until nightfall on Saturday.  They welcome friends and guests, both non-observant Jews and people of other or no, faith, and they are incredibly kind and patient in their explanations of their own faith, and the reasons for their rituals and beliefs.  I felt completely at home, felt privileged to participate in the ceremonies to the extent that was permissible, really enjoyed the splendid and carefully-prepared food (oh, the food!), and was grateful to feel so much a part of the family upon such short in-real-life acquaintance.  I must not have made too much of a mess of things, because I’m invited back, and I’ll look forward eagerly to that day.

Then I drove home.  (On a practical note, the trip afforded me the opportunity to give my new car its first real road test.  It’s a Nissan Rogue Sport, and performed flawlessly.  I really like it, it gets decent gas mileage, is quite peppy, and is easy to drive.  For my own part, I would be happy with a car that was basically a shoebox with wheels that went forwards and backwards on command, (this is why I loved my 12-year old Nissan Cube so much), but of course my new car has all the bells and whistles and computers and cameras that seem mandatory these days.  I figure that in 15 or 20 years I might have figured out how some of them work, if any of them still do.)  Still, good car, and I recommend it for someone who’s looking for a smallish, reasonably-priced (for today) all-wheel drive vehicle.

But I digress.  Imagine my surprise.

So, I got home.  And, unlike where I’d driven from, which seems to be two to three weeks behind me, weatherwise, it was damn damp and chilly.  So I turned the electric blanket on and fell into bed.  But I couldn’t stay there all day today (well, I suppose I could have, but I’m not wired that way), so I noticed, as I was puttering about in the morning, that my feet were cold.

I’m a knitter, so that’s not an unsolveable problem, and I had a quick look in my stash, found something I thought would work, and got going on Cathy Carron’s Ribby Slipper Socks, the pattern for which can be downloaded for a few bucks from Interweave at the link.  It’s probably available other places too, and I expect you can get it on Ravelry if you hold your mouth the right way and don’t identify yourself as someone their vaunted inclusivity and tolerance compels them to exclude and not tolerate.  (If you’re a knitter, you’ll know what I’m talking about; if you’re not, you’re better off remaining in blissful ignorance, for the next fortnight, anyway.)

The Ribby Slipper Socks aren’t my favorite kind of knitting.  I don’t generally do big needles and bulky yarn, but I wanted something that would knit up quickly (cold feet, remember?)  And a few short hours after I started, I was done:

I used two strands of yarn.  One was a three-ply heavy worsted from my favorite Canadian woolen mill, McAuslands, on Prince Edward Island.**  I had half a ball of that left from some flip-top mittens I’d knitted for Mr. Right many years ago.  And I had some Brown Sheep Company Lambs Pride.  I played around with needle size to get the stitch gauge right while knitting with both strands held together. (The row gauge isn’t that important, you just knit to length).  I used the larger needles and both strands held together for the foot portion, and then a smaller needle and just the Lamb’s Pride for the cuff.  You could probably use any really bulky yarn as a single, or combine other yarns to get it right.  (The McAuslands yarn is a hard-wearing, long lasting product.  It’s not the softest yarn in the basket, but it wears like iron.  Good for booties, gloves, mittens, etc. The Lambs Pride is fluffier and looser-spun.  Think about the durability of the yarn if you’re going to wear it on your feet.)

I’m very pleased with the results.  My feet are warmer, and my stash is just a teensy-bit smaller.



**If you want nice quality wool blankets, please take a look at McAuslands.  You can buy direct from the mill and they ship to the US.

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