The Tootsie Toasters have a moment

tootsie toasters slipper pattern

The Internet is the most delightful place, I swear. My Mom finds out I’m knitting and digs up a funny old typewritten, hand-annotated pattern from her youth — “Knit these TV slippers in 5 hours with only …” — and next thing you know it’s one of the 20 “Hot Right Now” patterns on Ravelry. If you were following along at the time,* Meg and Jo and I decided to knit it up and see what it made. Meg had an idea for a better way to do the toe cap. She wrote it up, knitted a sample for her store, and posted it as a free PDF on Ravelry, and voilà: a big moment for “TV slippers.” This amuses me more than I can say.

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*If you weren’t and you’re interested, the Toaster posts can be found right here.

Two right feet

tootsie toasters tv slipper aunt lydia's
tootsie toasters heel how to

I now have two completed Tootsie Toasters, using Meg’s in-the-round toe strategy, but I can’t quite figure it out. I’ve done the decrease on the toe cap of the second slipper three times, three different ways, and no matter what I try, it swirls to the right, just like the first one. Meg pulled it off, but even following her instructions* I didn’t get the same result. I finally just went ahead and finished it off regardless, because my feet are cold and these are surprisingly cute and cozy. And because I really want to alter the pattern, so I’ll be doing a different take on it anyway.

As seen in the in-progress shots, for me the change in stitch pattern results in a scalloped edge, which meant putting the heel end together required a little more finesse than just seaming straight down the back. I whipstitched the two sides together, then tucked in the little resulting pooch, creating a heel like you see on a moccasin. Then I carefully stitched that closed from the outside, gathering together one leg of a stitch from above and one from below, invisibly weaving it all together. Finally, I folded the little triangular flap up against the back wall of the slipper and did the same thing, causing that flap to disappear into the mesh of the fabric.

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*She did a k2tog at the beginning of each round for one toe. Then for the other, on each round, slipped the last stitch from needle 3 onto needle 1 before k2tog’ing those two. At least that’s how I understand it, but it didn’t wind up looking any different for me than the first one. Maybe she’ll elaborate in the comments?

(Update Feb ’12: Meg has posted her revisions of this pattern as a free PDF on Ravelry. To see all the Tootsie Toaster-related posts, click here.)

tootsie toasters tv slipper aunt lydia'stootsie toasters heel detail

The saga of the slipper socks

tootsie toasters slipper sock knitted
tootsie toaster knitted slipper sock

Between this, that and the other thing, I decided late Sunday it was time to attempt something in the realm of sock construction. I bought this Turkish Bed Socks pattern and sat up into the wee hours knitting it out of some bright green, variegated (!) Noro yarn I bought at the Tokyo Fish Market, adjusting for worsted weight yarn and size 6 needles. I slightly underestimated the cast-on edge and then overcompensated on the instep and wound up with something fit for a large man. But well-made! So Monday night I frogged it and went back to the half-finished Tootsie Toaster — ripped out the toe section and redid it in the round. Reader, my right foot has never been happier. This toaster has no mate yet, so for now I’m just carrying it around on a pillow like Cinderella’s slipper.

Knit, Crochet, Embroider and Braid with Aunt Lydia’s Heavy Rug Yarn!

It’s here! It’s here! American Thread Co’s Star Book No. 173.

Turns out the slippers in this particular pamphlet — see spread two and the top shelf on the cover — are not the same as those that got passed around as “Tootsie Toasters.” These are two-tone, and either crocheted or a combination of knit and crochet. I kind of like them. I definitely like the Diamond Rug.

And don’t pretend you don’t want matching crocheted French Poodle covers for your hairspray, toilet paper and Scotch bottle. Nobody’s buying it.


“Tootsie Toasters” in progress

tootsie toasters knitted slipper socks in progress

As you may have seen, a few of us are attempting to knit the Tootsie Toasters — aka slipper socks — loosely detailed in that previously-posted, vintage, typewritten pattern from my mother’s archives. I took a first pass at it Saturday night, going with the large dimensions, and made a short-sighted decision about how to adjust for the incorrect stitch count. I’d added to the purl count instead of increasing the sl.1/k1 repeat, but Jo set me straight yesterday. I also determined, in the process, that the large would be too big for my size 10s anyway, so I started over yesterday afternoon with a CO of 29 stitches but then knit the pattern rows until I had just shy of 8 inches. Pictured above is how far I got: ready to cinch that last row of stitches together for the toe and then seam it up. However, I’m not at all happy with how the edges of the toe portion look, where I was knitting or purling two together at the beginning of each row. (What’s the more elegant way to do this?) And in the meantime, Meg finished multiple versions and came up with the brilliant notion to do the toe cap in the round. (I’ll post details soon.) So I think I’ll rip back to the start of the ribbing and try that. Meg also did a 3-needle bind-off for the heel, which is a technique I’ve been looking for an excuse to learn.

If you’re giving this a go, let’s hear about it in the comments.

(Update Feb ’12: Meg has posted her revisions of this pattern as a free PDF on Ravelry. To see all the Tootsie Toaster-related posts, click here.)

My mother, the knitter

tootsie toasters knitting pattern

So it turns out my endlessly crafty mother was a knitter. For a period of my childhood she was knitting afghans, in particular — multi-colored scalloped rows of yarn. I have no idea how I managed to forget this.

The funny part is how it came up. I picked them up at the airport Christmas morning and brought them back to our loft, where my sister and her family were hanging out. Out of the blue, as we’re getting ready to tackle our little pile of presents, Mom says brightly to me, “I thought about finishing up that latch-hook Santa and wrapping it up for you for Christmas!” She did not yet know that I’ve added knitting to my repertoire, didn’t know this blog existed, and we have never spoken of that half-hooked Santa in all the intervening years. (It’s hilarious that she still has it. They have moved since then!) So I pulled out my iPhone and called up the post where I’d been talking about it, and we laughed, and I finally confessed I’m knitting and gave her the cowl I’d secretly made her.

Their first morning back home, my dad sent me an email with the scanned pattern above: Tootsie Toasters! Complete with my mom’s marginalia. I can’t make any sense of it. (Can you? Decipher for me in the comments if so!) But I’m dying to know what “AUNT LYDIA’S” HEAVY RUG YARN looked like.

(Update: Some of us are taking a swing at this mysterious pattern. See the comments for more.)

(Update Feb ’12: Meg has posted her revisions of this pattern as a free PDF on Ravelry. To see all the Tootsie Toaster-related posts, click here.)

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Here’s Mom in her Christmas cowl. It’s Cirilia Rose‘s cozy Columbia Cowl done in Malabrigo Chunky, in the fabulous and impossible to photograph color called Tuareg; details on Ravelry.

Love you, Mom!