The same Grandma who taught me to knit also taught me to crochet. And I can not express enough how grateful I am for this skill. If you can neither knit nor crochet and would like to learn I would recommend starting with crochet. It is just so easy. No stitches to drop or long needles holding hundreds of stitches. Just one hook, one loop and a handful of basic stitches and you are away.
I rekindled my crochet skills about 15 years ago when I lived in Wanaka for the winters and made ‘beanies’ to fit snugly under my snowboarding helmet. Crocheting was a great way to endure the long cold nights in front of the fire. These days I have honed my skills to make baby booties and hats. And with a whisper of winter in the air I wanted to make my son Teo (16 months) a pair of snugly slippers he can wear around the house. Not all of our floors are insulated (yet) and the poor wee guy is the closest to the ground. At least I can keep his feet warm.
As Teo is still a little wobbly on his feet I wanted the soles to have some sticking ability. I knew wool soles would be too slippery on our rimu floors. We had several pairs of baby slippers with sheepskin soles so set out to replicate these. I headed to our local sheepskin shop (we do live in the land of the sheep down here), and right there next to the counter was a box of 2nd’s sheepskin innersoles (adult size) at $4 a pair. Perfect. Once home I made a game out of drawing around our feet so I could get the imprint of Teo’s foot. I then made a cutout of his foot, making it a uniform shape (no left and right, just one shape for both feet) and adding a 5mm (1/4 inch) buffer to account for the holes. I traced this onto to the sheepskin (getting two little soles out of one adult inner sole) and cut it out. And as the fur was quite long I trimmed this back a little to remove some of the bulk.
The next conundrum was how to make the holes in the suede soles. The lady at the sheepskin shop told me I would need a leather punch that would cost a minimum $50.00. Not convinced this was my only option I headed to Spotlight to look for a hand punch (pictured above). I was told at the store it wouldn’t be strong enough (the packet stated it was for making confetti) and I tossed up whether to spend $11.00 on potentially something that wouldn’t work. But sheepskin suede is quite soft so I threw caution to the wind and took the chance. As I prepared to make my first hole I braced myself for failure… it worked, popping through the suede with no effort at all. So I got popping, spacing the holes approx. 5mm apart and 3mm from the edge (38 holes in total in each sole). I wasn’t too strict about this, just making sure they were evenly spaced.
Then I started crocheting. Now I have to be honest here, I did struggle with the pattern. At first I tried making them with my rather limited knowledge and every time I got as far as shaping the top of the foot I got stumped. After
several many attempts I was starting to wonder if I would make the boots in time for winter (there was lots of eye rolling from my other half). Enter the power of Goggle and I came across these rain boots that looked similar to what I was trying to achieve but with a separate crocheted sole. Bingo, I would skip the sole and crochet straight onto the sheepskin soles.
Crochet Slipper Boots with a Sheepskin Sole
Below is the pattern I followed. I adapted it a little to the original rain boot to fit my sons foot. If you know the basic crochet stitches (single crochet and half double crochet) you will be able to make these. I have included several links to YouTube videos for instructions on some of the stitches.
Please note: As the number of holes will be different for each individual foot (I made 38 holes in each sole), I haven’t added the exact stitch numbers instead the instructions for shaping the top of the foot. The pattern that follows can be applied to a slipper boot with a sole length of 11 – 13cm. If you want to make these for bigger feet you will need to experiment with the number of single crochet rows at the base, and the repeats in the shaping pattern. For example, I also made a pair for my 3-year-old daughter (15cm length/ 42 holes in the sole) and added an extra row of single crochet at the base of the slipper (3 rows in total). These are quick to make so if you have to undo a few rows it is not a biggie to get the right fit. Next up will be an adult size pair for me.
You will need:
50g ball 8ply wool – I doubled up two x 4 ply balls of reused wool
3mm hole punch (I used Fiskars Soft Grip Hand Punch)
4mm crochet hook for crocheting onto the base
5mm crochet hook
Row 1: Hold the sheepskin sole so the fur is facing up. Starting at the middle of the heel, SC into each hole of the sheepskin sole. You want to end up with a pattern as on the bottom of the boot pictured above. To achieve this: with a loop on the hook, poke the crochet hook through the hole, yarn over then pull the loop and hook through the hole (you will now have two loops on the hook), yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops. Repeat all the way round. Finish with a slip stitch to join the row. CH 1.
Row 2: SC into both of the loops on top of the furry side of the sole. Working round. Slip stitch to join the row. CH 1.
Row 3: SC entire row. Slip stitch to join the row. CH 1. (Note: If making a bigger slipper add an extra row or two of SC here to accommodate bigger toes.)
Top of foot shaping pattern: Note the exact number of stitches to the toe will vary for each individual slipper. I single crochet (SC) to just before the curve of the toe begins then count out the number of stitches I need to disperse evenly over the toe. i.e. 14 stitches for row 4.
Row 4: SC to curve of toe. (HDC2tog, 1HDC)x4, HDC2tog. SC to end of row. Join with a slip stitch. CH 1.
Row 5: SC to curve of toe. (HDC2tog, 1HDC)x3, HDC2tog. SC to end of row. Join with a slip stitch. CH 1.
Row 6: SC to curve of toe. (HDC2tog, 1HDC)x3, HDC2tog. SC to end of row. Join with a slip stitch. CH 1.
Row 7: SC to curve of toe. (HDC2tog, 1HDC)x2, HDC2tog. SC to end of row. Join with a slip stitch. CH 1.
Row 8-10: HDC entire row. Join with a slip stitch. CH 1.
Row 11: SC entire row. Join with a slip stitch and fasten off.
Tidy up loose ends and you are ready to wear. Good luck, I would love to hear if you make these or something similar. And please comment below if you have any queries about the pattern. This is my first time writing a crochet pattern so hoping it all makes sense.
P.S. In case you are wondering, yes the soles are pink. That is what you get when you buy 2nd’s. Though I suspect they won’t be pink for long.