Norwegian house slippers

If you’re relatively new to knitting, you’ll love this simple felting project, based on a classic Norwegian design.

Below are dummy-proof instructions on how to turn this:

into this:

This is a felting project, which means that after you do the knitting and folding/sewing, you will wash the slipper in hot water and shrink it down to about 50-75% of its size.

You will be knitting an “L” that is six squares long and three squares across. Start by choosing your colors and make a note of them on a piece of paper.

Use standard worsted-weight wool, size 10 (6mm) needles.
For a small child’s slipper, try 14 knit stitches across. For an older child, 16 stitches. For an adult, 18-20.

The number of rows may not match the number of stitches, since some people knit more tightly than others. You should try to keep your patches as square as possible, but this is a very forgiving project, so don’t worry if you make mistakes (they probably won’t show after the felting).

After you knit the row of six squares, bind off. To knit the short part of the L, insert a needle into the stitches on one side of the end square (a thinner needle is sometimes easier). Make sure the number of stitches you pick up matches the number of stitches you have been using across. For example, if you started with 20 stitches, be sure to pick up 20 stitches on the needle.

Using that inserted needle to start your row, knit two squares and bind off.

Now is the time to weave in your ends with an upholstery needle or similar. Again, you don’t have to do a perfect job with this, but here is how I like to do it:

When you’re done tidying up your loose ends, it’s time to start folding and sewing (see key below). Note that you will make the folds in alphabetical order.

Here is the first fold:

For the sewing, you can use either of the adjoining colors.

The sewing should be snug and reasonably even, but don’t worry about trying to make it perfect. The seams won’t show when you’re done. However, after sewing each section, you should be weaving in the ends. Don’t tie knots – they could create lumps in the final product.

In this step, you will be knitting across a line that is three squares long:

Once you have completed step “e” you should be able to figure out how to sew the last fold:

When you have finished, turn the slipper inside-out. Note that it will look floppy… and enormous.

Now throw the slippers into a hot-water wash (the hotter the better) with a pair of jeans. Don’t use a towel, or anything that could create lint.

If the slippers are still a bit floppy, you can stuff some balled-up newspaper into them so they’ll hold their shape while drying. If the slippers are still too big after washing and drying, you can wash them again for more shrinkage. I’ve been told that you can put them briefly into the dryer, checking them frequently, but I haven’t tried that.

These slippers are super-warm and comfy, and are likely to be worn a lot. If desired, to prevent the big toe from wearing a hole in the bottom over time, you can line the slippers with a fleece sole insert.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Norwegian house slippers

  1. Marcia

    This looks like a great first project for someone like me that is new to knitting. Thank you for posting it!

  2. You’re welcome! If you try it, let me know how it works out.

  3. Kerry Smith

    Great job! I knitted these for 5 wee grandsons in various sizes & they just love them & wear them constantly. Unfortunately I used acrylic wool on one of the squares (a senior moment) & this did not felt but otherwise great so thanks very much & happy knitting!

  4. Karen

    Great instructions. I am surprised how much they shrank. I don’t like the point on the heel so next time I might stitch differently. I had to wash twice. I put in the dryer for 20 mins. and they didnt shrink much more. I also think that I ll knit looser cuz these feel really thick. I guess I ll see how they wear first. Thanks for the pictures, they really helped.

    • Thanks, Karen. The heel point straightens out after you’ve worn the slippers a few times. The amount of shrinkage depends on type of wool, tightness of stitch, water temperature, friction and other mysterious factors, so that’s the part I find trickiest.

  5. Eva- Maude White

    Should swatch be 4 inches square ? Please , thank you for these socks they are lovely .

  6. Christine

    BEAUTIFUL instructions!! thank you for all the time and effort to post it. I LOVE to make felted items…this looks like a great item to make while watching a movie!

  7. kosovokelly

    This is my first knitting project! So much fun and easy instructions! Thanks! By the way, do you know of any easy “recipe” for Norwegian semi-felted mittens? I saw some at a yarn shop today and they looked sooo cozy!!

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