Mend it March! My Project: Resole the House Moccasin

My daughter told me that this month was “Mend it March” on social media, with some hashtags like MarchMendingMadness, MendMarch, and the like.. If you’ve been reading my earlier blogs, you know that pretty much every month is a “mend it month” for me, as rescuing a knitted piece is something I find very rewarding. It’s a mixture of practicality and the satisfaction that I know the knitting craft well enough to plunge in, snip, drop off, pick up and reknit.

A couple of blogs earlier, I gave you the “House Moccasin”, a great shaped slipper that is quick to make. But inevitably, the sole is going to wear out. My family members, each of whom wear their slippers every night, have been showing up with sad faces with their fingers poking through a hole of the sole. So far, I’ve repaired two pair this month. It takes several months to wear a hole into the sole, but you might want to consider making each family member two pairs of slippers. I am. That way they won’t be sad and have cold feet while you resole the others.

Here’s a well loved, well worn sole with holes.. Toe is to the left, heel to the right. See that vertical line toward the left? That was an earlier repair whereby I added a heel over a hole. Dropping off the entire sole is actually easier.

Here’s a well loved, well worn sole with holes.. Toe is to the left, heel to the right. See that vertical line toward the left? That was an earlier repair whereby I added a heel over a hole. Dropping off the entire sole is actually easier.

First step: Snip! Snip!

Hopefully you followed the House Moccasins pattern suggestion of making the sole a different color than the slipper. If you did, snipping the stitches that will drop the sole off is much easier. I snip each one, remove the little snipped yarn piece, and place the stitch on a double point needle (dpn). Don’t worry about getting the mount of the stitch correct. You can always correct that as you knit the first round.

Snipping the edge stitches of the sole.

Snipping the edge stitches of the sole.

Placing stitches onto dpn one by one as snipped st is removed.

Placing stitches onto dpn one by one as snipped st is removed.

Several stitches are now on the first dpn.

Several stitches are now on the first dpn.

Progressing around slipper with several dpns now holding stitchs—sorry for the color change…I just use my phone camera with no editing!

Progressing around slipper with several dpns now holding stitchs—sorry for the color change…I just use my phone camera with no editing!

And here is the removed sole and slipper top now on dpns!

Sole removed! Green marker will be beginning of round. Pink marker is midpoint.

For some reason, at this point, I developed amnesia in regard to taking photos of the next two steps. Rearrange your stitches on your dpns so that you can begin working stitches at the beginning of the round, which is at the back of the slipper and marked with the green marker. With RS facing you, join your working yarn., (See ## below if you want to jump ahead to see instructions for rounds, but you still need to read the paragraph below to know why!)

Now this is where you have to remember how the sole was constructed flat with increases to reach this total number of stitches which you presently have on your needles Then, envision working in the round and think in reverse, decreasing until you are back at the original number of stitches cast on (or actually, you will end up with two less…explained below a bit further down).

Here is the original text for the sole:

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SOLE

Using Color 1, Cast on 46, 50, 54 using the long tail cast-on method.

Row 1 (RS): K23 (25, 27), PM, K23 (25, 27)

Row 2: K1, M1R, K21, (23, 25), M1R, K1, SM, K1, M1L, K21 (23, 25), M1L, K1 = 50, (54, 58) Stitches

Row 3: All odd rows Knit

Row 4: K1, M1R, K23 (25, 27), M1R, K1, SM, K1, M1L, K23 (25, 27), M1L K1 = 54, (58, 62) Stitches

Row 6: K1, M1R, K25 (27, 29), M1R, K1, SM, K1, M1L, K25 (27, 29), M1L, K1 = 58, (62, 66) Stitches

Row 8: K1, M1R, K27 (29, 31), M1R, K1, SM, K1, M1L, K27 (29, 31), M1L, K1, = 62, (66, 70) Stitches

Row 10: K1, M1R, K29 (31, 33), M1R, K1, SM, K1, M1L, K29 (31, 33), M1L, K1 = 66, (70, 74) Stitches

Row 12: K1, M1R, K1, M1R, K30 (32, 34), M1R, K1, (remove marker), K1,M1L, K30 (32, 34), M1L, K1, M1L, K1 = 72, (76, 80) Stitches. Cut Yarn.

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The slipper in the image is the largest size…so when you look at row 12, I should have 80 stitches on the dpns, which I do, 40 sts between each marker. This size began with 54 sts, was knit back and forth, increasing with M1 in a uniform sequence on each side of the back of the slipper (each end of row) and at toe on each side of what would be the center-point marker. See Row 2 above as example. The sole began in the center and worked outward to what will become the outermost circumference of the sole on which the body was then built.

Reverse engineering means: 1) thinking in the round, 2) decreasing where the increases were, and 3) achieving the purl ridges in the round (versus original in the flat).

1) The beginning of the round will be where the back of slipper was originally seamed (with the seam joining the beginning and end of rows together). That is where the green marker is.

2) ##To achieve the decreases in the same position where the M1R and M1L were made, the rounds will look like this.

Rd 1: K1, K2 tog, k to last 3 sts before marker, SSK, k1, slm, k1, K2tog, k to last three sts before marker, SSK, k1.

Rd 2:Purl

3) Note that to achieve garter st ridges, you purl rd 2.

Repeat Rds 1 & 2 until you have 26 stitches (for largest size) between markers on both sides, a total of 52 stitches. Note that you did not return to the original 54 stitches…that’s because in building the sole, notice in rd 12 you added two additional M1. That was to get up to the needed number of stitches to build the body of the slipper. You can ignore the need to reverse those two additional increases in a single row in your sole replacement. Just do rd 1 and rd 2 down to the original number, minus 2. So depending on the size, you’ll end up with 44, 48, or 52 stitches.

Place one set of stitches between markers on one dpn and the other set of stitches between markers on a second dpn, holding them parallel.. (See below)

The reddish yarn was the yarn used in working the replacement sole. The grey round is the final round of decreases and stitches are set up now with equal number of stitches on each needle to do garter kitchener stitch. Between top needle points would have been where the green beginning of round marker was. Between bottom needle points would have been where the pink midpoint marker was.

The reddish yarn was the yarn used in working the replacement sole. The grey round is the final round of decreases and stitches are set up now with equal number of stitches on each needle to do garter kitchener stitch. Between top needle points would have been where the green beginning of round marker was. Between bottom needle points would have been where the pink midpoint marker was.

Close the center of the sole with purl ridge kitchener stitch. To achieve this, repeat on the back needle exactly the same as on the front needle of the regular stockinette kitchener stitch. In other words: Cut a tail at least six times longer than the section being closed. Thread tail into tapestry needle. Starting with yarn attached on back needle, ^insert tapestry knitwise into first st on front needle, pull st off onto tapestry needle, then insert tapestry needle purlwise into next st on front needle, leaving that st on needle and pulling yarn through. Move to the back needle, and repeat that same sequence, inserting tapestry knitwise into first stitch on needle, pull stitch off onto tapestry needle, then insert tapestry needle purlwise into next st on needle, leaving that st on needle and pulling yarn through. Repeat from ^ until 1 st remains on each needle. Yarn is attached to back needle. Insert tapestry needle knitwise into stitch on front needle and then purlwise into stitch on back needle. Pull yarn through, slipping stitches off needles. This creates a “dog ear” sticking out. Poke tapestry needle straight down at the base of dog ear, and pull through to inside of slipper. Tug slightly to make the dog ear disappear and work the tail on the inside of slipper. Work all other tails on the inside of slipper. Your replacement sole is finished!

Return slippers to family member and watch them do a happy dance.

Finished sole. Hopefully you will not run out of the sole color and have to end with another color…but it did highlight the garter stitch kitchener ridge!

Finished sole. Hopefully you will not run out of the sole color and have to end with another color…but it did highlight the garter stitch kitchener ridge!