nordic knitting conference / hearth slippers for tolt yarn and wool

It was a whirlwind weekend, but I had such an amazing time at the Nordic Knitting Conference a week and a half ago! It was the biggest conference yet, and it was such a treat to be teaching alongside such a fantastic roster of teachers. I’m incredibly grateful to my truly wonderful students for making such a busy weekend such a joy, as well. My five classes flew by, and nothing makes my day quite like a satisfied student’s sincere thank you on their way out the door. I also want to make sure to say thanks to the Nordic Heritage Museum for having me, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with the museum on events in the future.

One of the funny things about being an instructor at an event like this is that I didn’t actually see very much of my fellow teachers, but I did get to hear Arne & Carlos, our headliners, speak at the banquet. If you ever get the chance to take a class or see these guys speak, do it. It’s difficult to overstate how funny and engaging they are, and I was in stitches all night.

I was busy enough that I didn’t really have a chance to get any photos over the weekend, but you can check out the #nordicknittingconference tag on Instagram to see photos (viewable in a web browser here).


I also had a new pattern make its debut at the conference. Anna at Tolt Yarn and Wool approached me around a year ago about designing a pair of slipper socks, maybe with a Nordic-inspired design. Obviously, I was in! I started playing around with motif ideas and before too long, Hearth Slippers were on the needles. This was an interesting pattern to design and write, because it’s heavily charted but offered in three sizes (two adult sizes and a child size); this meant, in effect, writing three patterns in one, as each size comes with its own set of charts. I’m quite pleased with how it worked out, though! I’ve heard that the pattern kits Tolt was selling at the conference were a hit. I’m going to borrow a photo of Kathy Cadigan‘s, where you can see the project bag I designed for the kits as well!

These are worked in the round from the cuff-down (which is how I typically work socks), but everything else about the construction borrows heavily from traditional Norwegian mittens. The motifs on the top of the foot, back of the leg, and sole of the foot are divided into three separate sections, separated by borders. The heel is an afterthought heel, worked much like you might work a thumb on a mitten: waste yarn is worked across the row where the heel is placed as you work the length of the slipper, and then the waste yarn is removed and heel stitches placed back on the needles to work the heel after the fact. The motifs are very typically Norwegian, as well. A little bit of duplicate stitch in the center of the Selbu stars adds a pop of color and contrast.


We used Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney for this design, a cozy but hard-working yarn made from American wool and well suited for winter slippers. The samples also have suede slipper bottoms from Fiber Trends sewn to the sole. I love the color palette of Heirloom Romney and I think there’s a lot of potential for beautiful combinations (and in fact I’ve just ordered some yarn from the new Fancy Tiger online shop to make myself a pair in a new color combination!).

Paper copies of the Hearth Slippers pattern can be purchased at Tolt Yarn and Wool’s brick-and-mortar store in Carnation, Washington, or you can procure a PDF version here on Ravelry or here on Tolt’s website.

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