Maybe You Shouldn't Try This at Home

The two engravings for the American Over-Shoe pattern in PieceWork’s latest eBook, Weldon’s Practical Knitter Fifteenth Series, caught my eye right off the bat. The 1st shows it “as Worn” and the 2nd “in Bag Shape.” Definitely more investigating needed to be done here, especially when I saw the subtitle for this pattern: Or Bag Slippers. Does that mean the pattern could be used over shoes or as a bag to hold your shoes?

American Over-Shoe as Worn from Weldon's Practical Knitter. American Over-Shoe as Bag Shape from Weldon's Practical Knitter.

Weldon’s explained: “These shoes, which are made exactly in the shape of a bag, are intended to draw over a kid boot for extra warmth when traveling. The Americans wear them over their boots for walking in frosty weather, as the roughness of the wool upon the icy ground is a sure preventive against slipping. They also are useful as bedroom slippers, and will fit quite closely on any sized foot by reason of the elasticity of the knitting….”

Gentleman's Cuff in Honeycomb Knitting from Weldon's Practical Knitter.
Sock for a Child of Two Years, Worked in Honeycomb Knitting from Weldon's Practical Knitter.

I would be okay with a bag to hold my shoes or bedroom slippers. I am 100% certain I would not slide them over my boots and go tripping the light fantastic over Colorado ice and snow. My recollection of wool and slippery surfaces goes back to my memories of my brother and I donning handknit wool socks and “skating”—actually serious slipping and sliding—around our house on the hardwood floors. It took us years to figure out that this was our mom’s way of getting the newly waxed floors buffed.

Nonetheless, the shoes/bag/slippers are simple to make. After procuring the recommended 1½ ounces of claret and ½ ounce of black fingering-weight wool and steel size 12 needles (US size 2), cast-on 60 claret stitches and work knit 2/purl 2 for 30 rows. Change to black and work knit 2/purl 2 for 12 rows. Change back to claret and work knit 2/purl 2 for 50 rows. Bind-off, fold, sew, and “make a bow and ends, or a rosette of ribbon to smarten the instep.”

And there you go—your own American (not British, mind you) Over-Shoes.

This is only one of the 21 oh-so-Victorian projects in this eBook. While you may pass on the Over-Shoes, I really think you’ll like the cuff worked in honeycomb knitting, the sweet Shetland vest for baby, a Basket pattern vest, a shawl worked in cross-stitch knitting, or adorable socks for a child. Do check out this latest Weldon’s Practical Knitter!