Sunday, June 29, 2014

Crochet Some Slippers!

A bright blue crochet slipper with stitch direction arrows.
Crochet this slipper by following the stitch direction arrows.

Everyone gets cold feet. When there's a nip in the air, nip cold feet in the bud!


Crochet Slippers Pattern

This is a crochet pattern for the average lady's size slipper, American sizes 7 - 9, UK sizes 5 - 7, or European sizes 38 - 41.  I adapted this pattern from some other patterns I have seen online that require sewing together either the heel or toe of the slipper.  Instead, the body of my adapted slipper is made in one piece, with no need to sew or bind off until the end.

To create this slipper I used a size "G-6" 4 mm hook with a worsted medium acrylic yarn.  I have approximately 4.5 stitches per inch.


Required Skills


  • Chain (ch)
  • American single crochet (sc)
  • Slip stitch (sl st)
  • Increasing the single crochet
  • Decreasing the single crochet
  • Turning
  • Working in the round (rnd)


Begin with the Toe

The toe of the slipper will be worked in the round, with a slight increase nearest the toes.


  • Foundation Rnd: Ch 10.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 7 sts, 3 sc in last ch. Do not turn. Rotate work 180 degrees. Sc in bottom loop of next 7, 2 sc in bottom loop of last, sl st to beg sc to join rnd -- 20 sts total.
  • Rnd 1: Ch 1 (counts as 1st sc), sc in same st, sc in next 7, 2 sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 7, 2 sc in next st, sc in last st, sl st to beg ch to join rnd -- 24 sts total.
  • Rnd 2: Ch 1 (counts as 1st sc), sc in same st, sc in next 9, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 9, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in last st, sl st to beg ch to join rnd -- 28 sts total.
  • Rnd 3: Ch 1 (counts as 1st sc), sc in same st, sc in next 11, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 11, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in last st, sl st to beg ch to join rnd -- 32 sts total.
  • These crochet slippers are made as one piece.
    No extra sewing!
  • Rnd 4: Ch 1 (counts as 1st sc), sc in each st around, sl st to beg ch to end -- 32 sts total. Repeat Rnd 4 until the piece measures 4 - 5" from toe, depending on your preference.


Working the Side Quarters

You will now begin working flat rows to create the side quarters of the slipper.


  • Row 1: Do not ch. Sc in next 4 sts, turn.
  • Row 2: Ch 1, sc in next 24 sts, turn.  Repeat Row 2, crocheting back and forth, until the sole of the slipper measures between 8 - 10 inches, depending on the desired length.


Creating the Heel

Once your slipper reaches the desired length, you must finish the slipper by creating the heel.  You will be creating a circle that grows smaller with each new round.  Begin at the end of the last row.


  • Row 1: Do not turn.  Ch 8. Sl in st of the opposite side to create a rnd.
  • Row 2: You may now turn if you have crocheted on the "wrong side" or inside of the pattern.  You should work on the outside of the slipper.  Ch 1.  Sc in each st of the round, including the new chain. Sl st to beg ch to end.
  • Row 3: Ch1. Sc in next st.  Decrease by skipping a st.  Sc in next 2 sts.  Repeat until you end the round.  Sl st to beg ch to end.
  • Row 4: Ch1. Sc in next st.  Decrease by skipping a st.  Sc in next 2 sts.  Repeat until you end the round.  Sl st to beg ch to end.
  • Row 5: Ch1. Sc in next st.  Decrease by skipping a st.  Sc in next 2 sts.  Repeat until you end the round.  Sl st to beg ch to end.
  • Row 6: Do not ch.  Sl st across the remainder of the sts and bind off.


Slipper Edging

Join the yarn the back of the heel to create an edging.


  • Rnd 1: Work sc evenly around entire ankle opening as an edging. Use the formula of 4 - 5 sts per inch to help you space your sts.
  • To finish: Be creative! Choose an edging that is attractive to you: Change colors, perhaps add a rnd of double crochet and weave in a ribbon, or create a tall ankle and fold it over.  Add buttons, flowers, or bows.  However you finish them, make them distinctly yours.

Want to learn more about crochet?  

This lush afghan is colorful and easy enough for any beginner to create.

Try my complete online course, "Crochet for Stress Relief" at Udemy.com.  Use this link to sign up for a free Udemy account and take the course for only $10.00! Once you sign up, you have lifetime access.  Learn at your own pace; there's no hurry.





Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cheesy Kale Salad with Blueberries and Almonds

Parmesan cheese sprinkled on a lightly warmed kale and served with almonds and blueberries.
Cheesy Kale Salad with Blueberries and Almonds

What kind of salad do I serve at Chez Moi when we haven't been grocery shopping in a while? Leftover salad, of course!  


I took a little bit of "this" and a little bit of "that" from our weekly leftovers, and voila:  I came up with a tasty salad!  Blueberries from pancakes on Sunday, kale from the soup on Monday, and grated Parmesan cheese from the spaghetti on Tuesday . . . . That's how this wonderful concoction came to be, and I'm really glad  I thought of it because it was a hit!

Ingredients

There are 6 ingredients in this salad, and none are difficult to come by.  As I said, I had all of these in my fridge as leftovers or staples.


  •  2 Cups Chopped Kale
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar


Warming the Kale & Presenting the Salad

  1. Slice your kale leaves from the spines.  Chop your kale into pieces to suit your taste.   
  2. Toss the chopped kale and almonds in coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.   I placed mine in a large mixing bowl, covered the bowl with a lid, and shook it all up a bit.  The idea is to make sure the kale is evenly coated with the oil and vinegar.
  3. Place the kale and almonds onto a baking sheet, and put the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes to warm it or crisp the edges, depending on your preference.  If using a toaster oven, shorten the time and watch it closely because the kale will be much closer to the heating element in a toaster oven.  
  4. Remove the baking sheet from oven and, while it's warm, sprinkle the kale with the grated Parmesan cheese . 
  5. Place the salad in a serving dish or dishes,  and add the blueberries on the side for a pretty presentation.


Nutrition Information

I used the handy MyFitnessPal recipe calculator to compile a few brief nutritional facts about this salad.  This salad, divided evenly between two people, is 354 Calories per person and contains 140% the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C.  So, not only is this salad easy, but it's not too bad for you, either!

Hopefully, I'll have all of these leftovers in my fridge, again, in the near future.  We can't wait to have this with dinner, again!


Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Please contact the author for permission to republish.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Diagramming Mina Loy's "Letters of the Unliving" as a Method for Close Reading

Diagramming Poetry as a Method for Close Reading
I have recently been working on a new collection of poetry that explores grief and loss.   In order to better study the poetry of loss, I've returned to the poet of my graduate thesis, Mina Loy.   I have found meaning in her poetry today that I could not find eight years ago. 


One of Loy's poems that quite literally makes me catch my breath is "Letters of the Unliving"  as published in The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems.


History and Syntax

Loy's history, thus the history of the poem is this: Loy met Arthur Cravan in 1917 and married him in 1918.  Opposed to serving in WWI, Cravan took Loy to Mexico to escape the military draft.  Once in Mexico, and after experiencing some trouble with both military authorities and the professional boxing crowd, "They bought a small, leaky sailing boat with the idea of patching it up and trading it in for a more seaworthy vessel"  so that Cravan might sail to Buenos Aires.  "In early November, only days before the Armistice was signed, Cravan set sail in the repaired craft for the nearby coastal village of Puerto Angel. The weather was fine and the boat apparently in good shape. Loy waited for days on the beach, gazing out to sea, but Cravan never returned" (Ford, 2007, para. 23).

However, no matter the interest in the tragic, romantic loss of love and self depicted this poem, the cathartic fear of loss we feel when we read the history, or perhaps because of the terrible beauty of the language of this poem, I have been having great difficulty sharing this poem with my students.  Although the idea, the elegy, makes the poem universal, the syntax makes the poem difficult to access.


Diagramming and Accessibility

Mina Loy
Image by Stephen Haweis, via Wikimedia Commons
In order to overcome the challenge of accessibility, I diagrammed a section of the poem to help my students better see and understand each unit of meaning, with all of its poetic license and grammatical truncation.  In its simplest form we can pick out subjects and predicates that, in and of themselves, are beautiful: "You left," she states.  "The racked creature shouted," she tells us, "'reunite us.'"  In the end, "Patience creeps up on passion."  The final diagram, though, is a mess, from a missing predicate in the second clause, to a phrasal verb in the final clause, to a fragmented quotation as part of an apostrophe in the third clause. Yet, no one said grief was grammatically pretty.  It's a tangle; a complicated tangle, and once my students and I saw it untangled for the first time, we shared a moment of understanding on one of its deepest levels.


The Gift of Excess

Of this poem and Loy, William Keckler beautifully and aptly states, "She creates a dignified superstructure in this dual elegy which allows for what might elsewhere be excessive; that is Loy's particular gift" (para. 3).  Once my students and I stripped excess from the poem, then put all of it back into place, we could all better understand this "dignified superstructure," this "dual elegy."  We could appreciate the language for what it gives us without leaving anything out.  Once we saw the poem for what it is we forgave what others might call "excess," and we embraced it, this looking back at grief from the future as a person forever changed by loss.


References




  • Ford, M. (1997). Spawn of Fantasies. New Republic, 216(21), 38-41.
  • Keckler, W. (2007). Mina Loy & Arthur Cravan: "Letters of the Unliving." [Web log, Joe Brainard's Pyjamas].  Retrieved June 4, 2014 from  http://joebrainardspyjamas.blogspot.com/2007/09/mina-loy-arthur-cravan-letters-of.html


Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Contact the author for permission to republish.