My sister-in-law asked if I could knit the nieces some cowls. The brief was: make two the same so she wouldn't have to worry about which one went onto which girl, make them purple to match their winter coats, and make them snug-ish — the whole point was to replace dangly scarves and avoid a scarf's tendency to get caught on things, require tying/arranging to wear, or slip off and get lost.
I did some Googling around, and found this free pattern which comes in both children's and women's sizes. 9mm needles, bulky yarn, 18 stitches, and 72 rows. Graft the ends together and you're done. Both the cowls took about four episodes of Welcome to Night Vale plus a couple episodes of The Musketeers.
I got two skeins of yarn (acrylic — the nieces aren't ready for wool yet) for the cowls, and they took up just over half a skein of yarn each. That left me with stash, and I really want not to accumulate any more stash. I need slippers, and I had already found this free pattern for slippers that look like Ugg boots. Although sometimes I feel like the only woman in the Western world who doesn't like Uggs, I figured they would make good slippers.
I went back to the yarn shop and picked up two more skeins of yarn. There was enough left over from the cowls to make four sole pieces (I wanted a double sole), and the two new skeins of yarn made the uppers. I was done the slippers in time to wear them for the dinner party I had that night.
There were absolutely no mods to the cowl pattern, and the only thing I changed for the slippers (besides adding an extra sole layer) was that I used foundation single crochet to start each piece, used a standing stitch to start the leg parts of the uppers, and spiralled my way up the leg instead of formally slip-stitching and chain-one-ing at the end of each round. Instead, I just slip-stitched at the top of the boot leg and finished off.
Oh, and I slip-stitched the upper and sole layers together instead of using single crochet (!) like the pattern called for.
After all that, I have virtually no stash — just some odds and ends I'll use for provisional cast on sections on a project I already have in-flight. I'll have to blog about that one shortly.
Meanwhile, this is how the boot slipper soles look after just being worn for a few hours:
Now you can see why I wanted to make double soles. It should last me the winter, anyhow, and the yarn was on sale for Boxing Day, so there's that. They'll be fine. While acrylic is not as warm as other options and will need to be washed more frequently than, say, wool, my apartment tends to be warm anyhow, so I only need light foot insulation, and acrylic is easy to wash.