A former classmate of mine has become one of my best customers. For Christmas she had ordered a set of Mommy and Me bear hats that were absolutely adorable. Shortly after requesting those she sent me a picture of sweater boots and asked me if I would be able to make them for her. I always like a challenge and I said sure let me find a pattern. I found out that the image she sent me was for a pattern from the Make Do Crew and that she wanted two pairs not just one. I was very excited to start on this new project.
I bought the ad free pattern because there is a hole punching guide included in the paid pattern. I gathered all my materials and set to work. I watched the first video and realized that this might be a bit more challenging than I had thought. After I had my son I developed really bad tendinitis in both my wrists called De Quervain’s Syndrome, the anchor point in the middle of my fore arms and my elbows. Lifting my newborn son was very difficult and opening anything was virtually impossible. Putting any pressure at all on my thumbs resulted in shooting pains that felt like my arms were on fire. I lost a lot of the strength in my hands and to this day three plus years later I still struggle with certain things. The woman in the video had this long sharp tool that she said was for clay working and said anything long and sharp or a tapestry needle would do. So I taped the guide to the flip flop and started punching.
Let me tell you…. punching holes into flip flop soles with a tapestry needle is NOT easy. First off, its like the material is made to prevent sharp objects from actually passing through them… (haha) It literally took me what seemed like an hour to punch the holes in the first shoe. The holes were supposed to be about 1/4 inch in. Well I had eyeballed a 1/4 inch and punched away. The next step is to take the smallest hook and single crochet through the flip flop. Sounds easy right? Not so in practice. The tapestry needle is tapered so the hole is much smaller at the top of the hole than at the bottom. So trying to get the hook into the hole was challenging and then the hook was too small for the yarn so it kept going through the yarn. It was just a big ball of frustration. I figured the holes were tapered like the needle so I did try pushing the needle down through the holes, but then I was having difficulty getting the needle out. I decided to just push along and move forward. My husband got home partway through trying to get the first row down. He took one look at the holes and said that those holes weren’t a 1/4 inch in that they were only an 1/8 of an inch in. Apparently when you measure holes you are supposed to measure the middle of the hole not the end of the hole. Oh well, you live and you learn. Well I decided to keep going with my mistake and added the main color and crocheted the whole boot. When I did the left foot I made sure to measure the holes properly. Well the difference between the right boot and the left boot was glaringly obvious. The left boot stitches were stacking one top of each other nicely. Also there were no areas on the left shoe where it looked like the top of the boot might pull through the sole. I had to go buy a new pair of size 8 flip flops and start the right boot again.
I live three blocks from my in-laws and I park my car in their drive way. So on the way over to get my car a common phrase that I have heard all my life started running through my head. ‘Use the right tool for the right job’. I have known my in-laws since I was a kid and many a summer afternoon was spent tinkering in the driveway with their cars. My father-in-law has this amazing garage and has almost every tool known to man. So when I got upstairs I showed Bob the boots I was working on. I explained to him the trouble I was having and I showed him the first video. He went downstairs and brought up like seven different long and sharp objects. I picked something called an awl. Apparently it is a wood working tool. It fits perfectly in my hand. The handle makes it easy to push into the sole and pull out. Even though the tip is tapered the shaft is thicker than the small hook that I was using to go through the sole. Because the handle made it so easy to go through the sole I also punched through the top of the sole too. I punched the holes for the entire right boot in about 10 mins. I felt confident now that this was an item that I could list in my Etsy shop and make lots of them.
I realized after looking at the pictures I took I was using the wrong size hook as my middle hook hook. An N hook is what is normally used with this yarn but a J hook is what you should be using because you are trying to make the stitches nice and tight. I did have to take out a few rows. I blame that on mommy brain and my three year old that constantly needs something.
The pattern says that you should size down the flip flop from the normal size you wear because you are removing the thong and gluing back in the plugs. Well my client had bought her own flip flops and I did not know to tell her to order a size down because I hadn’t read the pattern before she gave me the flip flops. However, when I mentioned that I was removing the thong she said not to and she checked with her friend that was getting the other pair and she didn’t want her thong removed either. So that provided another challenge. Now I had to try to crochet tightly around the thong. Tracy suggested I tie the thong together and that is exactly what I did.
When you finish up the bottom portion of the boot you switch to the largest size hook. Which I thought I had, but apparently I didn’t and I had to buy another hook. For those of you who don’t know me it is actually surprising that with all the hooks I have there was one I was missing. I also recommend weaving in the ends before you get much further than this. It becomes very difficult to bend the shoe inside out so that you can manipulate the needle properly.
I wish that when the author wrote the pattern they had written it a little bit differently. I prefer when patterns are written out long ways instead of saying okay now repeat rows 21-24 two more times. I find that that can lead for confusion and missed rows. Also, in the begging of the pattern the author says that its not an exact science making boots out of flip flops. I understand that based on the size of the flip flop the amount of stitches would be different. However, I noticed that when you are making size 8 and size 11 boots there are added rows. Which makes sense because the foot is larger and needs more space. In the written pattern for a size 8 boot you are supposed to add a row. But then because the pattern is written for making a smaller size boot that row is not accounted for. When making the size 11 boot there are two extra rows added that are not accounted for in the written pattern. I know I do have a 3 year old constantly vying for my attention, but I feel that the pattern could have been written differently. I know that adding sections for different sizes means more pages but then it makes it easier for the person working the pattern to actually follow the pattern and be able to count rows and not come up with a different row count from what is listed in the pattern. I made several mistakes and had to pull the boots out a few times before I figured out what was going on.
All in all now that I have finished these boots I am immensely proud of them. They look gorgeous, they are comfortable, warm and cozy. I am not a fan of the thong being left in the boot, but neither of these pairs were for me. I am not a particular fan of this exact style but I gotten a lot of positive feed back on them from everyone who has seen them. I do plan on making this an offering in my Etsy store and I am going to try a few other styles as well.
If you are interested in a pair of these for yourself or someone you love please contact me, I would love to make you a pair.
As always, if you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends!