I am so excited for today’s project share with all of you! I first saw these ages ago on – you guessed it – Pinterest, and immediately fell in lurv. They didn’t have a name, pattern or any sort of copyright, so immediately I busted out my reverse engineering skills.
I love natural materials: wood, fiber, leather, etc. This project combines ALL THREE. It’s really straightforward… it modifies your basic mary-jane bootie pattern, and totally elevates the street value with just teeny additions of luxurious leather and wood. Once you show these babies off, your friends will universally acknowledge you as empress of the crafting universe. I’d also promise that you’ll also physically turn into Shakira’s doppleganger, but seeing as I’m still waiting for my hips to stop telling lies, I can’t guarantee that last bit.
You will need the following:
- DK yarn (preferably something including wool, just so you can feel uber natural, like your entire project came freshly sheared off of a humble sheep, hand scavenged from your local forest, and um, nobly sacrificed from whatever animal your leather belongs to…)
- This pattern
- Size 5 (or 6) knitting needles
- Teeny tiny scraps of leather for the straps
- Wood buttons (or you can use felt like the original link)
- Yarn needle to sew up bootie seams
- Something sharp to poke holes in your leather (embroidery needle or small awl)
- Sharp scissors to cut said leather
I wasn’t planning on using the exact same color scheme as the original source, but when I went to Joann’s to find some appropriate DK yarn, they just so happened to have Paton’s DK superwash wool, in taupe, on clearance, for $.97 a skein. I mean, 97 cents, okay. Honestly, I would have never chosen taupe myself since by itself it’s kind of a weird yucky color, but it works perfectly here.
Quick insert of The Leather Saga: (bear with me, it has an awesome ending.)
I first saw these shoes, oh, about 15 weeks ago (says Pinterest). The reason why it’s taken me so long to get these made is that I didn’t have the leather. I was in China without access to big box craft stores where I knew I could buy a patch for $3. Of course, I could probably have gone on another all-day adventure to find some, but my desire to procure a 1/2″x 2″ scrap simply to make some baby booties was not that high. Once I even walked by a leather stall in a random shopping area above a deserted Jinkelong, thought ooh, I should go back and beg a scrap sometime, but that didn’t happen either.
Then I came to the U.S. In my first few days I went to Michaels in search of leather. Their aisle marked “leather goods and tools” only contained felt, pom poms, and googly eyes. Fail, Michaels. I’ll look somewhere else. Turns out their aisles were simply mis-labeled, but fortuitous for me, because…
That very afternoon, I went home to my parents’ house, and whaddya know… there was a large pile of leather scraps sitting on their living room table. You know, the kind with metal grommets that probably once belonged to a furniture store as their color samples. It turns out a friend of theirs had bought them for pennies at a garage sale, never figured out a use for them, she bu de (there’s that word again – couldn’t bear to) throw them out, so she gave them to my mom when SHE moved back to China, and there they sat, because my own mom was she bu de to throw them away either.
Anyway, story summary: my mom had literally two pounds of free leather scraps, was never planning on using them, but was never planning on throwing them away either. So now… THEY’RE MINE!! And they were ALL FREEEEE! And when I say “leather scraps”, I mean… LEATHER SCRAPS:
1) How many booties could I make with this??? 2) I started a new Pinterest board entitled “Leather Scrap Projects” and I need your input please. 🙂
Okay, end of story, back to project.
Start knitting your booties using this pattern. The pattern says size 6 needles will net 6-12 month booties. I used size 5 and mine were about 3.5″ long, which was what I was going for. STOP knitting after row 16. Bind off and sew up booties. They’ll basically be little shoes.
Obtain leather scrap by whatever means necessary. You should be able to just use sharp scissors to cut it, no need for special tools here.
Cut two long skinny strips for straps. This took a bit of trial and error for me. Make sure they’re thick enough to poke at least one hole to sew onto your shoe – I wanted it thick enough for two holes, so mine are pretty thick.
Second obstacle: poking holes into said leather. After many days of searching stores for little teeny leather hole punchers or something of the sort, it turns out my mom also had a very random mini-awl that she picked up on the streets of Taiwan for like 60 cents. You can probably just use a sharp needle and a thimble (so you don’t skewer yourself). I wanted to use yarn for my sewing so I needed a bigger hole, but a needle will work just fine with regular embroidery thread.
Poke holes into leather on both sides. I wanted four, but my leather wasn’t big enough, so I just poked two holes and did one stitch on each end. Using yarn scraps or embroidery thread, sew one side onto the shoe, sew the other side through at least one (or all) of your buttonholes. Step back, admire your work, and wait for the compliments to come showering in!