Flashback: Knit Converse High-Tops

Craft & Design

CRAFT: Cozy Up to Yarn

Lion Brand Yarn

In the crafting world, yarn sneaks into the most wonderfully unexpected places, and a prime example is the knitted high-tops project by Katie Tesarowski that appeared in CRAFT Volume 07. Deconstruct and reconstruct these classics, and with the varieties of yarn available, you can really let your flavor flow. Here’s the full article and pattern to get you going.
Hotshot High-Tops
By Katie Tesarowski

A friend once teased me about my addiction to knitting. He pointed out that I had knit practically an entire wardrobe for myself: sweaters, skirts, hats, gloves, scarves, bikinis, socks, and slippers. The one item he said I was missing was a pair of shoes. Rather than get offended, I took that as a personal challenge.
Though I wasn’t brave enough to knit a pair of shoes from scratch, I dug through my closet for a pair of old shoes I could modify, and found a ratty pair of Converse sneaks. I copied the shape of the high-tops, and ended up with a shoe strong enough to wear while playing a game of baseball! The following pattern is for a Converse shoe size 8.


Pair of high-top Converse sneakers
2 skeins Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn
I used 1 Forest Green, 1 White.
Spool of heavy-duty thread
Sewing needle
Tapestry/yarn needle

Gauge: 2″ = 7 stitches, 9 rows
Needles: U.S. size 6

K = Knit
P = Purl
YO = Yarn over
K2tog = Knit 2 together
M1 = Increase by 1 stitch, also known as KFB (knit in the front and back of the stitch)


Step 1: Prepare the shoes.
Except for the strip of fabric that runs along the heel of the shoe, which provides stability to the framework, cut away the fabric uppers, leaving only ¼” still attached to the soles.
Step 2: Knit.
Each shoe is made from 3 separate pieces of knitting: 2 pieces that form the sides of the shoe and 1 tongue.
Piece A: Left Side (2)
Cast on 28 stitches.
1) K
2) P
3) K12, YO, K2tog, K1, YO, K2tog, K (28 sts)
4) P2tog, P (27 sts)
5) K23, YO, K2tog, K2tog (26 sts)
6) P
7) K20, YO, K2tog, K2, K2tog (25 sts)
8) P
9) K17, YO, K2tog, K2, cast off 4. This should be
the end of the row; leave enough of a tail to weave
it in later. Rejoin at the other end of the piece and purl row 10, staying in stocking stitch.
10) P
11) K15, YO, K2tog, cast off 4 (17 sts). Repeat the same process as row 9.
12) P
13) K
14) P
15) K13, YO, K2tog, K2 (17 sts)
16) P2tog, P
17) K14, K2tog (15 sts)
18) P
19) K11, YO, K2tog, K2
20) P2tog, P (14 sts)
21) K
22) P
23) Cast off all stitches.
Piece B: Right Side (2)
This makes the mirror image of Piece A.
1) K
2) P
3) K
4) P to last 2 stitches, P2tog (27 sts)
5) K2tog, K2tog, YO, K (26 sts)
6) P
7) K2tog, K2, K2tog, YO, K (25 sts)
8) P
9) Cast off 4, K2, K2tog, YO, K (21 sts)
10) P
11) Cast off 4, K2tog, YO, K (17 sts)
12) P
13) K
14) P
15) K2, K2tog, YO, K (17 sts)
16) P to last 2 stitches, P2tog (16 sts)
17) K2tog, K (15 sts)
18) P
19) K2, K2tog, YO, K (15 sts)
20) P to last 2 stitches, P2tog (14 sts)
21) K
22) P
23) Cast off all stitches.
Piece C: Shoe Tongue (2)
Cast on 9 stitches.
K 5 rows in garter stitch.
Row 6: K1, M1, K3, M1, K1 (11 sts).
K 25 more rows in garter stitch.
Cast off all stitches.
Step 3: Add knitting pieces.
With the tapestry needle, weave in all yarn ends. Thread a sewing needle, with the thread doubled for extra strength. Begin to sew each piece to its spot on the shoe.
Start with the heel, and sew forward to the toe. You’ll need to stretch the knitting slightly to make it fit the entire length of the shoe so it won’t be baggy. It’s helpful to use a thimble, since the canvas on the shoes is reinforced in the heel and toe with plastic, and it’s harder to push the needle through in those places.
Step 4: Sew on the logos.
Cut the circular Converse logos off the shoe fabric you removed. Using the sewing needle, punch holes around the edges of the patches. This makes it much easier to sew them onto your new shoes. Thread the needle, and sew the patches onto the ankles of the shoes, going through the holes you’ve already punched.
Step 5: Lace ’em!
Remove the shoelaces from the canvas shoes, and lace them into the eyelets made from yarn-overs. Try them on, and take them for a run!
About the Author:
Katie Tesarowski enjoys developing her own knitting patterns and working creatively with yarn. She’s currently studying the tuba at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
For tons more awesome shoe projects (and more!), you can still pick up a back issue of CRAFT Volume 07 over in the Maker Shed.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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