If you’re anything like me, you are finding the sudden return of deepest winter that we’ve been experiencing here in Eastern Canada to be a bit discouraging. Happily, I may have the solution. What does one need for comfort and coziness when one is chilled by bitter March winds and snow? I’ll tell you what: Phentex slippers.
Do you remember Phentex? And Phentex slippers? I’ll bet you do, if you’re somewhere in my age range.
As I recall, Phentex, marketed as a kind of miracle yarn – and inexpensive at that! – burst onto the scene somewhere around when the 1960s became the 1970s. It was heavily promoted in TV commercials, though I can’t remember the attributes those ads trumpeted – probably Phentex’s durability and washability and wide range of colours. The ads worked: everybody, and I mean everybody, with a pair of knitting needles latched on to Phentex. And what did they all make? Phentex slippers!
I believe the reason Phentex was so durable was that it was made of a synthetic material that was so synthetic that it put all other synthetics – like, say, polyester – to shame. I have discovered that this material – which, if you can recall Phentex, you’ll surely also recall felt kind of nasty to the touch – was called Olefin. Olefin, people! One thing I can tell you about Olefin is that it is a long, long way from sheep’s wool. “Olefin’s advantages,” says its entry in Wikipedia, “are its strength, colourfastness and comfort, its resistance to staining, mildew, abrasion (and) sunlight(,) and its good bulk and cover.”
Actually, “bulk and cover” is a pretty fair description of Phentex slippers. Because, you see, as far as I can tell there were not a whole lot of different patterns for Phentex slippers. I think there was only one, so that every pair looked like every other pair, the sole difference being the colour. (Or colours – some jazzy models mixed more than one colour.)
Phentex slippers were quick and easy to knit, so much so that I am fairly sure that even knitting-challenged adolescent me, growing up at the Manse, produced a pair or two. I certainly remember having and wearing at least one pair – red, of course.
They were the least elegant things one could ever imagine. And I shudder to think what would happen if a pair of Olefin-based Phentex slippers were to get near an open flame. But, you know, they were comfy. They kept one’s toes warm.
And on an unseasonably cold night like this, what more could one ask?