Sunday, November 6, 2011

Easy Felted Slipper - Great for Soldiers

I had some Fisherman Wool from Michael's - in fact, I still have some.  I was thinking about warm, padded winter slippers, so I decided to do some felting.

First of all, to make a ladies' size 8 (my size; why not experiment on me?) I used the Big Fat Slipper pattern from the Goldilocks book with that Fisherman Wool, only I made them humongous!  I went to the man's size 11 slipper, and using those numbers of stitches and rows, I turned the tension 'way up to T6 for ribbing and T8 for the slipper.  Here's what I got:

If you're familiar with these slippers, they're very quickly made with a sew-as-you-go side seam.  These are ridiculously big, much bigger than the size 11 because I deliberately used such a loose tension.  They were also loose and floppy.

Now that I had my Andre the Giant slippers made, I went to our good 'ol Maytag and started felting.

I was afraid the slippers would felt closed, so I put socks inside them.  I put them in the washer on HOT to agitate and set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes.  Then I checked them.

Two rules of felting wool:  (1)  have faith, it will eventually felt, and (2) once it begins to felt, it changes rather fast, so keep checking it!

At first, there was no change at all.  The slippers were terribly floppy and shapeless.

Set the timer again, and again, checking the slippers.  At one point they looked like they would fit my husband.  I wanted them for selfish ME, so I started the washer over and kept on agitating.   When they looked about right, I squeezed all the water out of them and tried them on wet (yuck - but at least they were warm from the hot water).  A perfect fit!

The slippers shrank so much and got so thick - maybe 1/4" thick - that you can't tell they were ever knitted.  The ribbing belled out, as well.  Here are the slippers after felting:

This brand of yarn got quite hairy when it felted.  I thought about whether to give the slippers a "shave," but decided I loked the wooly, hairy look. 

The slippers can't go in the dryer, or they'll keep on felting, so I put them on a skirt hanger to dry.  

And, finally, I folded down the cuffs, which flared out in the wash.  Don't count on ribbing to draw in at all when you felt it - in fact, if you look at my first picture of the slippers, the original ribbing was quite a bit tighter than the foot.  But these are great on my feet, folded down.
What fun!  Now I'm wishing I had a second color of the Fisherman Wool so I could have goofy horizontal stripes!  Of course, I could use a felting needle and some leftover needlepoint wool and felt a design onto the toes. 

Are you knitting for the troops being deployed to Afghanistan?  These would be terrific! 

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