Have any of you who knit tried felting your creations on purpose? Most of us have done it by accident, when we didn’t notice those nice wool socks Aunt Maggie made for us last Christmas went into the washing machine, instead of being washed by hand. Oops! I’ll never tell.
Felted wool, sometimes known as boiled wool, makes one of the warmest, densest knit fabrics I’ve known. It starts as a double strand of worsted wool yarn, knitted on large needles, and a pattern specifically designed for felting. The finished slippers, before felting, will be huge and floppy! Don’t panic. They will fit perfectly once they are properly felted.
My felted hat seems absolutely impervious to rain. My sister-in-law made it for me, years ago, and I still love it. It is at least eight years old, and in perfect condition, despite wearing it every day, for many winters. It doesn’t wrinkle and is easily hand washed. The best part is, if the sun comes out, I can wad it up in my purse or backpack and it doesn’t wrinkle or lose its shape at all. It is also a great place to sport wonderful, old antique pins found at the antique store.
The slippers are warm and cozy, though I find the wool bottoms are a little too slippery by themselves. Adding leather soles and/or liquid rubber goop, or both, helps them to last longer and to be non-slip. You won’t want to take them off!
We always choose to live in old farmhouses, and because they have cold floors in the winter, cozy slippers are a must. Hafflingers are boiled wool slippers you can purchase at good shoe stores. I’ve had a couple pairs and have loved them. But after making felted slippers myself I can assure you that the homemade ones are much warmer and cozier.
The liquid rubber goes on like rubber cement, and is just as stinky, so that part of the project should be done in a garage, not the house. I learned to roll it over the sole with a mini paint roller for a more even coating. Allow it to dry, then repeat at least 3 times. The soles are non-slip and durable and have held up nicely through two years of wear and counting, but I have not worn them outside. If you add a leather sole and the liquid rubber, I imagine you could.
Leather soles are available online, pre-punched with holes around the edges to sew them with yarn or leather laces on to the soles of the slippers. We are lucky to have a real Shoe Shop in my town, that makes leather items themselves. They will make leather soles to order with advanced notice.
Felted knitting patterns are available online as downloads at Fiber Trends and other knitting sites. Here is the link: http://www.fibertrends.com
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