Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Adventures in Felting

This past Christmas Dave bought me some awesome felted slippers off Etsy.  Since then, he's been after me to make him a similar pair.  Not a problem ... any excuse to buy yarn.

felted clogs

I had some Paton's Merino Wool (dark grey mix) lying around so I just needed a contrast colour.  Luck would have it, Michael's had their Paton's Classic Wool on sale so I picked up 2 skeins of black.

The needles though were another problem.  The pattern calls for 9mm (US 13) circulars in two lengths.  The only ones I could find were $15 ... EACH.  Oh well, I pulled out my discount card and bit the bullet.  In hindsight, I didn't need the shorter one.

The pattern (felted clogs by Bev Galeskas) is not difficult, but virtually every row needs your full attention.  I started talking to my family halfway through the second slipper and had to rip back multiple rows because I lost my place.  They knit up quickly on the big needles though.

felted clogs

Once you knit the gigantic slippers which will have everyone questioning your knitting skills, the fun part begins - felting them.  (btw - don't worry about hiding your ends - they just felt away) I have a front loader and although you can felt in one, the results seem to be mixed.  So I decided to go the hand felted with a plunger route.   There are great instructions all over the Internet (I mostly referred to these) so I won't go through every step.

felted clogs

After a quick run to Canadian Tire for a NEW plunger and bucket I got set up in the bathroom.  Fill the bucket with the hottest water you can get and set it on a towel in the bathtub (to prevent scratches), throw in your slippers and some soap and go to town.  I like the bathtub because there's lots of room for splashing.  It took most of the morning, on and off, to get them felted down.  But they still weren't short enough.  So I tied them into a pillowcase and tossed them in a hot dryer with some towels and voila, perfect fit.

felted clogs

The last step was to put them on Dave's feet over plastic bags and mould them to his feet.  I spent some time working on the arch and the curve of the toe.  It took a little over a day for them to dry but they turned out perfectly.

A few hints.  For the soap, I just threw a little bar of soap (Jergens maybe?) in the bucket until it had created enough suds, then took it out.  I also shocked the slippers a couple of times by plunging them into cold water in the sink then back into the hot water.  And very importantly, make sure you strain the water before it goes down the drain.  The plunger causes a lot of lint and you'd hate to clog up your drain.  I used filters you use for straining paint.

I bought suede soles, but the ones at my LYS weren't the fiber trend ones and I'm not crazy about the way they look.  So we decided that when the soles wear out I will add the suede soles then.

felted clogs

Dave loves his new slippers - says he's stealthy in them because they don't make any noise.  (insert eyeroll)


Messy@ Bungalow'56 said...

Sounds like you might have to be careful now that someone can sneak up on you. Stealthy comment made me laugh.

Michelle "Chaos Caretaker" said...

These are incredible! I have never created anything of substance with yarn...a deficit, I know.

Catherine said...

Thanks for all your felting info! I like to felt as well, but this sounds like a lot of work. Dave is a lucky guy, you sure make him some thoughtful presents.

Tricia Rose said...

That is so interesting! I'm never going to make them, but now I know how.

I have felted some sweaters in my time, the old-fashioned way...