January 6, 2014

Felting by Hand

As a kid, I loved being barefoot. I don't remember ever having slippers, even though I'm sure I put something on my feet during the cold winters -- socks, probably. In fact, I kind of remember thinking it was silly that slippers were always on sale around Christmas time -- nobody in my family wore slippers. Did other people really own indoor shoes? 

Clearly times have changed. I still love that barefoot feeling -- nothing beats walking on the grass or sand sans shoes. However, during cold weather months, the slippers come out in full force. I live in this pair most days. They were knit with the yarn held double and they are super sturdy, warm and somewhat indestructible it seems. 

Over my years of wearing slippers, I've come to realize that not only do they keep my feet warm, especially on non-carpeted floors, but they also keep my feet clean! I cook a lot... and I'm not always the neatest in the kitchen. Lots of stuff ends up on the floor in the process. (I yearn for the day when we have a dog who can hoover up the crumbs.) Of course I sweep and clean the floor clean, but if I'm in the cooking melee, I only get a chance to cleanup at the very end. 

In the meantime, when I wear my slippers, I don't feel a thing under my feet. 

Most girls have a thing for shoes (I've always had more of a thing for handbags, myself...) I do love a good pair of shoes, but honestly, there is something so lovely about having a nice pair of comfy slippers, even if you are the only one who sees them. 

For Christmas this year, I didn't buy myself a new pair of slippers. Instead, I bought myself The Knitted Slipper Book

Magazines aside, I usually try to buy one or two crafty and creative books a year. This one made the cut -- there are so many slippers I want to make. I already made the blue pair on the bottom right. They reminded me of my everyday pair, only instead of knitting them with the yarn held double, you knit two separate slippers for each foot, and then put one inside the other.

I finally got around to felting them today. Since we have a front loading washing machine, I decided to felt these by hand. (Top loaders are preferable for felting, since you can pull the pieces out mid-cycle to check on the progress.)  

Felting never ceases to amaze. You knit or crochet something that looks so gargantuan, and then somehow, with hot water, dish soap, agitation and time, that humungous object shrinks as the fibers mess together, ultimately creating a stiff fabric. (If you have ever accidentally thrown a 100% wool sweater in the wash on a hot cycle, then you will certainly understand the process!

Felting by hand takes some time and patience, but it's worth it once you start to see the fibers mess together and the piece shrink before your eyes. It also takes some muscle. I'm thinking my hands might cramp later tonight.
One I got them to my size, I stuffed them with paper and set them out to dry. 

I'm pretty sure that although I gave my hands a workout today, my feet will thank me tomorrow, when these slippers are dry.

1 comment:

  1. They do look wonderfully soft and fluffy! I'm a barefoot fan too, unless it gets really chilly when the hand knitted socks come out!