SNOW DAY! I live in the east coast of Canada and currently the big storm Juno is sailing through. The entire province (eastern seaboard?) is shut down and for once even my office was closed for the day. Pretty much closed off to the entire world, I decided to try my hand at making felted slippers. The pattern I used was the free Felt Slippers For Adults by Nita Brainard. I had never done any sort of felting before and frankly I found it a bit insane or hard to believe. The size the pre-felted item had to be was comical and I really had trouble believing felting would change the size that much.
However, after reading all sorts of tutorials on felting as well as going over some other felting patterns I decided to just trust it would work out.
The slippers themselves did not take long to knit, nor were they a complicated knit. I was able to get them done while my husband and I watched movies (Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Rainman, just in case you’re curious). They don’t take a huge amount of concentration, and frankly I wasn’t too worried about any mistakes. I mean, they are getting felted and that should hide most mistakes, right? Holy crap, though, were they ever huge pre-felting! Upon seeing them my husband oh so helpfully said, “You do realize you aren’t making these for Shaq, right?”. Hardy har har. But really, seeing them there, waiting to be felted, over 13 inches long (and I have size 7 feet)… doubts over what felting would be able to accomplish crept back in.
Enormous knit booties in hand, I sat down to begin the felting process. First of all, felting is a bit of a pain in the ass, or at least felting by hand is. I am sure I will do it again sometime, but I assure you I will be getting dishwashing gloves next time. My hands are all dry and ick feeling after all that time in the hot soapy water scrubbing away at the booties. The felting took a little longer to get going than I expected and took more physical effort than I expected as well. Worried I didn’t have the ability to felt them small enough by hand I threw them in our front loading clothes washer on the hottest cycle. This did help bring them down in size a bit but still not small enough, so I tossed them in to our dryer at the hottest setting. Again, some shrinkage (ha) but not quite small enough. I gave up at that point though. I mean, really, if they aren’t small enough after all that they are never going to be! I’m just going to line them with something fluffy (sheepskin if I can find it) and I am sure they will be perfect then. Hell, they are pretty awesome now in their too-big size!
I do think I will make them again sometime, but I will be making a smaller size, at least in terms of width. Fun project, though, and something fun to show for a snow day at home.
- I used just over half a ball of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oak Tweed. I don’t generally like tweed yarns, and I had wanted the natural colour but for whatever reason my local Michael’s was out of every colour was of Fisherman’s Wool except this tweed colour. Oh well.
- As per the pattern I used size 13 US needles and held the yarn double.
- In total this took me maybe 8 hours to do (including felting) which to me is not bad.
- I made the ladies medium size, but if/when I make these again I will be making the narrow version of these. I have really wide feet too, so I have no clue what sort of lady’s foot would fit in these things!
- While I LOVE these slippers they did end up being a bit big despite my efforts to felt them smaller. They are lovely but I do think I am going to have to line them with some thick something (sheep skin I hope, or in a pinch polar fleece) which should be just enough to make them perfect.
- I would add a few more rows at the top of the slipper before you turn the heel, just to have more of a lip/edge at the top of the slipper. I (luckily?) have enough extra at the back of the slipper that I was able to sort of shape it in to a back of the heel lip, but I think it would be better if they were deliberately knit that way.
- I felted by hand for about half an hour just in hot water with Palmolive, followed by about 10 minutes of hot water/cold water shock felting followed by a run in our front facing clothes washer, followed by about 20 minutes in the dryer. I figured if they didn’t shrink down small enough after all that they were never going to, hence my plan to line them.
- The end result of the felting in terms of the fabric it created is really nice. I see why so many people use Fisherman’s Wool for felted projects. It just seemed to work well and felt uniformly.
You can view my Ravelry project for these felted slippers HERE.
So apparently I should be able to felt these smaller. According to the knowledgeable people on the Ravelry forums that as long as you can still see some stitch definition (which I can, as the above picture shows) then you can still felt further. This is encouraging! I am fed up with trying to felt by hand so I’m going to toss them in the washer again tonight and see what happens. I just really hope they don’t shrink too much…