Monday, October 10, 2011

Having it all

Today is a holiday Monday readers, when everything is closed and I don't bother putting contact lenses in since I don't have to leave the house.  Glorious.  I've been felting slippers today, and I thought I'd share the whole process with you, including some of the slight modifications I've made to the pattern having completed two other sets of slippers already.  I'm totally old hat at this now.

Here's a quick refresher, team - I first made these a few months ago as my practice pair of French Press Slippers:

They worked out really well, I love how they look like ballet flats and not like a frumpy pair of chunky knitted slippers.  These have less of that homemade slippers feel, and I like that about them.  They could almost pass as real shoes if you didn't look at the bottoms.  After trying out the pattern with my own pair, I determined that these would be an acceptable gift for the sisters for Christmas this year.  I made a second pair, which I previously blogged about here.  I made no changes to the pattern, and they turned out just fine.  The only thing I noticed in my pair (not sure if this will turn up in the purple ones since I haven't been wearing them myself.  Well, just once.  Shhh, don't tell Slim Jim) was that the seams where I joined the top to the sole are kind of hole-y.  I thought that by felting them thoroughly, the holes would all tighten up together and disappear.  Most of them did, and the extra large and loose stitches had no trouble tightening up, but the seaming stitches weren't as close together as they needed to be to disappear.  The pattern just calls for you to seam any old way you like, since the felting will hide any problem spots.

This is the third pair, for the older sister thing, in a delightful rosy pink.  I finished all of the pieces a few weeks ago and seamed them all together this morning over coffee.

The first finished slipper is on the right, and the sole and top portion of the other slipper is waiting to be sewn up on the left.  For this pair, I decided to sew up the pieces using double strands of yarn.  This actually makes more sense than what I did the first time (sewing up using single strands), since all of the pieces were knit using either double or triple strands of yarn held together for extra thickness.  The top pieces were knit using two strands held together, so I sewed them up using the tail ends.

The finished pair of slippers, looking huge and floppy.

 For my own amusement, I held my perfectly normal-sized hand next to them for scale comparison.

 All of the finished pieces.  I also marked the right slipper this time before felting with a piece of kitchen twine.  I forgot to do that with both of the other slippers so I had to think extra hard when they came out of the washing machine looking exactly the same. 
 Ready to go in the wash, I pulled together some bulky towels and few pairs of jeans for extra agitation.  I use a mesh lingerie bag to keep all of the slipper pieces in one place during washing.  
The washing was done in my top-loading Kenmore washer, with the hottest water possible and the "Normal" washing cycle which includes fast-fast agitation for both halves of the cycle.  I added a smidge of detergent (Arm and Hammer liquid laundry detergent) and let the full washing cycle run.  I checked on them about 3 times during the wash cycle, and ended up putting the slippers bases back in for another half cycle of the wash.  The top piece flaps (the little pieces not attached to the slippers) were done after the initial cycle, and I pulled them out.

The slippers were nicely felted when they came out, and I rinsed them with cold water before squeezing all the water out.  I rolled them up in my knitting/dog towels (towels that no one really cares about since they cost $1.49 at Ikea) and squeezed a little more water out.  They went outside on the deck on the drying rack, which has adorable little shoe drying holders, which work perfectly for felted slippers.

The little flappies are currently hanging to drying on the washing line, looking like tiny pink elephant ears.

They should take at least 24 hours to fully dry since they're so dense, so I'll leave them out all day and bring them inside overnight to dry some more.



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