Felting Foils Frostbite



It's January. I'm sure you know that by now, but what that really means is that I haven't felt my toes for nearly two months. What is a girl to do when her feet are always cold and even a pair of wool socks can't warm them up? Knit up some wool slippers my friend! 

This project started as a craving. I saw my husband bring his Duffers slippers out of the closet and decided my old slippers could use an update. I ordered my yarn, Knitpicks's Wool of the Andes Bulky in Silver and Spruce. 

After one very frustrating day, I decided to treat myself with a cast on only to realize that I hadn't wound the yarn. With not enough energy to drag out the needed equipment, I just gave a pitiful whimper and headed off to bed defeated. But you can't keep a girl like myself down for long. I wound up my yarn the next day and placed it next to some size US 10.5 needles to tempt me into knitting just a few minutes. 

The Duffers pattern by  Mindie Tallack is only 19 rows long. A quick and simple knit. (Note that she has published a Duffers Revisited pattern that includes more sizes and seamless construction that, had I known about it prior to casting on, would have been well worth my money.) I knit both slippers in one evening while watching TV with my husband. There is something so satisfying about seeing these slippers laid out. At first they look like another swatch gone wrong, but then you fold them in half and...voila, cute slippers. 

A quick seam along the back of the heel and bottom of the foot is the magic that turns 19 rows of knitting into a slipper. Some YouTube videos that I looked into had me seaming garter in a way that left a flat space that was obvious and weirdly flat so I seamed up these slippers using a modified type of mattress stitch along the garter stitch bottom.  This resulted in a slight ridge on one side of my knitting and a pretty close match of the garter on the other if you don't pull your seaming thread too tight. Of course these slippers are felted so it probably wouldn't have made much difference. 

To felt these slippers I first tried to soak them in a hot water bath with laundry detergent and then shock them in a cold water bath. I shock and I scrubbed but I just didn't have the arm power to felt them by hand. I was worried about throwing them into my fancy new washing machine, which I look to warily. The new fangled contraption locks the lid when you start the washing cycle: perfect for keeping kids out of there but I want to be able to open the lid every couple of minutes like a maniac when I'm felting to be sure I'm not making a pair of booties. 

Finally though I just gave up. I tossed them in, turned the machine to HOT water, added some laundry detergent, set the machine for the shortest setting and walked away. I'd like to say that I didn't sweat it and so did not need to check in on the slippers, but truth is, I walked away and forgot they were in there. I lifted the lid with caution and peeked in. Two adorable, if somewhat misshapen, slippers emerged. 

I tried these wet slippers on my feet and they almost fit. Just a smidge too big, I threw them in the dryer with a couple of dry wash cloths. In 15 minutes I had just the right size. I molded them a bit to a shape that was more pleasing and gave a squarish shape to the toe. The yarn felted beautifully and I love the two colors I chose. When I cast off at the opening of the slipper, I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and I think that this kept the bind off edge from pulling too tight when felting. I'm still deciding whether to sew leather patches to the bottom or to use tee-shirt puff paint as I've done in the past. Maybe I'll think on it a while longer. 

If you haven't knit a pair of slippers or if you have and it's been a while, do yourself a favor and treat your feet.