Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Disasters in Felting: Slippers!

Oh my God, those are seriously horrible. They look like something Frodo Baggins would wear! Get them off your feet and leave them off forever, or go find yourself a house in the shire!!"
-Rene, killing herself laughing when I first put my newly felted slippers on.
You gotta love sisters!

So I decided after my hat experiment, I would try a new experiment from my felting book: Slippers.

This is what I was aiming for: beautiful handmade slippers from Cocoon. I love the stripes and the slightly pointy toe. These were made with straight carded wool for the first few layers, then the stripes were added at the last layer.I admit, I am suspicious and think there might be a needle felted layer between the stripes. If there is, Bravo Cocoon! These are amazing little bundles of warmth!

My felting book told me to make a plastic resist roughly shaped like a big 'U', measuring my feet to guestimate the size of my pattern. I measured my foot leaving a little space around the edges some movement (who wants tight slippers?) and then covered the whole thing in packing tape. If I were to do this experiment again (and you know since I already admitted I messed this one up, I will try again) I would make my plastic resist out of bubble wrap, since it would help create friction on the inside to further help the felting process. To see how this template would work, you have to imagine that you are looking at the side of the "boot", and where the crease of the paper is in the centre, is the opening where you would stick your foot in. I won't tell you how long I stared at the felting book till I figured that one out! (Their pattern wasn't so obvious!)

My packing tape template! Next time, bubble wrap.

Then I got busy laying the felt down. Again next time I would do thick solid layers for the first few layers and the stripes last. Actually, scrap that- next time I'm just doing solid coloured idiot-proof-felted slippers- most likely black. I'll needle felt any design they might need!

Here is my wetted-down, soggy-slipper mess, On a bamboo mat to add friction, and on a black garbage bag to save the kitchen table. As you can see, I folded the edges from the other side over and felted it all together. The felt also seemed to spread out around the edges making my slippers HUGE. No problem though, you can always do what I did and throw them in the dryer for added felting and shrinkage. They were actually quite comfy when they were fresh out of the dryer! When I was finished squishing them in the bamboo mat, (to harden the felt)) I cut the whole thing down the crease in the middle and slipped my feet in the newly created openings to see how they fit.

But they were heinous. So heinous in fact, I regret to inform you, I didn't take any pictures. In fact, I wasn't even going to put this blog up! But then I decided the point is the process, and just as there is a lot to learn from bad teaching, there is so much to learn from art projects gone awry!

Next time, I would do these things:

1. As mentioned before, save the stripes for the last layer, and do them very thin so they grab onto the previous layer of felt well. I'd also use copious amounts of cushy Merino wool roving.
2. I would probably stick with a solid coloured felt and needle felt any designs on them.
3. I wouldn't do the pointed toe. It was too much and Rene said I looked like a Frodo Baggins Christmas elf! Not very sexy! In fact, I ended cutting these ones off completely and stitching them shut. Now they look like Charles Dicken's poor man's socks.
4. If I were to do stripes, I would wind long pieces around the whole thing for continuity of design. Sadly, the gimpy fold over parts ended up on the tops of my slippers and they look horrible.
5. I might not leave so much room around the template of my feet. They were pretty big! Though I admit throwing them in the dryer was a happy mistake.

I may needle felt a design on the tops next time I'm back in the Okanagan. I left them there, they were so ugly! But comfy. I have to say, they were pretty damn comfortable and in the end, they were the right shape, so I'm on to something and it wasn't a colossal failure!

But until then, buy your slippers at Cocoon!



  1. Haha! I'm so tempted to dig them out, take a photo an link them here to my blog! But Christmas is coming, so I won't.

  2. You can't- you don't know where they are! I bought new wool for the new pair today!

  3. These look wonderful! I'd like to make a pair. These pair of shoes are easy to prepare and comfortable to wear .
    Thanks for sharing

    Barker Marine

    Men Shoes UK

  4. I honestly think you've got your foot shape the wrong way around. The way I interpret it the tops of the U shape are to wrap around your ankle, small seam at the heel, and the bottom of the U goes across the instep - no?