Wet Felted Slippers

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You don’t have to know how to knit to make warm wool slippers. Felting occurs when wool is exposed to friction and moisture. The end result is a sturdy fabric! There are many tutorials online to quickly learn how to felt wool. I learned this ancient technique by watching Youtube videos (isn’t that ironic!).

These slippers are made with Merino dyed sliver on the inside and Perendale dyed sliver on the outside. The pattern on the top is done by needle felting wool yarn and wool sliver.

To make felt slippers you will need to learn how to felt with a resist. In the case of these slippers I cut slightly larger than the shape of the sole of my foot onto some bubble wrap. following a tutorial I began laying down tufts of wool in one direction over the resist on one side and then laying down another layer of tufts of wool at a 90 degree angle to the first layer. The layers should extend just beyond the shape of the resist. Once in place I used warm water and bar soap to mat down the wool gently with my fingers so not to disturb the pattern. I carefully massaged the wool until it looks sufficiently matted and then carefully flipped the resist with the wool on top and began repeating the process on the other side. Make sure you fold over the wool that was over hanging to create an edge! This layering is done on both sides of the resist twice. Once the layers are in place you really want to get some friction going. I rolled my slippers in another piece of bubble wrap  and then continues to roll it as if it was a rolling pin. This will take a while. Constantly change the position of the slippers within the bubble wrap so that the fibres get massaged in different directions. After a while you can remove the resist by cutting a hole in the top of the felting wool fabric. You want the hole to be where your foot will enter the slipper. Remove the resist and keep on felting in the bubble wrap. Add more hot water and soap often to keep the felting process going. Once you feel the fabric is adequately felted it is time to shape the slipper onto your foot. At first the form will seem large but as you mold it onto your foot you will get a nice shape and it will continue to felt as it dries.

Once dry you can decorate your new slippers with wool by needle felting. Needle felting is done with a barbed needle causing friction and interlocking the wool fibres rather than using water. There are many tutorials online to learn how to needle felt.

I bought my wool yarn, wool sliver and felting needles at Birkeland Bros. Wool which I am pleased to say is now located in the city I live in. You can order supplies at their website http://stores.birkelandwool.com/

I am also a fan of  NW Handspun Yarns located in Bellingham Washington. http://www.nwhandspunyarns.com/

Check out the many videos and websites online to learn more about felting. This is a fun and addictive hobby!

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