Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Felted slippers

When you think of knitting, slippers are probably not the first things you think of. But that's exactly what I ended up making for two people this Christmas (although one pair was actually a December birthday present to be fair).

As with a lot of my knitted items so far, I searched Ravelry for slipper patterns, and found this fabulous pattern by DROPS Design. 

I have never (deliberately) tried felting. (I did once manage to half felt a cashmere jumper by putting it in a normal wash cycle in the machine, but I don't think that counts!). Usually with a pattern I would try and find a yarn similar to the suggested one not necessarily the exact one, but because this was a new technique, I decided to try and find the suggested yarn. I went to Purl City Yarns in Manchester, but unfortunately they no longer stock DROPS, but the lady in the shop helpfully pointed me in the direction of an online stockist, The Crochet Chain, which many of their customers have used in the past. 

The Crochet Chain specialises in DROPS wool, and the best thing about their website is that it tells you which yarns are good for what type of knitting. In particular it told me which yarns were good for felting, and this was very useful as the exact brand was out of stock in the colours I had decided on! In the end I chose Andes, a gorgeously soft wool/alpaca mix. 

The slippers were knit flat in one piece, using 10mm needles and double thickness of yarn. This meant that it knit in super quick time. This is the largest needle I've used so far, but it wasn't any more difficult. 

Red slippers knitted flat in one piece per slipper.
Once the slippers were knitted, the sides were folded inwards and the seam knitted up the middle, and the toe seam. The back edge was also folded in and sewn tightly.

Red Slippers seamed and ready for felting.
Once they were sewn up, they were ready to go in the washing machine to be felted. I washed each pair on their own, with a towel to give something to help the felting along (friction), using non-bio washing powder on a 30 degree wash. I then left them to dry in front of the radiator to help them dry quicker. (Partly because I left both pairs to the last minute! This is typical of me.)

As a final flourish, I added a pom pom to each which I made by wrapping wool around three of the fingers on my left hand, tying in the middle and trimming until it was perfectly round. These were then sewn on to the top of each slipper. 

I was really pleased with the end result, and may even make some more in the future.

Pink slippers, ready to be given away!

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