Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Elves

In September, I discovered, after years of resistance, the joys of knitting.  I went from terribly easy scarf to the next logical step, knitted felted slippers.  I was pretty sure I could do what the pattern called for, but I had never felted before and was trepidatious about what might come out.  But, they turned out wonderful, so I took the next logical step...make a pair for every person you know as Christmas late October.  No pressure here. And of course, I got distracted in the middle and didn't work as diligently as I should have.  But still, I managed to make 5 pairs of slippers as gifts.  Here's how they turned out:

From left to right: the burnt orange pair are for my Longhorn loving friend Lisa, the blue and green with the dragon-fly buttons are for my friend Michelle, the green with skull and cross bones for my friend Bonita, who now refers to them as the death slippers, the purpley-blue pair with the Celtic knot buttons are for my friend Katie, and the navy blue ones with leather buttons are for my friend Sam.  Whew!

Now, if you are like me, you might wonder how these slippers started out as a skein of yarn and ended up looking like shoes.  So, here is a video timeline of Lisa's pair through the felting process:

Step 1: Fill Washer with HOT water and 4 tennis balls to help with agitation, turn to the heaviest agitation setting, put slipper pieces in a zippered pillowcase, throw in the washer for 5 minutes and you get:

Step 2: After flattening out slippers and putting them back in the pillowcase, agitate for 5 more minutes (the 5 minute intervals are imperative.  If you just felt for the whole time and don't manipulate them every 5 minutes, they fold up and don't felt evenly)

Step 3: After 5 more minutes, they have begun to shrink and are looking more felted, but not ready yet. Fit them to your foot and shape after each felting period.

Step 4: Now begin shaping the slippers and measuring them to make sure they shrink to the proper size.


 Step 5: One more agitation session and they will be perfect:

Please note that colors bleed during the felting process...but the reds bleed far worse than others.  Believe it or not, this pillowcase started out white.  The water was an orange koolaid color, but I couldn't get a pic without the suds taking back over....and I was really afraid of dropping my camera in the water, so you will have to take my word for it:

Step 6: Let them dry, then sew on flaps...which felted along with this process, but weren't as easy to see in pictures) and whatever button you have chosen...and viola...slippers:

I actually made 5 more pair.  My mother, grandmother and three agility friends, but they have not all been given out yet, so pics will have to come later.  But look how much fun they all had together!

Perhaps next year I can either choose a project earlier and work on it all year long, or perhaps scale down the project.  I am just glad everyone enjoyed them.