Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Felted Slippers and Vessels

It's so funny how one thing can lead to another... I went to a class and learned how to use a resist to make a felted bag, then I started making felted birdhouses. As I got better with those I realized that I didn't need anyone to show me how to make a vessel (which I'd been wanting to try), I already knew! Then as I made more birdhouses and a few vessels I thought I could make slippers, so I finally did (with some prodding from my sister-in-law Barbara!). It's intriguing to see how skills build upon one another, especially in art (when you're not a "natural talent!").
So, here are some slippers that I just made! I have had two pairs of awesome hand-felted wool slippers, both which I got in a great little shop off the main square in Cusco, Peru. It's a shop with lots of handmade original silver jewelry (not mass-produced touristy stuff), and also has felted items from the shop owner's friend in Scandinavia! I completely wore out the first pair, and bought some more on my fall, 2009 trip there. My current pair is a little large and I don't love the decoration; I kept thinking that it would be so nice if I could make some myself, custom fit to my feet. Well, I finally did it!
First I made the "baby" slippers (top). I was pleased with how they turned out, though to be critical one is thicker than the other and it was a good reminder that I need to weigh out the fiber and take notes when making things where matching matters.
I made these with alpaca on the inside for extra softness, then C-1 wool (which is rough but shrinks well but gives a lot of structure), then merino wool on the outside. The picture above is a good illustration of the amount of shrinkage that occurs after fulling. It also shows the original resist, and the pieces that were cut out- wow, doesn't the hole grow a lot?
As I was fulling/shrinking them, I kept putting them on my feet and molding/rubbing them for a good fit. I was pleased with how well they matched up, and wanted to add some additional color so I spun up some yarn from roving I'd just hand-dyed. Then I did a blanket-stitch around the opening and stitched a little design on one. I've yet to do the other as my thumb is sore from pushing the needle through the thick felt!
To finish them off completely, I'm going to stitch leather to the bottoms to help with wear and keep them from being too slick on our wood floors. I hope to receive the leather in the mail tomorrow, and if all goes well my next post will be about that process and I'll show the final results. And in the meantime, here are a few completed vessels...
Pin It Now!


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, how talented are you ! These look so fabulous and professionaly done. Your birdhouses are amazing as well. I loved looking at them in your previous posts. Oooooh how I would love to have your stash of roving to try some of these out.

Very. Inspiring.

WonderWhyGal said...

Gorgeous! My daughter and I plan to make our first slippers this weekend. I love how yours shaped up.
I always love your work!

Loco Lindy said...

Thanks so much, Modisch and Andrea! They are a lot of fun to make, and I look forward to making a lot more. Feel free to call or email if you need any tips when you're making them, Andrea. The key is to use a sturdy wool for at least 1/3 of your layers, I believe. Good luck!

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

Gorgeous!!! I love them (and covet them)!

Anonymous said...

Your vessels are beautiful and I absolutely love your slippers!!! The stitching really shows them off beautifully and I will be interested to see how well the leather soles fit when they arrive. I like to paint 4 or 5 layers of liquid latex on the soles of my slippers (you know how much I hate sewing!) and this helps make them waterproof and slip resistant. See you soon! X Nicola

Foxlily said...

These are great! I love the tiny pink slippers with flowers.

Tiggeriffic said...

I love making felted things.. Where did you find the pattern for these.. They are so cool and I love the stitching you added..
Do you actually use the birdhouses outside for the birds? or is it just what you call this project. I think they are cool~
Very good Job..~!
Have a Tiggeriffic Day~!~!
Ta Ta For now From Iowa:)

Loco Lindy said...

Hi Annie (Tiggerific), I made the template about 20-30% larger than my foot (which was the estimated shrinkage of the fiber) and just went from there! These aren't knitted and felted, so there's no set pattern. I just might try my hand at a tutorial for these, they are very fun and satisfying to make! The birdhouses are functional, and I have one hanging outside now waiting for spring occupants. It's holding out great so far and I can't wait to see who moves in!

Zed said...

These are gorgeous, I've been meaning to try slippers, but haven't found a good tutorial,and don't know where/how to cut maybe I should just do what you did and try it for myself! Thanks :)