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...
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