Last Friday, I made another attempt at a pair of felted slippers for myself. (For those of you keeping score, DH has a pair already that he wears & loves – made in 2004.)
The original concept behind this project is that I have a fabulous but very elderly pair of slippers that I’d like to replicate. These are totally classic, pink-eyed, furry bunny slippers, which I purchased in Canada around 1991. The one on the right foot (at any given moment) is named Hip; the one on the left foot is named Hop. As footwear goes, they are among the most comforting items I have ever owned. Obviously, though, they have seen better days. They would like to retire.
The idea I’ve been working with is to use a fur yarn in with the felting yarn, to give the finished slipper a fluffy, furry texture.
I’ve tried this once before, using a doubled strand of mohair for the sole, and adding in a strand of fur for the top of the slipper. The sole felted fine, but the top part of the slipper did not felt down sufficiently to allow it to stay on my dainty little foot. The post-mortem conculsion, reached by a group of us at my LYS, was that the triple-stranded fabric was too dense, and I should have dropped one strand of the mohair to be replaced with the fur, rather than just adding in the fur.
All was not lost, however – the dog loved ‘em.
So far I’ve been wedded to the idea of incorporating pink mohair into these slippers: partly because I love MOHAIR, but mainly because, in a moment of weakness in 1999, I purchased an entire bag of bubblegum pink mohair, and after coming to my senses later (NO, a BUBBLEGUM PINK MOHAIR SWEATER is NOT a good idea!) I found I had absolutely no idea what else to do with it. And my Midwestern sense of “waste not, want not” just hasn’t let me NOT use this appropriately colored animal fiber to make these slippers.
However, after this most recent experiment, I’m thinking, pink or no, the mohair will just have to be abandoned.
This time, I tried using just 1 strand of mohair with the fur for the uppers: therefore this time the fabric would not be as dense, and thus it would be able to felt down to the correct size. Right? Here they are, prior to felting, and here they are, after felting:
Once again, the sole felted fine – actually, since (again) I felted these blasted things for the better part of an hour, the soles (again) felted far too small – but (again) the top part of the slipper did not felt down sufficiently to allow it to stay on my dainty little foot.
I’m coming to the conclusion that perhaps effing-U-N fur + mohair just DOES NOT FELT WELL. (I have 2 data points now, after all, and that’s plenty for any engineer worth her salt to come to a conclusion.)
Actually, I don’t think it’s necessarily the MOHAIR that’s the culprit here – because the soles on Pair #1, made with a double strand of mohair, felted just as densely as the soles on Pair #2, made with a double strand of Cascade 220.
I’m not giving up yet, though I know I’m letting myself in for continued public humiliation. My felting disasters are all but legendary at my LYS. On Friday afternoon, as I sat knitting on Pair #2, Sandi told Rock Star all about Pair #1, and Rock Star just about wet her pants laughing. (There’s an easy joke in there about baby boomers and pants-wetting, but I digress.)
So, onward and upward, and (except for that last snarky comment) I will attempt to maintain dignity in the face of mockery and felting adversity.
Next step: give second set of failed slippers to dog for chew toys.
Step after that: make & felt a swatch that includes
- plain wool (double-stranded),
- plain mohair (double-stranded),
- wool + mohair (1 strand each),
- wool with fur, and
- mohair with fur.
Probable steps after that:
Curse the day I bought the stinking pink mohair.
Buy more Cascade 220 in pink.
Defiantly cast on yet again, and make Pair #3 entirely of wool and fur, with no mohair content.
Reconsider: just how bad could a bubblegum pink mohair cardigan be, after all? … kind of sassy… kind of retro… with a fur collar to match the slippers… … I could always give it to Rock Star for Xmas…