I decided to give wet felted slippers another go and to try them a different way. I bought the slipper form on the top left and the baby ones from Gillian Gladrags. The other pair on the right I purchased from Germany. Wingham Woolworks used to sell forms like those but they are being discontinued. For more information on supplies, I added another page to my blog.
I decided to make the slippers according to the instructions in the book Complete Feltmaking by Gillian Harris. Her way is to layout the wool on the slipper lasts and then to full them in the washing machine. I used 100% merino wool for all three slippers. The only thing I did different was to use merino batt as the top layer for the large pair otherwise I followed the instructions to the letter!
Although the prefelt dots were well stuck on the yellow pair, most of them came off in the wash. Everything looks felted, but this is not how a well felted piece should look like as you can still see the fibers. This is why commercially prepared batts are useful. The fibers are shorter and laid out in all different ways so that they felt more quickly. The brown slippers felted the best on the outside most likely because of that reason.
I trimmed the tops of the slippers and in so doing I noticed that the inside layers did not seem to be felted well at all. I took off the rest of the dots on the yellow slippers and then returned all three pairs to the washing machine. They actually didn’t seem to felt that well at all and pretty much looked the same. I took the slippers off of the last. I noticed that there were some thin areas on the purple pair. In any event, they were still way too big for me. The brown pair needed a bit of work on the toe of one slipper, but otherwise, this was a better fit for the hubs. It is just a little bit wide, but that is ok and once I put a pair of soles on, they should be fine. The baby ones I am completely disappointed with as they are very thin. I didn’t take a photo of the finished slippers as I am so unhappy with them. I definitely will not be making a pair of slippers with the ones on the top left as they are too deep and wide. I will try making them on the resist first and then finishing them off on the large last (I also bought the same style for myself) and do the same on the baby lasts. Someone also suggested using Bergschaf wool for the slippers for this washing machine method. I know that Bergschaf is supposed to be good for bags.
Although these slippers didn’t turn out well, I have learned a few things. You won’t learn anything unless you do make a mistake, so all is not completely lost. 🙂