Sunday, March 27, 2011

Felting in the Dryer, and Little Zippers

Here are some kids slippers, knit from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky.  Top picture shows them after felting, lower is before felting.  It is a pattern that I have been working on for a few while, which is why I have knit 11 pairs, not all of them kids sizes.
I wanted a pattern that is simple, quick, in-the-round, and no-sew.  This is what I came up with.
The pattern for the kids' sizes is 16 rows.  No. Kidding.  And it is felted in the dryer- a technique that I got from a friend.  The slippers were about an inch shorter after felting.
I've been wearing a similar pair as house shoes for the past 3 months, and they are holding up very well.

  A skein of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky is 125 yards, and will make 2 pairs of kids slippers.  You can make these slippers on dp's, one two circulars, or on one longish circular (magic loop).  The slipper is knit from the top down, the last row being the middle of the sole.  Knit the last row with a needle a couple sizes larger, and you can close the sole by 'zipping' it shut: pulling stitches from alternate sides through one another from toe end to heel end, where your yarn end goes in the last loop.  This closing resembles another garter stitch row, and matches the elasticity of the rest of the sole.

This being March Madness, I can tell you that I can knit a pair of these in the time it takes to watch a basketball game. However, as I explained above, I've had a bit of practice. YMMV.

If you would like to have the kids zippers pattern, just send me an e-mail (sharonwue-at-yahoo-dot-com) and I will send it along.  It is copyrighted, so please do not distribute.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about the pattern, especially the 'in-the-round vs sew-it-up' and the 'zipper closing' features.

Meantime, about felting in the dryer:  Here's how I do it.
With the items sopping wet, put them in the dryer with some small towels.  (I use hand towels, kitchen towels, golf towels, etc.  Bath towels are too big and heavy for this job, IMHO.)  Run the dryer on low, or no, heat.  Check every 10 to 15 minutes.  When you check them, work out the toe and heel with your fingers, where the slippers want to bubble a bit.   Don't let them dry out.  Re-sop them, as this is a WET process.  You can only do it in the dryer if YOU provide the WET environment that felting needs.  My slippers were dropped in a basin of water again at 30 minutes in, and, dripping wet, they were flung back into the dryer to continue tumbling. Mine were tumbled for less than an hour, total.  Pull, push them into shape and dry.  If they are still squishy when you are done felting, I spin them out in the washer to speed drying.  After that, I do put them in a (front loading) washer to launder when they need it, but I DO NOT dry them in the dryer.

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