Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good Reasons To Sample

Ilene Freedman of www.houseinthewoods.com wrote to me yesterday.

Hi Ilana, I love your felt work! I am making slippers with my felting study group tomorrow, so your post is especially inspirational today! I need to decide which fiber to use. May I ask what your preferred fiber is for slippers? I have merino, Harrisville fleece, locks curly and combed out, generic meat sheep wool (maybe Jacob mix?), alpaca. Peace Fleece roving that  I mostly use for needling. and I'm not sure what else. I was thinking of one of the coarser fibers along with some merino as a mix. Thanks for any advice.

How awesome to have a felt study group! I’m jealous.

Well I've used merino, corriedale, c3, meat sheep, mystery sheep and combinations thereof.

The real trick is to have some clue as to how much you have to felt a thick piece down to get a well fulled piece. 

So’s you’d know how much your wool shrinks.

So’s you’d know how big your template needs to be.

You get to that well fulled point just when you get to the point where the slipper fits the princess foot – right?

Of course that would mean doing test samples!

(I can hear Pat Spark cheering off in the distance)  

Ever hear the saying “do as I say not as I do”??

Hear it echoing now??

That’s because while I wish I could say that I did/do test samples; I'm way too much of a let's just get started kind of girl. 

(Poor Pat now audibly sighing in frustration)

Over the years I've learned that if there is merino in the mix I should probably make
my pattern a bit bigger to account for the extra shrinkage but other than that I just wing it and enjoy! 

After all there’s always someone I can gift hand felted slippers to if they don’t fit me in the end!

So Ilene my advice is to make a 10 X 10 inch sample.  Lay it out the thickness you will actually be using.  Felt it, full it, measure it (and let me know the results).  See if the texture of what you sampled looks like ‘slippers’ to you.

Be sure to send snapshots of your groups slippers for me to post for you!  My readers will want a peek I’m sure.

Oh and readers Ilene’s site doesn’t have any wooly content (yet) but it’s well worth a look.  Our local CSA is an amazing community resource…..and hers has music too!

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