So, today, more on the slippers. This time I used Massam wool. It is a British breed, also known as Marsham. It was developed by crossing Teeswater or Wensleydale rams with Swalebreed ewes, producing sheep with heavy longwool fleeces. That’s what I found on this blog, there is not much about Massam wool on-line. You can get it from here, for example. Massam is a loooong wool, with a staple 15-38 cm, so it probably wasn’t the best choice for a pair of small slippers, it seemed like if I was going to cover the whole resist with one wisp.
First, I traced around my daughter’s feet, cut the shape from a cardboard and traced unto bubble wrap. Enlarged by cca 3 cm all round, cut out the enlarged shape. I covered both sides with a bit of bamboo fibre and then Massam, 6 layers on each side. When they were half felted I measured 4 cm from the back edge of the slipper and draw a triangle: 4x4x4 cm. I cut through it’s two sides, but not the base, following instructions from a good book on felt Feltmaking and Wool Magic.
That’s where the pointy edges at the back come from. Then I cut 9 cm from the triangle’s top towards the top of the slipper. This proved to be too long for child’s feet, about 4-5 cm would be enough. I worked the cut edges with my fingeres to make them firm. I still needed to make them smaller and then shape them for which I used a washboard, keeping in mind that wool shrinks mainly in the direction of rubbing. To see if they were the right size, I put an original cardboard shape in a slipper.
When they seemed to be the right size I mixed mid blue and navy blue acid dye with a bit of claret and black and dyed them on the hob. And imagine this!: I completely forgot about the top bamboo layer and re-discovered it only during dyeing! First I thought that the dye does not do it’s job, the slippers looked like if I put them in the dyebath dry, pale. The thing is, that if protein and cellulose fibres are dyed together the wool seems to “grab” most of the dye, especially if the solution is weaker, leaving less for eg. bamboo.
After dyeing I shaped both slippers pulling the wool with my fingers and even pliers – the pointy back part.
I still need to treat the sole and make the opening a bit smaller.