Saturday, December 10, 2011

Room shoes

Yesterday I attended a 'room-shoe' workshop. There was a workshop earlier in the year but with one thing and another I wasn't able to sign up. This workshop was at short notice ... and coincided with elder cub hosting a sleepover for 5 friends .... so we negotiated. The sleepover had to start once I had returned from the workshop. I'm not sure elder cub agreed but he understood that if he wanted a sleep over - those were the terms. Turns out that he is a good host, he diligently made sure all his guests had sleeping bags and pillows and knew where the amenities were, and he played host all night refreshing drinks, organizing snacks, and suggesting entertainments. That is a side of him that neither Bear or I had seen before and one we are impressed by.
But Room-shoes, these were made for Bear at the workshop. They started life as 50 grams of grey polworth and 70g of purple polworth fibre. Machiko talked us through the felting properties of various fibres - and Polworth appealed as it felts into a smooth dense surface. In her 'other lives' (and like all interesting people she has several) Machiko lectures product design and makes the the sort of jewellery that I want to buy whenever I see it. Machiko provided all the materials for the room-shoes, and template for making baby shoes right up to large Bear sized ones.  I chose to make the larger size of the sizes on offer, as Bear has bigger paws than I, and in the class was a little worried that I had not felted them enough t fit Bear. Once home Bear tried these one and they fitted just right - how cool is that?
I blanket stitched around the opening tightly with sock yarn to reinforce the edge and stop it stretching. The largest sharpest needles I had on hand were bookbinding ones and they worked well for this.

Today I decided that the best way not to forget how to make room shoes was to make another pair, so I did. Once the extra boys had been returned to their respective families. Perendale in apple green on the inside and Gotland bright blue on the outside.
I've trimmed the opening, but not yet bound it. I like the idea of binding this with fabric but probably will just blanket stitch with sock yarn like the first pair. Because this pair were for me - I adapted the template a little, cut it narrower and shorter.
Both fibres felted beautifully, and now they have to dry. The weather is windy and threatening to change, so that may just happen inside near a heater tonight. The plan is to finish both pairs with leather on the soles so they are durable. Even just wearing felted shoes inside is enough to wear the soles thin  - so it makes sense to add a more durable layer.
One of the best things is there is only a teeny tinny bit of left over felt once the foot opening is trimmed. I brought the scraps home from the workshop and put them in the compost, and will do the same with these scraps .... I won't be able to do that with the leather scraps, as leather is pretty durable stuff and not the best thing to add to a compost. I like this method of making slippers or Room-shoes, its physical but only takes a few hours, far less involved than knitted clogs.

Meanwhile younger cub has already requested a pair, and Bear has seconded that she could have a pair and even gone so far as to suggest they be in purple .... so it sounds like there may be  a few more pairs made over the summer holidays .. if only we can find a source of leather for the soles. ...

take care
na Stella

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

Very nice! Those look comfy and warm - and I love the blue/green combination. Alas, I have no suggestions for leather sourcing...