Monday, 16 October 2017

Autumn is Here - Let's Nest!

The beautiful forest in Norfolk. Seriously, what could be better!?
Boy oh boy do I love this time of the year! One of the main reasons that I left Australia for cooler climes on the other side of the world was the seasons. Bless Oz but you can look out of a window in some places and January looks the same as July. 

Beeches are my favourite. It used to be oaks until I was more exposed to beech forests.
And the seasons are all swapped around - Christmas comes in the high summer and trust me when I say, very few people do the beach barbie thing. No we opt for a traditional roast with all the trimmings in the heat - one of the trimmings is flies.

I have always had a fascination with mushrooms in the wild!
Nasty. No, I want seasons and I want to live where things happen like they should. And now we have one of may favourite times of the year. Autumn!

Oh wow, what a pop of colour
My friends are doing nesty things making jam and chutney and foraging in the hedges for blackberries. Halloween is looming and I am itching to make a Halloween card and I have just the friend to give it to. Halloween is sadly not big over here in England but I still love the imagery.

I think that we have to agree that Norfolk is a bit nice :-) 
I have been making cards and crocheting at night in front of the fire and I have been thinking about warm toasty toes which brings me to felted slippers!

Not begging for Christmas....honest ­čśÇ
Now this is a great upcycle make so if you have a woollen jumper or can find one in a charity shop, all you have to do is to machine wash it on the hottest setting  with detergent and it will really shrink down. Throw a couple of tennis balls into the wash and that will help things along. This is the quickest way to make felt. And the hotter the wash the better!

Look at those colours!
I made mine from a beautiful scarf that my Mum made me. I loved the colours and the purest of wool but it really ate my neck. In the end, I had to give up wearing it. So I asked my Mum if she would mind if I made it into something else. Predictably she said yes so I started thinking about slippers.

If you do not have a jumper or a scarf, grab some felting wool (often called by the German name of Filtz wolle) and then either knit or crochet a giant rectangle. Remember that it will shrink a bit and you are better off to have some left over. Then felt your giant rectangle as described above.
This is a very simple pattern and here is the template that I designed. They are cut quite high on the instep because otherwise, they can slip off but don't worry, there is plenty of stretch.

The part of the upper where you put your foot in is cut deliberately small because it is easier and better practice to cut this to fit. It is easier than putting it back I found!
Measure your foot and have a play with the sizing. Please forgive me but I do not have a printer and everyone's feet are a little different anyway so the best way is to have a play and when the pattern fits your feet, it is the right size. This is what I do just in case the computer has done something awful to my sizing! I am a UK size 6 and these fit with some ease.

Looking more like a Norman helmet now!

My scarf wasn't very wide so I cut two uppers and joined them with a zig-zag stitch. If you have more room to work you could just cut on the fold if your fabric isn't too bulky.

My original design was cut too low on the instep so I redrew them higher up. You can cut lower though and because felt doesn't fray, it is up to you how low your go. I just cut an extra piece and secured it into the gap with some cross stitches. These slippers are very forgiving! I have drawn the pattern with the higher cut already there so that you don't have to guess.

Cut the foam interfacing a wee bit smaller than the the leather and wool sole layers. It looks a bit unsightly peeking out from the side of the soles when you are finished.

The soles were a mixture of leather on the bottom, some style-vil foam interfacing (Vlieseline) and then some wool felt for the inner lining.
You don't need to line the slipper itself.

Place the upper onto the sole and then sew the edge. Here again, the felt will not fray and it looks quite nice to have the edges exposed and unfinished. Just give them a trim.

I made a leather layered flower for the instep too- This is a lovely Sizzix die from Tim Holtz (Tattered Florals) and it cuts beautifully through the leather. 

You can see my Frankenstein style stitching where I made the instep higher too. Oh the joys of designing! Any other time, I might have just discarded the uppers but my Mum made me this scarf so every little bit was precious. At least it shows that most mistakes are fixable!

A snowflake button completed the picture.

So toasty toes now and Autumn can throw all of its beauty my way!
I am off to make Halloween cards now.

See you next time