Silver birch felted slippers

First craft project of the year is complete. It’s a simple one, made more complex by its numerous stages. For the sake of sanity, this process was fortunately spread out over successive years of near inactivity. Slow crafting at its best. Allowing plenty of thinking time.

Do and leave. Repeat till done.

Some projects seem to mature with time. This was one of them. Let me tell you its story.

The beginnings of this project arrived in our kitchen in the form of a bag of sheep’s fleece. Excess to a friend’s requirements. Did I want it? Otherwise it would be wasted.

The photo above dates back to summer 2010. A year that lent itself to washing and drying fleece. Making the most of the gentle breeze and warming sun.

Roll on two years. (I said it was slow). On a warm spring day, out in the garden, the clean fleece was carded and sorted. Then hid in sacks ready to use, another day.

It stayed hidden for another three years. Until, one evening, I spun it up into balls of yarn. Returning it into hiding, in a drawer, until the time was right to use it. The photo is from January 2015.

Until finally, this month, this year, it’s ready to use. The fleece can finally be transformed, by knitting (and a need and an idea).

The story is not yet ended. They are now two, not one. Still not ready. They need one last stage before my work is done, but a pre-felting photo is compulsory. Right?

One day later, they are finally transformed into something useful. After time tumbling in the washing machine, with towels and jeans, they have taken shape. Slippers. Fun slippers. Ready for my middle girl. Once they are dry.

But, wait, there is something I did not intend. Something that magically happened long ago in one of the early stages. Not corrected at any of the other moments of making. Do you see it? The flecks of brown? Streaking across the felted slippers.

As if the slippers were made from the bark of a silver birch. Not fleece at all.

The fleece is from a Jacob sheep. Brown and white. When we separated out the colours, some small flecks of brown must have sneaked into the cream mix.

I’m sure six and a half years ago, when she helped me wash the fleece (she’s the one in the red dress in the photo at the top), my girl did not imagine that it would turn into slippers aspiring to be patterned tree bark.

Or did she?

I like them. I like that they turned out not as I imagined. An unintended twist. Maybe an endorsement that some of the best things take time to grow and should not be hurried. Childhood, trees and, now, felted slippers included.

My job is done. Over to the new owner. The magic of handmade felted slippers is that the final transformation takes place on the intended feet. They begin to adapt to the shape of the feet. Working and stretching to fit perfectly, until they would suit no other.

Probably a good time to mention, that my girl hasn’t got pointed toes. That is my added fun to the slippers. I was contemplating turning them up and adding a bell. Maybe next time.

First stash busting project complete. Right time to start another pair. Let’s see if I can beat my six years record.

Linking up to #Trash2Treasure and Made By You

20 thoughts on “Silver birch felted slippers

    • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 10:33 pm


  • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Before I got to the end of the post I was thinking that the toes needed turning back and stitching like turkish slippers and then I read that you had the same idea. I have things like that, waiting in the wings to get finished. One thing my youngest son (now 46 ) always reminds me of to this day is the hedgehog that I was making for him and never ever finished, lol

    • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      The shape would have worked with turned up toes, but once I saw the silver birch effect, I just couldn’t do it. I hope you finish the hedgehog one day.

  • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Oh Cheryl, what a wonderful story and a perfect end to your stash of Jacobs fleece. I now feel guilty for giving ours away each year. I really need your creativity to wash and weave it. I love your slippers \and the distinctive Jacobs bark look coming through. A delightful tale. I hope your middle daughter enjoys wearing them.

    Thank you for joining me for #Trash2Treasure

    • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Oh, I still have more left to spin and knit. I suspect this fleece will do a few more pairs of slippers. I hope you keep a fleece back to experiment with. Even more special as you know the sheep.The one step in the process I missed out on.

  • Thursday 5 January, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    These are amazing, I’ve done some minor felting projects but never thought to make slippers! Love them. And the time they took being born!

    • Saturday 7 January, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      They don’t need to take 6 years. They really shouldn’t take that long. I’ve knitted a pair up in a couple of evenings before. Keeping my feet toasty by the next.

  • Saturday 7 January, 2017 at 11:17 am

    They look like elves slippers! My daughter will love them. Would love to learn how to do crafts too. My daughter has some new dolls over Christmas, would love to make clothes for them… Even simple ones, but I don’t even remember how to use a sewing machine! Let’s see ….

    • Saturday 7 January, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      They do look like they could belong to an elf. What a fabulous challenge to make clothes for her new dolls. My children used to love waking up in the morning to find I’d/ an elf had made clothes for their dolls. Later on they used to help. Do it now. Leave it too long and they won’t want to dress their dolls anymore.

    • Wednesday 11 January, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you, Nell. Good job she’s had other slippers in the meantime!

  • Sunday 8 January, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Love the story, and the results! Thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, great to reconnect in 2017!

    • Wednesday 11 January, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Sara. Good to be able to join in again.

  • Wednesday 11 January, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I am ever so slightly jealous of anyone who can craft like this and the pointy slippers are wonderful. The guy who shears our sheep takes the wool with him … I must ask if he is into slow crafting! Thank you so much for adding your slippers to the #GoingGreenLinky … I hope I will not have to wait 6 years for your next post 😆

    • Wednesday 11 January, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      I hope so too! I have more planned, which should take days, rather than stopping and starting over years. They are a lot easier to make than you probably imagine. I fact felted slippers make a perfect first knitting project. That simple!

  • Friday 13 January, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I love this story, and I love these cute elven slippers! I actually read this post when you put it up but have got a sinus infection and haven’t felt like exerting myself too much lately.
    Yes, this did take a very long time to come to fruition, but it all seems right. Some things are just that way, and all’s well that ends well. 🙂

    • Monday 16 January, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Hope you are feeling better now. The slippers did take a while, but really didn’t need to. I’m sure I didn’t even think slippers when I started out!

  • Thursday 26 January, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Wow! This is fantastic! I wish I could do this too. I could use a pair of these right now – my feet are freezing cold! #Trash2Treasure

    • Friday 27 January, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      If you can knit, you can make these. Fabulously warm too.

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