How Not To Felt Slippers: A Tutorial

23 Jun




Read every felting tutorial you can find online, borrow a library book on the subject, and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Just to be on the safe side, go back and re-read the Yarn Harlot’s experiences with felting. Laugh.

Gather together your giant freakazoid monster socks, carefully tied into pillowslips, and leave your children with your husband while you take a trip to the laundromat, as your washer is not an appropriate one for controlled felting (it will felt stuff all right, just not when you want it to).

Make certain you begin on the worst possible day of the month, after almost no sleep (courtesy of a cranky four-year-old).

Step 1.

Read the instructions for the washer, select the hottest, harshest wash cycle, add two pillowslips containing socks, an old pair of jeans for agitation, as well as a squirt of dishwashing liquid, insert the appropriate number of coins in the slot, and turn on washer. Settle down in a hard plastic chair and attempt to get comfortable with your knitting.

After ten minutes, get up to check progress on your slippers. Realise the water in the machine is cold. Swear. Figure you may as well let it run through the rest of the cycle anyway, as you have already paid for it. Sit back down with your knitting, and eat some Pringles.

Take home a pair of very clean, only slightly less gigantic freakazoid monster socks.


Step 2.

Get home, show your husband your almost total lack of progress, and have a cup of coffee.

Fill the sink with very hot water, add a squirt of dish liquid, put on your rubber gloves and start scrubbing. Realise why almost every tutorial you found online deals with how to felt in a washing machine, not by hand. Only a crazy person does it this way. Continue scrubbing, and decide that the women who used to do it this way must have had forearms like Popeye.

Finally bite the bullet and toss the bloody things in your washing machine on the Rinse/Spin cycle (generally the culprit when you have in the past felted things that didn’t necessarily want to be felted) .

Take socks out of machine and look at them. Swear more. The sodding things are still too stinking big.


Step 3.

Go back to the sink. This is where your preparation really comes into play, as you are, on this particular day, not only tired and out of sorts, but very susceptible to backache when standing over a sink that is just a little too low for you, therefore forcing you to bend over just a bit. Swear under your breath the entire time you are scrubbing the !@@#$%^& socks, pausing occasionally to be grateful it is a nice enough day for your children to be outside, away from you and your vocabulary.

Work back and forth between your double sink, one half filled with hot water, the other with cold, scrubbing and grinding and wringing your knitting. In short, do everything you have always been very careful to avoid doing to your beautiful handknits into which you pour so much of your time and effort.

Decide you will give them one last chance to behave, and put them back into the washer for another ride through the Spin/Rinse cycle. Massage your back and mutter like a complete lunatic while the washer runs.

Take socks out of washer, hold them up to your feet, and decide that they are close enough. Put them in the tumble dryer for a partial dry, and then hang them up on sock blockers near the heater.

Once you have put the children to bed, sit down with a large Irish coffee (heavy on the Irish) and some very dark chocolate, put the nearly-dry felted slippers on (over a pair of thick socks) and put your feet up in front of the heater (this counts as blocking).



I’m pretty happy with how they have turned out. They are still a little big, but I’m okay with that. I’m particularly pleased that the colours have stayed nice and stripy, even though you can’t make out the individual stitches anymore. The fabric is good and thick, and I’m confident that my feet will be nice and warm this winter.

Sorry if I sound a little under-enthused, it’s been a longish day, and beating the crap out of a pair of giant freakazoid monster socks really takes it out of you.

One other thing. This right here?


It’s four rounds of a Sockapalooza sock! It would have been more, but I’ve been otherwise occupied.


5 Responses to “How Not To Felt Slippers: A Tutorial”

  1. Mandie June 23, 2007 at 10:25 pm #

    Awww honey, you’ve had a real time of it haven’t you?! I was going to prescribe alcohol but I think you were one step ahead with your heavy on the Irish Coffee……did you stop at one??
    This is just the kind of thing that happens to me, so I feel less alone now that I have you as my ‘Murphy’s Law’ sister!!
    They look great BTW 🙂

  2. becky c. June 24, 2007 at 12:52 am #

    Poor you! Glad there was a happy ending.

  3. Taphophile June 24, 2007 at 9:30 am #

    I’m not really laughing. Not really. What a process! Glad you got a good result in the end, though.

  4. Jenna June 28, 2007 at 6:09 am #

    Holy crap those started out huge! I’ve never felt (heh) the felting urge because I look at the huge amount of knitting you did and get so sad that you had to shrink it! And to know the shrinking it bit is almost as much work as the knitting it bit, oye?!? BUT, I do think these slipper socks are pretty neat looking! All your hard, back hurting, work paid off nicely.


  1. Socks Away « Kiss My Frog - July 30, 2007

    […] end of January, I have exactly two (2) pairs of handknit socks to my name, three if you count the Violet Beauregard slippers. So I’m pretty excited to be getting a pair knit just for me. I’m also really […]

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