It is so hot right now, I can't believe it will ever be cold again, but the calendar tells me that in a few short months, my fancy Old Navy flip flops (the $5 ones, not the $2.50 variety- only the best for me!) will not cut it. I have been researching homemade shoes, and even read a few "real" shoemaking books. I don't really want to invest in all the tools and think commercial leather is icky. I have been felting up a storm with all the horses I am working on these days, and wool felt feels like a natural material for shoes. I fell in love with these boots the moment I saw them. This photo is from moknit's project page on Ravelry.
They are from the book Felt Forward by Maggie Pace. I inter-library loaned the book and it's great. I want to buy it. I really like Maggie's sense of style- the stuff she designs is refined and hip, and I appreciate the clever construction of many of her projects- she's not doing the same old felting things. The pattern is extremely simple, but like I said, clever, and I enjoyed seeing how she has you assemble the shoe.
I used my knitting machine to knit the huge pieces. I have not really blogged about my knitting machine, but it's the best $12.00 I have ever spent at a thrift store and it's great for knitting huge expanses of stockinette stitch with little shaping and that's what most of the knitting for these boots is. It was great to have the main knitting part done in something like 4 hours, especially considering that the project calls for about 940 yards of yarn- that's a sweater's worth! I know it's always crazy to see how big stuff is before you felt it, but I cannot believe these will actually fit me! Here's a photo of the boot exterior and interior next to my foot. (Please ignore my crazy tan line- it's thanks to the aforementioned flip flops.)
For the exterior of the boot I used recycled yarn from a thrift store sweater. The inside is Mauch Chunky from Kraemer Yarns, and it felts up so fuzzy and soft- my toes will be toasty. The gauge of both of these yarns is a little off, but I am hoping it will all felt up ok. I have to dye the pieces before I sew them together and felt them. I am thinking about maybe an olive green/brown for the outside and a turquoise blue for the inside. I am hoping Laura, who is the dyeing master blaster, will help me with the dyeing, because without her, I will have to resort to Kool Aid for dyeing, and I don't want to spend all winter will light pink feet. I also want to do some embroidery on the sides. I am researching how to seal the bottom so that they will actually be weatherproof. I am going to sew on a sheepskin bottom (mmmm, cozy) and think something like Plasti Dip will work for the sole. I would like to dip it up over the sides, kinda like Keen does on the toe of thier shoes. I can't wait to see how they turn out!