Today I made a pair of wet-felted baby booties, and thought I'd take some pictures as I went along to show you all how I did it.
Then I removed the resist for a moment, and wet down just the center of the stack of wool with hot hot soapy water.
I put the resist back into place, and then gently folded those trailing edge wisps over it.
I wet down the center again with hot soapy water.
Then I flipped the whole thing over again, and folded those edges over one more time. At this point, the resist is totally encased in wool. I wet the whole thing down with the hot soapy water.
Now I put the netting over my wool, and gently rubbed it with my hands. Wool fibers will felt themselves together with water, soap, heat, and agitation. The netting keeps the wool from shifting out of place too much while the rubbing forms a beginning of a felted skin on the wool.
I flipped it over gently and rubbed the other side. After awhile of repeating that, the felt started to hold together nicely. I'm working more on the middles at this point, because I don't want to really hard felt down the edges until the next bit.
At this point I cut the U shape right in half. Now I had two boot blanks started on their way.
I carefully pulled the resist out of the center of the boot blanks.
Then I stuck my hand into the boot, and rubbed the seams flat until they held together, flattened out, and didn't have any lumps. A little more soap and hot water helped this along.
Now that things were holding together, it was time to really make felt. Remember that wool felts together with agitation? I spent about an hour, working back and forth between the two booties. I scrunched them up and rolled them between my hands. I rubbed them against the bubbles in the bubble wrap. I frequently stuck my hand in the boot, and rubbed the felt around my fingers. I knew that the more you rub the felt in one direction, the more it will shrink in that direction, and I used that to shape the boots until they matched the dimensions I was looking for.
The tops of the boots kind of had a mind of their own on the shaping. I could have left the edges kind of rustic and natural looking like this.
But instead, I trimmed the top down even.
Then I rubbed the top end between my fingers to heal the cut edge.
I also added a little cut down the center top of the boot, to make it easier to get on and off.
When I was satisfied with the shape and size of the boots, I rinsed the soap out with cool water, and left them to dry.
You can see how far they shrunk from the original pattern!
And here are the finished booties. I'll have the little girl who is getting these put them on when they are slightly damp, and wear them around until they are dry. That will finish the shaping process by molding the felt to perfectly fit her feet.