Felted Slippers and Prayer Shawls

I have been knitting up a storm in Pennsylvania.  Working at the desk allows me to knit easy things when we aren’t busy.  I work on things that require my attention to a pattern here at home in the evenings.  I am still working hard on an evening project that I can’t tell you about yet.  But I have also made several things at work in the meantime:  felted slippers and a prayer shawl.

I usually have a simple prayer shawl on my needles.  I can take a prayer shawl to knit in the car, in at work, or while attending a lecture in the evening.  It keeps my hands busy so I can pay attention to other things.  I got a little tired of knitting my standard k3, p3 prayer shawl, so I have been experimenting with some other patterns.  None of them are very complicated.

I recently finished this “Elegant Cashmere Triangle.”  The pattern calls for beads, but I didn’t use any which made it a simple triangle with a little yarn over lace.  The problem with triangle prayer shawls is that they start out with just a few stitches and gradually increase.  By the time I got to the end of this one, I had 600 stitches per row.  Yikes!

My selfie effort to show you the back

Even though it is a simple pattern, I used a very nice yarn on it.  I found this yarn in a yarn shop in Kansas.  It is part of the Canadian National Parks Collection, in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday.  The colors are evocative of the bison and black bears in Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba.  The yarn is made by Fleece Artist and is a wool, silk, and alpaca blend.  Very soft and beautiful.  I used two skeins of the yarn.

The laundry facilities here at Fort Necessity are in the basement of the seasonal housing building.  I noticed that the washer is old with an agitator in the middle.  Hurrah!  Let the felting begin!  I decided to retire the lumpy orange slippers I made three years ago when we were at Grand Portage.  I got out some leftover Brown Sheep wool and my French Press felted slippers pattern.  The blue and gray yarn knitted up beautifully into two pairs of slippers.  I sewed them together and was ready to felt.

Felting takes three things:  agitation, hot water, and soap.  I thought I had all three of these with the washing machine at seasonal housing.  But, after an hour with minimal felting, I realized that the washing machine wasn’t hooked up to hot water.  No matter what setting I used, the water was going to be tap cold.  Phooey.

So I tried another felting method I read about.  I put the slippers in the dryer on the warmest temperature while the slippers were wet.  This worked better and, after an hour, I finally had felted slippers.  Unfortunately something that should have taken 40 minutes took two hours.  But the felted slippers look great.  I let them dry and sewed on the flaps and buttons.  One pair for me and one pair for Sarah who works with me at the desk most days in the Visitors Center.  The big pair of felted slippers in the picture are for me (size 9.5) and the smaller pair for Sarah (size 7).  I was a little concerned whether or not they would fit Sarah – they seem really small.  But she says they fit great and she loves them.

The next prayer shawl is already on the needles.  Be assured you will see it when it is finished.