Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Felted Baby Bunny Slippers

Last Saturday I attended a baby shower for my friend Tandy. I love making gifts for people when I have the time, and it's so easy to make things for babies! I mean, everything's much smaller and therefore less time consuming. I whipped up a pair of felted fuzzy bunny slippers for Tandy (small problem, Tandy's baby will be born in August, in San Diego, not exactly slipper wearing weather, hmmm, oh well). I originally got the idea for the slippers from my friend Nikol (who just happens to be Tandy's sister). Nikol found a picture of felted bunny slippers on etsy and emailed it to me months ago. My initial thought was, Hey, I could make something like that! And so I did, there were a few bunny slipper prototypes and here is a picture of the final product.

I made them with some off-white wool that I had on hand, but I recommend making them with white wool if you can. The great thing about these slippers is that they are felted, so even if you're not the best at crochet the felting will generally hide any uneven stitches. To make the slippers first you crochet two infant moccasins (instructions to follow). I used a J hook and crocheted them very loosely. They will be somewhat bigger than a baby foot, but remember you are going to felt them.

Make 2 (duh!)
Round 1: ch 14. Dc in 4th ch from hook and in the next 9 chs. 7 dc in last ch. Working down the free loops on the other side of the chain, 10 dc. Join w/ sl st to top of ch 3. (28 dc)
Round 2: Ch 3, dc in same st. Dc in next 10 sts. (2 dc in next st) 7 times. Dc in next 9 sts, 2 dc in last dc. Join w/ sl st to top of ch 3. (37 dc)
Round 3: Ch 3, dc in next 15 sts, (dc dec) 4 times. Dc to end of round. Join w/ sl st. (33 dc)
Round 4: Ch 3, dc in next 11 sts, (dc dec) 5 times. Dc to end of round. Join w/ sl st. (28 dc)
Round 5: Ch 3, dc in next 8 sts, (dc dec) 6 times. Dc to end of round. Join w/ sl st. Finish off. (22 dc)

Weave in ends and felt mocs.

Next you make the ears. Here's where it gets a little tricky. Chain three and crochet 8 or so rows on those three stitches, whatever looks proportionate in relation to the moccasins, on the ninth (or so) row, the last row, slip stitch in the first stitch, half double crochet (or double crochet if you feel adventurous, it's not an exact science) in the second and slip stitch again in the last, finish off. This last step is to round the ear. Make four ears, obviously.

Then you sew the ears to the moccasins with wool yarn and felt them (felting instructions to follow). Now, with Tandy's slippers I stitched the little faces on after felting, but I think stitching a face on before hand (with wool)and then felting would also be very cute. It would certainly blend well.

Now, to felt. Set your washing machine to it's hottest setting and throw the slippers in with an old pair of pants that you are SURE won't bleed color into the wash. Also add a bit of detergent. Bring a pair of tongs with you to fish the slippers out of the stifling hot machine, you don't want to use your hand for this. Start the machine and let it agitate the slippers (agitation and heat are what cause the wool to felt). Before your washer gets to the rinse stage check the slippers to see if they are felted enough (more on this later) if they are felted enough (lucky you I ususally have to do at least three cycles) then rinse them in cold water and shape them to dry. If they are not felted enough then wind the washing machine back to start (don't rinse, don't refill, use the same hot water). Run the slippers through as many cycles as needed to felt them to your liking and then rinse and shape them to air dry.

So, how will you know if the slippers are felted enough? Use your best judgement, the slippers should start to look like a solid piece of felt and the individual stitches will all mesh together. Remember that the felted look will intensify with drying so if they look close to what you think they should look like pull them out and rinse them. Remember that the more you felt them the more they will shrink down so if they are getting to be about the right size they're done. And lastly, remember that you can always felt them more later, but you can't undo the felting so better to be safe than sorry.

The last two things to do are to stitch the face on and deal with the ears. Stitch a face on using black yarn for the eyes and pink for the nose. Now the ears: if your ears are looking how you want them to look then leave them alone, if they are falling to the side or something then stitch them into a placement that is pleasing to you with a white thread. When I did this with Tandy's slippers it only took like two small stitches per ear to hold them back, they kept falling in the poor bunny's face. And TADA! You are done. How adorable. While this may sound like a bit of work it actually goes rather fast. Now I'm working on figuring out an adult version of these, how fun would that be? Enjoy! Here's one last picture of them because I just never tire of looking at my handiwork:)


Kristina P. said...

Those are SOOOO cute! I am horribly challenged when it comes to stuff like this, which is why I love Etsy.

NIKOL said...

I can't wait to learn to crochet so I can make cutey stuff like this.

Clong said...

When are we getting together to crochet? Are Siobhan and Ingrid in too?