Hand Felted Baby Booties - Blue/Blue
(Please Note: some photos are for visual examples only, like display settings and packaging. Therefore, they may be a different style/color than the item in this listing. Also, photos are as accurate as I can get given the challenges of lighting)
ID#: BB071223-1 Color/Design: Blue/Blue
A precious, unique, and rare find here in the states. This darling pair of ice blue hand wet felted baby booties is eager to adorn the toes of a special little one you know or that might be on the way. An exceptional way to make an exciting announcement. Occasionally someone inquires why my baby booties are seemingly a bit pricey. Well, first they aren’t cheaply made. I’m not a manufacturing machine in another country cranking these out on assembly line. Rather I carefully and lovely manually work through the process for each very special pair one at a time. All the while my emotions travel the spectrum of the birth and death of my own baby dream, yet rest in the joy pondering the precious little life these will one day be fitted on. The art of hand wet felting in this manner requires some experience, it’s done by feel, takes a good deal of time and can be a bit labor intensive as it’s limited on options to speed up the process. In fact, it can be a bit finicky like making bread. I have found things like humidity; fiber type and length throw a real monkey wrench in what I might have expected for timeframe to complete a design.
Is an age-old art form to create a textile like fabric, which often today we refer to the form as “wet” felting. Additionally, a more modern technique of felting is called “needle felting”, it has also been coined the term “dry” felting since there is no water involved. It can take several hours, even days to complete a design from start to finish. Wet felting can be a physically vigorous activity requiring stamina, upper body strength and the ability to stand for long periods of time. While needle felting can come with a bit of its own hazards like poking yourself with a needle and neck & shoulder stiffness from sitting hunched for long periods of time. Wool felt can be quite durable, it can be felted in a seamless fashion for strength, it can be felted very thick & dense or incredibly sheer lightweight and delicate. It’s a great insulator from cold and heat, it’s the most flame resistant of all natural fibers.
How I felted this item:
I used the old-fashioned technique of manually hand wet felting a seamless vessel technique by using a resist and a blocking last. Using an exact weighed out amount of fine blue merino wool (the perfect choice for next to baby’s skin), I carefully laid out the loose fibers and in a methodical alternating manner on top of a resist pattern. Adding soapy water, I wetted out the wool, covered it with plastic to flip it over, folded in the edges of the wool that were extending beyond the resist and repeated this process. When the number of layers like this were complete, I began persuading the fibers to interlock with each other via the scales that are on them. This was done by hand massaging for quite a while with a delicate downward pressure, slowly increasing to a more moderate pressure. After a solid fabric like skin was achieved, I cut it in half exposing the resist and carefully removing it. Then I healed the cut edges by delicately massaging them to tighten and further massaged the inside of the booty, even inverting to do so. After both booties were equally worked over in this manner, I rolled them up around a cylinder with cushioning. After securing the roll, I did hundreds of rocking motions back and forth using my arms in a downward press against the roll. I repeated this motion from all 4 sides and then flipped the booties over repeating this physically demanding process on the other side. Between rolling I evaluated and addressed the progress by using a blocking last (I handmade), for sizing and shaping. Further compression and friction through various techniques were used to “full” (the shrinking process) the felt, essentially tightening, and making the booties solid and strong. Once I was satisfied with the size/shape I then cut in a tongue and evened out the height, again being forced the heal the cut edges again by massaging. The next step I rinsed and soaked the booties to recondition the PH balance on the wool (from the soap used) and blocked them out on the lasts one more time and set off to the side to air dry. This whole process took hours to complete. After they dried, I went through the steps of adding holes and grommets for laces and laced them up with adorable blue leatherette laces. Finally, I finished them off with a simple tag stitched in one of the booties that bears our farm name.
Pregnancy announcement to grandparents or loved ones
Included with this item:
1 Pair of hand wet felted baby booties
Shoe sizing definitions seem to vary from source to source, so lengths are listed below and aprx. age:
Insole length: 3-3/8”
Approx. age bracket: Preemie/NB
I typically use Merino or a wool of similar fineness on my infant booties. Larger booties, or occasionally for other reasons that dictate, I may use a different wool. Added surface design work may be felted in a different fiber type than what the main base is, as any opportunity to incorporate wool off our sheep at Distracted Acres, I use it! Merino wool is generally considered safe for babies thanks to its natural softness, breathability, and ability to regulate body temperature. As a hypoallergenic natural fiber, merino wool is less likely to cause irritation or allergies than synthetic materials - making it a gentle and safe option for delicate baby skin. It can help to regulate body temperature by wicking away sweat in summer and holding warmth between its fibers in winter.
Wool designs can easily be freshened or cleaned. Use wool friendly cleaners like WoolLite or Unicorn Fibre Rinse. For small areas spot rinse under cool water and gently dab gently. Alternatively fully immerse in a sink of cool to lukewarm water keeping agitation to a minimal and let soak for several minutes. Then gently rinse under cool water, squeeze (do not ring) as much excess water out, then open back up gently. Vessels (like booties, candle hurricanes, handbags etc.) can be stretched a wee bit back into it’s shape again and let it air dry. Flat pieces (such as scarves, table runners etc.) can either be draped over a sweater rack or just laid out flat. Steam ironing with iron on the wool setting may help to set down the natural fuzziness that occurs from use (wearing/handling)
Click this link to hop on over to my Fiber Studio page to see some past and recent designs I’ve