workshop in review : felted booties with Joey Korein

there are many theories about how felting was discovered, and one in particular i definitely felt us channeling during this workshop. a person was embarking on a long, long journey before shoes were a big deal like they are now, and decided to stuff wool in between their feet and the sole of their foot covering. after walking for many days with sweaty, hot feet wrapped in wool, they pulled out of their shoe - a piece of felt! or so is said.

joey korein is a many talented and spectacular human. i was lucky enough to be in her company and have breakfast, get lost in winding conversations (the kind that go everywhere because there is just never enough time), take a field trip to wisemaker, and learn a new way to use old sweaters that isn't just cutting off the sleeves and calling them leg warmers. 

we didn't have to travel quite as far to obtain some pieces of wool for our booties. joey provided us with a large pile of felted sweaters she collected from a thrift store during her stay in grand rapids, seeming surprised about the lack of wool to be found there. wool is a precious commodity here in michigan! she explained to us the process of felting, how the fibers have tiny little barbs all over them that expand and infinitely entangle with each other when they are wet and agitated. 

shoes came off, feet were measured & we tried our hands at pattern making using her bootie-making expertise as guidance. after deconstructing sweaters & choosing which sweaters to use based on color and thickness, we began to see our two dimensional felt shapes take three dimensional shape. joey taught us a new-to-me sewing skill, the blanket stitch, a simple and beautiful decorative stitch for the edges, with an option to turn them inside out to hide the stitching for a smoother appearance. 

another option we were given is to further felt our booties - in the bathtub! which totally feels like something you're not supposed to do, but can help the booties form to the shape of your foot for and even snugger handmade slipper experience.