Creative Lithuania: Felting Class

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sometimes living in Lithuania can be a challenge (oh those dark winter days!), so I wanted to focus on forgetting about the challenges and enjoying the positives. To do so, I've started a monthly post (the second Friday of each month) that features the more creative side of Lithuania. In previous posts I've written about Uzupis, which is truly a creative mecca. For this series I wanted to focus on creative events, unique aspects of the culture or language, and cool places that I find around Lithuania. Previously I've written about Open Kitchen, the Beer Marathon, a Cat Cafe, the Lithuanian Design BlockPottery ClassCoffee Enthusiasm, and A book fair.   If you have any suggestions of things to check out I'd love to hear them!

If you would like to participate in sharing creative things about where you live, tag your photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter with #CreativeLithuania or #CreativeLocale. I'd love to see the creative side of every country! I'll share my favorite tweets and photos each month on social media and here on the blog.

I'll be out of Vilnius for part of June and July and am due to have a baby in August, so I'll be putting the #CreativeLithuania posts on hold until October. See you back here then!

Recently, while in search of a cool event, I was invited by some friends to join a slipper felting class that was taking place right in the heart of Vilnius Old Town. When I signed up I had no idea how elaborate the process of making felt slippers was (lets just say that it was really tiring for someone six months pregnant at the time).

The class began with us checking out the different types of slipper shapes to get inspiration for our own pair. Then we each picked out two different colors of wool (one for the inside of the slipper and one for the outside). We then received a short tutorial about the how to make a pattern based on our desired slipper size (based on shoe size). After, we created a pattern that would start us off with a giant slipper that would slowly shrink during the felting process (this allows you to wash the slipper at home in cold water, without fear of it shrinking).  




We were then instructed to carefully place our wool in alternating directions on our patterns. Once we sufficiently piled the wool we put our wool in layers (based on what color you wanted on the outside and inside) and placed it in a shallow tub filled with water (initially cold followed later by boiling water). We then vigorously rubbed our piled wool layers to felt the loose wool together. After hours (no joke) of rubbing this wool our slippers started to take shape and we were able to cut a foot hole into the slipper. Phew! But no - not done yet! We then had to put our slippers on an appropriately sized plastic models and rub them even more. Guys, felting slippers is hard and tedious. At this point I was pretty pooped out and my back was aching (standing all day!), so I broke down and asked for a bit of help rubbing my slippers. <insert grumbling under my breath that these better be the best slippers every>









Like the crafting dunce that I am, I was the last person in class to finish my slippers and even went over the allotted class time (6+ hours!). Oops! It all ended happily though, as I love my slippers and I'm certainly they will keep my feet toasty during the cold Lithuanian winters.


The final product!


You can find this and other felting classes at The Wool House (Vilnos Namai) on Sventaragio g. Classes are generally offered during the weekend but unfortunately there is no online schedule. You need to drop by the store to see what classes are available. This class cost 40 Euro and all materials and instruction were included. This is a great deal if you think about the normal price of these slippers - about 60 Euro for an adult pair. 

What creative events have been going on in your area? Would you spend a full day making felt slippers?

8 comments:

  1. I went to a felting class last year and it was much tougher than expected! Although we didn't make slippers we just made flat pieces of art but I can imagine that slippers would be tricky. Yours turned out really well!

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    1. Thank you. It is very cool that you also went to a felting class! I'm sure that art would be incredibly difficult to make as well. Did you felt with water or with a needle?

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  2. Oh how cool! I'd love to try my hand at this! Russia does valenki - wool felted boots that you can wear even in the snow. I acn only imagine how long they take!

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    1. I bet those valenki take forever to make! What do they use for a sole and how do they waterproof them? I bet the shoes are incredibly warm though.

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  3. My sister felts and I thought, "Oh, that looks easy and creative," but little did I know one tiny figurine takes hours and hours of work! Maybe not so bad if done here an there, but 6+ hours of slipper-making does sound intense! Anyhow, your slippers look beautiful and very warm :)

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    1. I thought it would be easy too! I've heard that the tiny figurines are felted using a needle, which I'd like to try sometime. I'm sure they would take a long time, but perhaps that would be something fun to do when watching a movie.

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  4. that does look like it takes a lot of work.. but this is so cool! I would love to take a class like this!

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    1. Are there any art classes in your area that you can take? I'd love to hear about them!

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