I guess I got on a bit of a tiny stockings jag. A friend had asked about making felted stockings last year. We never got around to it then, but it's been on my mind this year so S and I did a trial run last week. Here is how we made them:
First I drew a pattern on a plastic bottle in a shape that S and I could both live with. He thinks stockings should have a big toe to hold a special something at the bottom. I prefer a long cuff, and so our end result was a bit of a compromise. The pattern was cut out with scissors—had I thought ahead, I might have spaced more carefully and been able to get 6-8 stocking shapes. Extra pattern pieces come in handy, as you can continue to make more stockings while the first ones are drying.
Besides the pattern, all we used were wool and a bowl of warm, soapy dishwater. A towel on the counter also comes in handy. Below is one of the color patterns S laid out. You can felt in a single color or in several, but many small pieces gets a little tricky, so it's a good idea to start simply. The wool is wrapped around the plastic pattern and carefully submerged it in the soapy water.
Once underwater, we agitated the piece as if washing clothes by hand. After a only few minutes of swishing and scrubbing, the wool begins to take shape.
A semi-shaped piece can be put into a ziploc bag and felted from the outside by rubbing it vigorously back and forth across a towel.
You can felt as little or as much as you like. I experimented with leaving the top of the cuff a little looser and fleecier on some of the stockings (see photo below) but generally we aimed for a denser, smoother felt.
The stocking almost always felted so well that the plastic pattern piece ended up completely encased but once the stocking had partially dried, it was easy to snip open the top with scissors and remove the pattern so it could be used again.
We made the set below in an easy afternoon, music on, stopping for little breaks here and there. These could be finished in a number of ways: adorned with more felt, beads, bells, yarn or embroidery; hung with a loop of ribbon or fabric, trimmed with straight or pinking shears. We'll make more and play with the finishing over the next month, although I am inclined to keep them as is, with very little embellishment. I love the look of the wool itself.
Felted stockings are a faster way to make a stocking advent calendar. They can also be hung on a tree or strung across a window. One can also use this wet felting technique to make pouches and cases, bowls and baskets, tea cozies and coffee cup sleeves—the pattern is simply adjusted to suit the project. If you do try some wet felting, for little stockings or otherwise, I hope you will post about it and let me know. I'd love to see it.