My studio – otherwise known as our spare bedroom – has been pretty much unusable since the end of last year.  I ‘tidied up’ at Christmas by dumping a load of stuff in there and shutting the door, and I have been adding to the piles with the detritus of various craft based projects ever since.  (The Scotsman who is a relatively organised and tidy individual despairs of my ability to create mess around myself without noticing.) 

The other problem is that the roof leaks – we have known we needed a new roof for the last 18 months.  In the process the studio will also get a lovely new skylight as it is not the lightest of rooms.  We even have the money sitting in the bank to do it.  However the life events of last year made the prospect of the upheaval it will cause just too much to contemplate.  So the studio has gradually silted up and I doubt a builder could get in there far enough to even give us a quote…

But last weekend, with a pair of half made slippers sitting reproaching me on the kitchen table, I decided it was time to make the effort – and it is now about 75% sorted.  Just another little push this weekend.  In the meantime I am going to start ringing roofers….


The Scotsman was out doing a spot of ushering at our new local theatre on Friday when he bumped into an acquaintance of ours. “Where’s Tess?” she asked.

“Learning to make felt slippers at an alpaca farm on the Isle of Wight

“That sounds like Tess!” she replied.

Actually I nearly didn’t go as on Wednesday last week I fell over my own feet on High Holborn, and my right arm took the brunt of the fall.  Very luckily I am left handed.  Even more luckily the injuries turned out to be comparatively minor – sore, but not long lasting and after a few painkillers and a couple of days in a sling my arm was back to a reasonably useable state.  Probably not really in a state to make felt with but as I had booked a train/ferry and a B&B as well as the course I was pretty determined to go.  (I know it doesn’t take that long to get to the Isle of Wight but by public transport it wasn’t possible to get where I needed to be by 10am)

Alpacas in the Isle of Wight

Alpacas in the Isle of Wight

As it turned out the B & B was a delight, the Isle of Wight lovely once it stopped raining and the alpaca’s adorable (see above).  Although as I discovered on Saturday some alpacas are prettier than others…There were also some delightfully feathery chickens running around loose.

As for the slippers – well I can’t show you them yet as we ran out of time to finish them…..maybe we spent too long eating lunch as it was a lovely sunny day!  And I did have to do a certain amount of rolling and rubbing one handed as the day progressed.  But as I expected I picked up some useful tips from Gillian who was teaching the class – it’s always the advantage of learning from a person rather than from a book or UTube.  And I bought a load of alpaca tops (ie carded and prepared fleece) – and two alpaca shaped shortbread biscuits for the Scotsman…

I also had my first go at making felt using net (which was what always used to be used) rather than the thin plastic sheeting I am used to.  I can see its advantages as you can actually add warm soapy water through the net rather than having to lift up the plastic and risk disturbing the fibres. 

Now I just have to get rolling so I can at least get both slippers fully felted and at the same stage.  Then if I don’t think my arm will take it I can at least let them dry out, and wait till my arm is fully better before I stick them on my feet in a bowl of warm soapy water and work on shaping and fulling (shrinking) them.