I don't know about you, but I hate having cold feet, which is why I like wearing hand-knitted socks so much (I can't remember the last time I wore shop-bought socks, to be honest; it's definitely been at least three years). I especially dislike having cold feet when I take Jess for her walks around our area.
When Jess and are out walking, I usually wear wellies or in the summer, Croc-like clogs. As part of where we usually walk is on the common ground behind our housing estate, I need footwear that's waterproof and (because *some* dog-walkers aren't very conscientious in their dog-walking duties) that can be hosed down if the need arises. I don't find full-length wellies to be overly comfortable so, when my in-laws asked if there was anything I'd particularly like them to buy me as a Christmas present, I said I'd like some ankle-length wellies, preferably some snazzy, patterned ones. Being a good son and spouse, hubby looked online for his mother and on Christmas Day, I unwrapped a box and in it was these:
You can imagine how pleased I was to receive them; they were just what I wanted.
I happily wore them, feeling ridiculously happy when I caught sight of them when I looked down and saw them sticking out from the bottom of my jeans.
However..... there was a catch and it's a catch that I've often found with other pairs of wellies I've owned.
Before too long, the thin fabric on the top of the insoles (which was bright pink) started to come away from the thin foam bottom layer and every time I took my feet out of the boots, the insole started to come out as well, and started to get wrinkled, needing to be flattened out and put back in place before I could wear them again.
So, I looked online for replacement insoles but a. they were quite expensive and b. the ones I found looked as though I'd have the same problem with them. I then remembered that I'd been able to buy replacement sheepskin insoles for the suede Ugg-type boots hubby had bought me years ago from New Zealand, so I looked online to see if I could buy something similar. Blimey, those had gone up in price since the last time I bought some and I couldn't justify the cost.
It was then that I had a brainwave! I have a large stash of yarn and I knew I had a random 100g skein of some Rowan chunky-weight yarn in a mid grey that I had no plans for (I think someone gave it to me). So, out came a large crochet hook and I crocheted up a rectangle of fabric.
Then the 'fun' started. I put the crocheted square into the washing machine and ran it through a cycle, but it didn't felt as much as I wanted it to. So, I put it in the tumble dryer on high heat. Still not felted enough. Back into the washing machine, this time with some towels and through the dryer again. Still too much stitch definition. I filled the washing up bowl with hot water and washing-up liquid and I punished the fabric, rubbing it and scrubbing it until I was happier with it (although it was now a bit soapy) and then back into the washing machine (with more towels) for a final run and then a dry. Hurrah! Finally, I had felt. A fairly hefty bit of felt.
I got a cereal box out of the recycling tub, took out one of the unsatisfactory insoles, smoothed it out on the cardboard and drew around it before cutting out the template. Then, I took the dry rectangle of felted wool and drew around the cardboard template, turned the template upside down and drew around it a second time and cut out my new insoles:
That was a few weeks ago now, so I apologise that I'm showing you a photo of insoles that have seen my feet lots of times.
I put them into my boots before Jess and I went on our afternoon walk and, oh my goodness, what a difference. They are *so* comfortable, as well as being warm.
They're so comfortable, in fact, that I'm thinking of making some more to go into the shoes I wear to work as my feet get pretty tired after a five-hour shift where I don't get to sit down for more than ten minutes. Next time though, I think I'll knit the piece of fabric as I think it might felt better.
Comfy feet; there's no finer feeling!