Dannevirke: Farmer's felt is turned into classy slippers

By Christine McKay

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Norsewood and Districts School student Jimi Shotter, left, with Wimbledon farmer Brian Hales and fellow student Harvey Trent learning the techniques for making their own felted slippers. Photo / Christine McKay
Norsewood and Districts School student Jimi Shotter, left, with Wimbledon farmer Brian Hales and fellow student Harvey Trent learning the techniques for making their own felted slippers. Photo / Christine McKay

This winter Wimbledon sheep and beef farmer Brian Hales is helping school students make 120 pairs of woollen slippers.

"While it's important for the kids to be healthy, with warm feet, my real intention here is to teach them how to use a fibre and make it into fabric," he said.

On Monday Mr Hales arrived at Norsewood and Districts School with wool from his karakul sheep, which he and Feilding tutor Melissa Fryer helped Room 5 students turn into warm, felted slippers.

Room 5 Norsewood and Districts School students busy felting the karakul wool supplied by Wimbledon farmer Brian Hales as part of the slippers in schools project. Photo / Christine McKay
Room 5 Norsewood and Districts School students busy felting the karakul wool supplied by Wimbledon farmer Brian Hales as part of the slippers in schools project. Photo / Christine McKay

"Brian is amazing and this project is a link to technology in our curriculum," Norsewood principal Phillipa Ellis said. "Students learn about the process of wool, as well as design."

Mr Hales said the karakul wool from his exotic sheep was particularly good for felting.

"It's actually awesome for felting and I've washed it all myself and then, to make it easier, I had it carded locally by Kane Carding."

For the students, learning the processes which go into turning the wool into warm, cosy slippers was fun. "It's really good, learning this," Sophie Meek said.

Jimi Shotter and Harvey Trent were keen to tap into Mr Hales' experience as they built up their eight-layer slipper sandwich which was soaped and felted.

"When you make your second foot it will be easier. Yeah, right," Mr Hales said. "And remember, there's nothing worse than walking along and finding the bottom of your slipper falling off, so take care."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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