Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sincerely Jane Update


This is my Sincerely Jane at the end of November. If I count the partially done blocks at the top of the rug, I'm halfway finished. I'm expecting a slow weekend at the store, so I should be able to get several blocks done. I'm finding this challenge is a lot more challenging than I expected - each block has to be individually color planned and then coordianted with all of the blocks around it - it's just like hooking a brand new rug for each block. The only blocks that aren't hard to do are the animal blocks - my favorites. The next animal I'm going to do is the dog - I'm going to reverse hook the tan I started with and hook the dog with a black and white tweed, in honor of Blue. I'm anxious to get this rug finished, or at least close to finished, so I can start the Frost Lion pattern.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Once Again, Mourning a Dear Friend

Blue, Australian Cattle Dog


Blue and her daughter, Patches




Blue and Patches







Blue passed away on the Monday before Thanksgiving. It's taken me a week to be able to write about her. It's always hard to lose a pet, but it's been especially hard losing Blue. She was with me for almost a quarter of my life and was a connection with so many of my other dogs - she came to live with me soon after I lost Tuffy, a New Boston Terrier. She was a wee puppy who immediatly fit in with the pack led by Shady, Shady's son Shep, and Ben the Dog Who Came to School. Shep and Shady lived to 16 and 17, and Spot the Puppy Who Came to School for Show and Tell, joined us. Spot did everything he could to try to get rid of Blue - one time he took her off on a 20 mile run and then left her. Another time, he took her behind the store into the woods and dumped her in a frozen pond. Both of those times it was a miracle that she ever came home. Blue had a litter of puppies before I knew she'd had her first heat cycle. Ben fathered some, Spot others. Ben and Spot both met their demise as free-running farm dogs. Then our vet arranged an adoption and George came to us. I had sold all of Blue's puppies and she seemed pretty lonely, so I gave her the puppy and told her she could raise him - and she did. She set rules for George and bullied him into following them - they were inseperable. Then one of Blue's puppies, Patches, came back to us. She'd lived the life of an abandoned wild dog for a year and had been trapped when she was killing a farmer's chickens. Blue tried to make Patches behave, but Patches wasn't easily cowed and is still a little worried about being "caught" - eventually they became very close friends and Patches became Blue's guide dog when Blue's sight was limited. Blue and I had a special bond. Even when she was blind she could read my mind. Like a true Cattle Dog, she was happiest when she was with me or close enough to watch me.







Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sauder Village Rug Show was Great - Again!




video


The 15th Annual Sauder Village Rug Show was a collection of fascinating smaller rug shows: The Circus Train collection of mats made by the Green Mountain chapter of ATHA, a collection of rugs hooked by Patty Yoder, rugs hooked by Jenny Ruup, rugs hooked by Magdalena Briner and Evelyn Lawrence, the rugs in this year's Celebrations, etc. Each Sauder show is wonderful, and this one is no exception, plus it offers a unique educational experience by displaying new ideas (Nola Heidbrieder's pond rug hooked on dyed hookable foundation} and rugs hooked using embellishments, etc. I've never seen a better or more interesting show - so I'm going back to look again tomorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back in Business - the store is open





video



I reopened my store a few weeks ago. It's taking up a humungus amount of time, so I have my hooking set up so I can get some done while I wait for customers. I took photos today and put them together in a slide show. With a nod to Gene and Marsha Shepherd, the slide show ends with a picture of my garden.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cambria Pines Rug Camp

Starting on the first day of June, I drove out to California to attend Gene Shepherd's Cambria Pines Rug Camp. The camp is held each year at Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California. The camp started with registration on June 5, Sunday afternoon; Classes started Monday morning and went on until lunchtime on Friday. There were some very impressive teachers at camp: Susan Feller and Nola Heidbrieder shared a large room with Gene Shepherd, Laura Pierce and Diane Stoffel were in other parts of the Lodge building, and Jane Olsen taught with her grandaughter in a separate building. I started taking photos on the second day of my trip, after I had driven through Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. I arrived in Cambria on Saturday afternoon and stayed the night in a motel (quite a treat after sleeping in my car on the way out) and spent part of the morning exploring on the ocean shore. The slide show shows the Cambria Pines Lodge building called Woodfern where I stayed for the week (and where Jane Olsen's class was held on the ground floor). Somehow, I never took a picture of the main lodge building where we had our classes and meals. This slide show ends with the mid-week rug show - I expect to make a part two slide show when I download the photos still in my camera.


video


video

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Very Sad Day Today

George, May 1, 2011



George is gone. He lasted only a few days more than the vet predicted. He passed away this afternoon. The warmer weather we've all been waiting for made his breathing more difficult. I put him in his "angels are everywhere" sleeping bag and buried him in the back yard. His good friend Cathy came out and planted violets on his grave. He was a good, brave, kind, and gentle dog. I'd like to believe he's with my mother now, she loved him, too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Benefit for Hooked Rug Museum

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a HOOKED RUG MUSEUM BENEFIT HOOK-IN MAY 14, 2011 10am - 4pm Where: the Hamburg Senior/Community Center in the Hamburg Township Complex on Merrill Rd. ½ mile S. of M36 Take US23 N.from Ann Arbor, S. from Brighton, to the Pinckney exit Coffee and tea will be available in the morning, a lunch buffet will be available at noon There will be a brief presentation by a Director at Large for the Hooked Rug Museum of North America, with a possible (if all the high-tech stuff works right!) large screen Skype visit from Nova Scotia with Suzanne Conrod, a gifted hooking artist and founder of the museum. With high-tech luck, we might also get Suzanne and Hugh Conrod to explain their new and exciting discovery relating to the earliest history of rug hooking. There will be photos of some of the antique rugs in the multi-million dollar collection waiting to be housed and displayed in the new museum. The museum is going to be a real treasure and a vacation destination for all of us, starting in 2012. The rest of the time will be for hooking and chatting with old and new friends with maybe some time put aside to visit some very select vendors. *********************************************************************** Cost: $15, unless you would like to make a larger donation to the museum Lunch reservations must be in by May 5, 2011. Send check to: Phyllis Lindblade P.O. Box 96 Hamburg, MI 48139 If you have questions, please call Phyllis at 517 304-9659

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge #3

On Saturday, May 14th, I'm going to hold a hook-in in this facility.

This is the Hamburg Senior/Community Center. A great place for a hook-in with two wide window walls helping to create great lighting for hooking. The main room will hold up to 150 people. The hook-in will be a benefit for the Hooked Rug Museum of North America. I have to work on getting invitations out pretty soon.
I spent all of my spare time this weekend working on drawing the patterns for my Sincerely Jane rug. While I was busy, the dogs were mostly sleeping - I caught this photo of Blue sleeping with George as her pillow. George didn't seem to mind at all.


It took all morning on Saturday to get the first two rows done, then I had to go to a meeting in Ann Arbor. When I came home, I drew a couple more rows. Then today, I've so far finished seven rows. I've decided to add a ninth row, so I have row number 8 to draw and row number 9 to select and draw - then I have to make a decision about wool. I was planning to do the outlining in antique black, but saw some lovely suiting wool at the JoAnn store today - it was a charcoal color with a lot of flashes of other colors in it. That wool reminded me of some dark blue I bought at Sauder last summer. I'm going to try to guesstimate how much wool I'll need and see if I have enough of the Sauder wool - it could be more interesting than antique black.



Friday, March 04, 2011

Another Doll

Check Spelling I knitted another doll, and this time filled it with a lot less fiberfil. It's really not easy to determine how much filling is the right amount of filling. I'm going to pull out some of the filling in the first two dolls and re-felt them when I felt the new one. I'm hoping the re-felting will bring the hand and feet fibers closer together because right now, you can see the white fiberfil through the over-stretched stitches. To re-felt I'll have to pull out the eyes and nose and then the post-felting dolls will get new eyes and maybe have new personalities.

At my quilting group today I said I was making them for the rummage sale in the fall and I already have one sold! I think they're pretty cute and it's nice to know someone else thinks so, too.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Knitted Felted Dolls

My latest project has been doll knitting. I found the pattern for "Felted Kuku dolls" in Love of Knitting magazine. The knitting is really easy - all stockinette stitch with a couple rows of purl two together and knit front and back in the same stitch. The only unusual stitch is the "bobble" that makes the ears - and that's basically knitting and purling in the same stitch multiple times. There are two rectangles for the legs, a bigger rectangle for the body and head, and two smaller rectangles for the arms.
The rectangles were sewn together and stuffed with fiberfil, and then hair was added. I followed the directions with the black haired doll, pulled a strand of yarn through and then knotting it, but I did the yellow haired doll like rug hooking, only with really long loops. Then, following the directions, I pulled some non-wool yarn through to hold the fiberfil in place. I won't do that with my next doll, or I'll do it very differently, because all of those white strands of yarn ended up as a mass of tangled soapy yuk in the washing machine after felting.

I learned that I had overstuffed both dolls - you can see how over-stretched the hand and feet yarns are. I pulled some of the stuffing out, but the yarns would not relax (because they're felted!) With the hair sticking up, the dolls are about eleven inches tall.
I needle-felted some eyes and saw the dolls finally have some personality - so then I added some needle-felted little snub noses. I took the dolls to the senior center today to show a couple people and then sat them in a chair next to me when I played Bingo - and I won, so I think they make lucky charms.
I learned several things with these two dolls that will help while I knit some more. I'm planning to donate them for our senior center rummage sale which will probably be in October. I'm going to be really careful about where I store these dolls, Gibby can't seem to take his eyes off of them. I'm sure he thinks I'm making dog toys.



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marauding Cats

Whenever I talk about my poor old farmhouse, I feel like I'm telling that children's story that goes, "fortunately, such and such good happened, but unfortunately then such and such bad happened." This weeks adventure once again unfortunately has to do with cats. I thought all of the cats had left the building, but apparently I was incorrect. For two nights I heard strange noises from upstairs - last night, it sounded like a cats was racing around and playing in my bedroom (which I haven't used since I moved back into the house - originally because I was worried about rats running around in the night). This morning I finally decided I had to investigate. I found the odd door into the attic-like storage room off of my bedroom wide open. When I looked inside, I saw at least a dozen cats scurrying and leaping over boxes and piles of stuff that's been stored for decades and flying out of the window. The window that shouldn't have been open - in fact, it wasn't exactly open, it was broken.

It took a while to clear a walkway through to the window - in the process I found the typewriter my dad gave me when I turned sixteen, the framed illustrations from Kahlil Gibran my grandmother gave me to decorate my college room, and jars of dried-up poster paint from my first teaching job when I had to buy all of my own supplies. The window glass was very old, very thin glass with little bubbles in it that I'm sorry to lose. It was knocked to the outside, so maybe there was a cat stuck in that room who finally burst his way out. I took the measurements to replace the glass, but I went into town so late that it was dark before I got home and there's no electricity in that room, so I left the door tied shut (with the electric cord from an old tv antennae tied to the frame of the bed) since the latch doesn't hold, and let the cats have the room for one more night. What's a little more outside air coming into this house? I'll fix the window with plexiglass and put a hook and eye to hold the door closed tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge #2

This is the second incarnation of my SJ rug plan. There will be five blocks across and eight blocks down, a total of 40 blocks, with a half inch sash between all blocks and an inch wide sash around the outside. The rug, before whipping, will measure 34.5" across and 49.5" down.

I divided the blocks into five types. The first type is animals, and there will be one animal block in each row - I haven't yet decided if they will all be upright, the way they are in the photo, or if they will be turned in several different directions so the rug doesn't have a top and bottom.

The other types are rounds, triangles, straights, and stars. Each block falls into one of those categories and my plan is to scatter the different types throughout the rug, with no two blocks of the same type next to each other. The photo shows two blocks that should be moved - at the far right (if you're standing to the right of the photo) the last blocks in the second and third rows are two rounds next to each other. Photos can be very helpful.

Now, I have to start working on color. I'm thinking antique black sashing with mostly red and a light gold for the block colors - the light gold taking the place of the white in the original quilt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge

I've started organizing my pattern for the Sincerely Jane Challenge on Yahoo Rughookers. The original quilt made by Jane Stickle during the Civil War has over two hundred individual little patterns that are easily converted into geometric hooked rug patterns. I'm not particularly fond of geometric patterns, although I am terribly impressed by the Jane Stickle quilt, so I am planning to throw in some animal patterns just to make the rug more mine. Since the rug is being made from quilt patterns, I decided the animals should also be made from quilt patterns. I selected a book from the large quilt library at the Hamburg Senior and Community Center (a building I am particularly fond of because my mother was one of the Independent Seniors who planned and built this wonderful place - and today is the one year anniversary of my mother's departure.) The book My Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt by Janet Bolton includes a set of patchwork pattern pieces. I have copied the animals from those pieces to add to the Jane Stickle patterns.

I've copied some of the pattern squares, 4.5"x4.5", onto tracing paper and have laid them down in a possible arrangement. The arrangement in the photo is probably about half of the final pattern and doesn't include the sashing that will run between all of the squares. I'm thinking right now that the sashing will probably be a half inch wide in the interior with wider sashing around the outside. The animal patterns will be scattered wider apart than they are in this first photo. I need to copy about 30 more geometric patterns and will also probably create a few more animal patterns that aren't in the patchwork book - for sure, I will add a sheep that will look like the sheep pin for the Rughookers Merit Program.

So, I'm off to select more patterns...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hanging Cat(s)

Early this morning, there were two cats left in the pool room. The window shared with the bathroom was open all night, with the board leading from it, and I think about a dozen cats used the board bridge to leave the room. Once I closed the window and the two leftover cats finished eating the catfood I'd left in the pool room, I thought the problem was solved. While I was away with three of the dogs, Joe came out and rebuilt the part of the ceiling that had crashed. (He also brought out some beautiful stone that will be put on to camouflage the cinderblock chimney.)

George had a bit of an accident in the car while we were away, so when we got into the house I just wanted to have a quiet time with him. However, there was no quiet to be found. There were scritchy scratchy sounds in the walls, small kabooms that made Gibby jump, and then quiet little meows. I went upstairs and searched for cats - no luck. Back in the living room, the noises started all over again - it sounded just like a cat was stuck inside the wall, but the wall is only a single layer of plywood - there is no inside. Back in the living room again - scritchy scratchy, Gibby jumping - so I went out into the new room, and there, up by the top of the chimney, three quarters of a cat was hanging down from the ceiling. He wiggled and squiggled and pulled himself back up into the ceiling. I moved a big stepladder over to where he was hanging, if he drops down again and swings out a little, his feet should land on the top of the ladder. I don't know if he was trapped up there when Joe did his repair or if he is an explorer who found a new way to break through from the roof. I don't even know if he's the only one, but I'm hearing more meowing and Gibby is back on the alert.

I have a sign at my back door that says, "Welcome...come on in and hang around" with a little cat hanging from the sign - I guess it was prophetic.
The cat came down while I was writing this. I went out to check, scared him, and he raced right back up that stepladder and disappeared into the ceiling. A few minutes later, there was another big kaboom. Part of the ceiling fell down again. uurrrggghhhh!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Raining Cats!

The work on my house seems to go from one disaster to another - today's was cats falling through the roof. The cats like to sun on the roof of my former pool room - the light wall of the house reflects sunlight onto the black roof that absorbs heat, so the cats sun themselves all day long. Yesterday, I heard a huge ka-boom noise and thought it must have been ice falling off of the roof. When I went outside to see, all I found was a pile of the tin shingles I had placed in the space where one of the roofs meets the side of the pool room roof. The tin filled a gap that I then shingled over. I didn't know that Joe the builder had removed the tin.

I didn't learn until today that removing the tin let the cats go deeper into the tunnel created by the shingles covering the gap. When Joe insulated the roof, he couldn't figure out how to deal with that section, so he put some 2x4s across the length of it and tacked some insulation board to it. Apparently the weight of the too many cats brought the temporary fix down. Yesterday's noise was that ceiling section crashing to the floor with some cats - and more cats fell during the night. I woke up several times thinking I was hearing the dogs making a lot of noise going out the doggy door - but it was cats. This morning, when I was in the bathroom, I heard a crash that sounded like it was right next to the bathroom wall - so, I finally went into the new room - and it was full of cats. Now, much as I care about and care for these cats, they are still barn cats and most of them are basically feral cats. Very few of them will come to me and even fewer will let me pick them up - and none of them will respond to me when they are already terrified. So, cats here, there, and everywhere, and no way to get them outside. I finally blocked the outside door open, put the dogs in the car, and left for a while. When I returned, the cats were out of the room, but the roosters were going in!

I thought the problem was probably solved and Joe said he would come out tomorrow to do some repairs - but then I started hearing booms and bangs and little meows. Upstairs. Over the dining room. Over the living room. Up where I don't go. UGH.

The open space created by the wall that melted away while the house was deserted had worked it's way up the wall to the second story. The dining room ceiling is barely six feet high, so the second story isn't very high up and part of it falls into the new room. There is a giant hole through the old board and batten and plaster going into that room. It's a funny little under-the-eaves kind of room that I never use - in fact, I piled stuff in there when I moved into this house in 1972 and I've never looked at the stuff since. I took a flashlight upstairs, found the door to that room open, (it opens into the "master bedroom") and the rooms were full of cats. I don't know how many because they all scrambled away and hid into, under, and behind all the stuff I haven't looked at in decades. I have no idea how to get them out of there.

Years ago, I expanded my bathroom to include the hallway that used to lead to the upstairs. So, I have now closed off the bathroom, opened the door at the bottom of the stairs, and opened the window into the pool room. If I was a self-respecting cat, I'd go down the stairs, see that open window and jump up, walk down the board I placed against the window sill, and get into the pool room. I haven't yet decided whether or not to leave the outside door open since I don't want to let more cats in...

I hear cats moving around, but no more ka-booms like they're raining through the roof...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More George

George is the sweetest dog. He's half border collie and half gordon setter - I think he inherited intelligence from the first breed and gentleness from the second. He's thirteen years old and not going to have another birthday. When we moved into my mother's home, she claimed him as her own. When we visited her in a number of different nursing homes, George was always a welcome visitor - sometimes other residents wanted to pet him so much it took forever to get him down a hallway.

He's had a pretty decent life - when he first came to me as a puppy, I thought he'd be a small dog so I cuddled him in my lap and ignored his great big paws until my lap wasn't big enough to hold him. The photo above was taken last spring when he'd been shaved to make it easier to treat a skin problem - I'm glad his long hair has grown back. Unfortunately, he's been growing more than hair. I wish I could put him in my lap now.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

June Mikoryak's Yankee Ingenuity


Well, the photos are proof that my memory fails me. Good thing June was nice enough to go out to her car and pull out this rug to show me the day before our class at Sauder Village. However, even though this is not my favorite color plan, the central motif is anchored to the rug and not floating above the background the way mine seems to be. I had remembered June's background as having scattered yellow strips, obviously remembered the wrong color and the wrong placement for them - they are mostly placed in a very orderly fashion, not randomly scattered like mine.
I think I need to rethink my background. In the meantime, I guess I'll hook some corners while I watch the Superbowl ads.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Yankee Ingenuity Progress

This is the current state of my Yankee Ingenuity hooking. The photo shows the background as more gray than it really is - it has a lot of different colors in it, green and splashes of orange the most prominent. I'm afraid it's going to look disjointed with the central motif floating above the background. Maybe getting the corners hooked will help a little...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eggs and the Barn Man

These are the eggs I gathered this morning - just before the Barn Man again scared me half to death.I think the Barn Man is going to have to move again. Maybe I'll take him up to the store and let him scare the people in Hamburg!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pool Man by a Tree


The fellow in the photo used to stand by my hot tub/pool, the one we have removed from my soon-to-be sun room. He held my towels for me. More than once I've seen delivery men try to talk to him through the window and I firmly believe he chased away a number of people with ill intentions . When Joe was working on my new wall, he cleared the debris out of the room and put this poor guy out in the snow. He was standing by the tree for a couple days, until he scared me half to death twice because Gibby barked and I looked out the window to see a strange man standing in the yard. I decided to stop scaring myself and put him in the barn where he could be peering out of the barn door and scare away people who don't want to be seen.
I had forgotten how heavy he is, but I finally got him situated just inside the barn and forgot about him - until I was doing my chores in the stallion barn and stepped into the tack room - and saw him out of the corner of my eye. There is nothing scarier late at night when you are all alone in a quiet barn than a silent man just standing there!
I can see the headline now: Local Farmer Scared to Death by Mannequin

Monday, January 24, 2011

French Doors

My new french doors have been installed - well, sort-of installed, there's no hardware, trim or finishing touches yet, but the doors are there instead of the pseudo- plywood from the back of the cupboard that was donated to me through Freecycle Ann Arbor.
I have to keep boxes and chairs in front of the doors to keep Gibby from pushing them open, and I put one of my wool treasures - a gold wool blanket - at the bottom of the doors as a cold barrier. It's very cold here, been below zero all weekend, but I've still been able to keep the temperature of the house (well, three rooms) up in a livable range - french doors and wool blankets are on my list of the good things on earth.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Clog Update

I'm working on another pair of clogs - using multi-colored yarn this time. I'm planning to use U-glue from Joann's and glue this pair to some hard soles. I think I'll use flip-flop soles since I haven't been able to find any inexpensive crocs. This pair of blue clogs was made using the unchanged **original pattern - it lets the heel area rise a little higher and I think gives the clogs a "mukluk" shape. I wore this pair last night while playing Scrabble with some friends, letting my feet do the final drying of the sole, since they were felted just the night before - they were so comfortable I forgot I was wearing them and the soles were completely dry by evening's end.

I'm calling this pair "Possums". The cuff was purled with a strand of novelty yarn and the main part of the clogs were knitted with the kind of yarn used for fisherman's sweaters. It became a little fuzzier than the Paton's yarn used for the other clogs.
**There is a change that keeps the heel lower, making it easier to slide a foot into the clog. This change is especially appropriate if the clogs are going to be glued to a hard sole - with the unchanged pattern, it's best if the sole is flexible while working the foot into it. The change is at row 33. Replace pattern row 33 with this row: slip1, K12(10,11/12,13), K2tog., K1, ssk, K12(10,11/12,13), ssk, K2tog., K to end of row. Do not turn and skip all other pattern rows to cuff.
Do not knit second sole, E-Glue to croc or other sole and clamp down all around.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Wall at Last!

AT LAST! For the first time since I moved back home, my home is entirely enclosed!
It's only temporary and it isn't pretty, but it holds in the heat. Yahooooooo!

After living with a completely open wall since mid-December, I called my builder friend and told him I feel like I'm a homeless person living in my home, that the cold is unbearable. Poor guy, it never occurred to him that the floor for the old pool room was a deck with spaces between the boards, definitely not built to hold out a Michigan winter - he came right out and used my chicken coop plywood to board up the wall - after measuring for the french doors I'm going to buy at Lowe's tomorrow. Now I can get the temperature in the living room above 60 degrees. Nice to be able to sit without being covered by blankets - maybe now I'll be able to get back to hooking.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Felting Knitted Clogs

In Nova Scotia, I watched Marliss and Barb working on knitted/felted clogs and decided I wanted to make some for Christmas presents. They are easy to knit on size 13 needles with double strands of 100% wool worsted weight yarn. When the knitting is finished, the clogs are HUGE.



The clogs are then washed in hot water in a washing machine with a little soap - the felting usually shows up after about ten minutes of washing. Then the gift recipient takes the funny, slippery, soapy blobs of yarn out of the machine and sees for the first time that they might have received a real gift. Then, the clogs are checked every few minutes to see if they have reached the perfect custom fit.



The washing machine shouldn't be allowed to go into a spin cycle or the shape might be stretched out. The soap can be rinsed out of the clogs in cold water - something you wouldn't do if you weren't felting.



The clogs can be rolled in a towel to help with drying.




Then the clogs should be carefully shaped - when they are left to dry, they will retain the dried shape. I found that the yarn I used tended to become fuzzy and the fuzz could be patted down at this point.


Plastic bags inserted in the toes help to retain the "cloggy" shape while the clogs dry.

It's important to play with the shape while the clogs are still wet. It generally takes two or more days to dry. Once dry and worn for a while, they will conform to the wearer's feet and become left and right clogs. They can be washed in cold water like fine woolens and they can be re-felted if they stretch out after worn for a long time.
It was fun giving these as gifts because the gift giving was then followed by another visit to do the felting - sort of a two-party gift!