Next door my grandfather lived. In his youth, he burlazed on the Volga, caught a cold, in his old age from "rheumatism" was treated with felt boots. And in the summer they went. And slept in the alley on the grass. Without bedding! But, he said, felt boots help. Do not stock up on old age?
No, many of you do not know these boots. These boots - samovochki! Hear what they were called? That is, they made them with their hands, they themselves rolled. They turned out thin, soft, warm. Do not rub your feet, no matter how much you go in them! Therefore, not even samovochki and samovochki!
I even saw how felt boots were being rolled, although, perhaps, I did not understand everything correctly. Wool on them was only from autumn sheep shearing. They pinched her, that is, sifted through the little strands, scraping away the burdock and other debris. In bags behind shoulders they carried on sherstoboynyu (sherstobitna). Since the hair battles were rarely in which village, the road to them was a long one. The hosts grouped together and left early in the morning to take a turn. By evening, only got home. Got, apparently, and wool! They beat her precisely, as they brought her home with a smooth, silky roll. From it and formed boots. Well, and a great shoemaker did! Three or four times as large as a foot.
- Just some elephant! - the children were goggling, although she didn’t see in which boots elephants walk. - And then how small, neat work?
That's how! For shrinking to the desired size, several operations were performed: they were rubbed on a warm stove, they were placed in a large cast iron with some acid, then the products were transferred to laundry.
I remember for some reason sinister. It was a dugout, which means dark. It was a large, inclined (so that the water flowed) table under which the stove was heated and the boiler with water was heated. The master lowered the billet into hot water, then took out some ironwork, laid it on the table and began to wash it. It was the hardest, hardest part of the job. Therefore, here to help (to helphl!) relatives or colleagues came, and the next time the owner helped them. By the way, wash these were cooperative, to every master it is useless.
Washing the future felt boot - and it lasted two or two and a half hours - was not like washing clothes, rather, ironing, but not with an iron, but with a roll and a rolling pin. Roller hands rolled over the workpiece something resembling a huge four-sided file with wide notches, heavy. I remember that men were not only hard, but hot. They worked without shirts: the fire was burning, steam was coming from the water. You can’t run out on the street because you’ve made valenki in the winter, so to speak, in your free time. Only after washing, the product was placed on a wooden block of the required size. And then another hour rubbed with an abrasive stone - sticking out hairs.
Now the boots were washed right on the block with clean water and put into the oven for drying. After that, once again, they “smoothed out”, scorching those hairs that pumice stone did not take. Finally, boots ready! It remains to remove it from the pads. By the way, it is only in the proverb, two boots - a pair. At first, both boots are straight, neither left nor right. Therefore, the valenki were first marked, and then they were already wearing their legs.
Valenok had a variety of combs: they are thinner and worn with galoshes. Sometimes Novi sewed on them (probably, they were tarpaulin) heaps, since these places were wiped from galoshes before. And the noses of cheschanok sharper Galoshes - a forced casing for felt boots, from dampness. There is such a flaw in a felted shoe: once it gets wet, a shiver will spread all over the body, and here it is not far from a cold. So they invented socks for felt boots - first, leather, and with the development of industry - rubber.
I remember two types of galoshes - factory and cast (balloon), although they, probably, were also made at some production. The cast could be repaired, about the same way as drivers manually punctured the tire to restore. But they were not subject to factory, lacquer or repair, or there were no craftsmen in the village.
But on the boots with time they sewed one piece of sole, cut from the tops of obsolete. Some masters even heels sewed, thickening the square under the heel in several layers. This process was called hem felt boots. Maybe not physically difficult, but jewelry work! And not very fast. It is not like you can embroider, but the stitches of an experienced master are not only about the eye, but also along the ruler - even. And the “embroidery” is a drag - these are linen threads, many times passed through a piece of war (resin). In the village they were called harshse - they are so strong, and tarred - extremely.
Hardly felt boots - the invention of Rus. In Russian fairy tales, everyone in bast shoes went both in winter and in summer. Apparently, these shoes went from nomadic Tatars: at first they wrapped their feet in animal skins and wrapped them with ropes, and then thought of wire rods.
So many virtues of felt boots that in Moscow a museum was created for them. There, not only various woolen shoes can be seen, but also to find out that Lenin, for example, used them (they were Siberian pimyas) for transporting his revolutionary writings, and Stalin simply wore his feet and loved natural wool shoes. Peter the Great with a strong hangover demanded not only cabbage soup, but also felt boots: he believed that they improve blood circulation. By the way, animals were not exterminated for the production of felt boots, and so was nature. Allegedly, one famous master made valenki as a gift to Putin. Here, in the museum, there are hats of haute couture, adorned in every way.
Valenki today - in glory! And not only on the podium, but also on the street, legs in felt boots can often be seen. Look around passersby! Embroidered with threads and ribbons, decorated with rhinestones and lace, with galoshes and again without them, felt boots were loved by both adults and children. To embroider them is the same hard work, as well as hemming. Plus, the felt boot should have an image.
Boots - what a mess: out of fashion, are in fashion! It turns out that the thing is universal! Was, is and will be!
P. S. We hurried to throw the felt boots ... If they knew ...