Nunofelted Scarf Kits for Horseheads Library
In addition to your kit, you will need:
-a flat table or surface to work on that can get wet
-bowl for cold and hot water
-dish soap like Dawn original
-watering can preferably one with a sprinkle nozzle
Optional: ball brause (little easier to use then a watering can)
There are two main different types of felting; traditional and nuno or wet felting. The biggest difference between the two is that traditional felting uses all wool and nuno felting uses wool and a base fabric. For both types of felting we use wool in roving form. Wool roving is wool that has been combed to remove impurities, washed, carded to pull the fibers so that they are oriented in the same direction, and then gently twisted. In nuno felting, the base fabric most commonly used includes open weave silks and cottons such as gauze, chiffon, organza, and habotai. Synthetic blends like polyester, can be used but are unpredictable due to the slippery nature of the fibers. “The breath test” can be done when selecting fabrics. If you blow strongly through the weave of the fabric and can easily feel it on the other side, it is said to be a useable nuno fabric. Experimenting with different fabrics is recommended. Felting, both traditional and nuno, is done in steps. I personally work in 5 steps and will go into detail as we work. The following steps are specifically for your nunofelted scarf kit.
Step 1 Planning and Prep: I begin by loosely drawing out my design remembering that my piece will shrink 40-50% I consider my materials, colors, and desired texture. I also dye all of my fabrics and typically dye per piece but sometimes spend days only dyeing. My inspiration comes from magazines, photographs and photoshoots, garments I see in stores, other designers, street style, the fabric I dye, and oh yes, pinterest. I like to create a little color story with my fabric, roving, and any other fibers I might include. I use these color stories to get excited about the piece I’m creating and imagine the finished piece.
Step 2 Laying Out: I start by laying out a piece of bubblewrap (bubble side up) on my table. Next I lay down my fabric, in the middle of the bubblewrap. Now I begin laying out the wool. I take a length of roving and wrap it around my non-dominant hand. Make a loose fist with your opposite hand and pull away light wisp of roving with your thumb and pointer finger. Nuno felting requires very little wool to felt into the fabric. Thicker and thinner wisps of roving can be used depending on the pattern or design desired. I typically start each piece by going around the outer edge with about a half inch border of wool wisps running parallel to the edge of the silk. This gives a finished or “hemmed” look to the scarf. Try to cover around 80-100% of the surface of the silk to achieve an overall texture.
Step 3 Wetting Down: Once you are happy with the way the wool is laid down, begin wetting your design with soapy cold water (you should be able to feel the slickness of the soap between two fingers but avoid bubbles by adding the soap to the water). Using your watering can, a cup and the back of your hand, or a ball brause water sprinkler, and lightly wet your entire piece. It should feel equally wet but not have any pooling. If it gets too wet, use a towel to soak up some of the excess along the edge of your bubblewrap.
Step 4 Felting: Lay down your second piece of bubblewrap on top with bubbles to bubbles or bubble side down. Take your pool noodle and begin rolling your piece up, it may be helpful to have a friend help. Use your fabric ties one on each end tied in a bow. Allow the entire thing to drip over your bowl of water. Now begin rolling with a bit of force and with complete rolls. Roll 200 times. Unroll your piece, carefully remove the top piece of bubblewrap, straighten your scarf without touching the surface of the wool, put the top piece of bubblwrap back down with the bubbles to bubbles, re-roll onto the pool noodle, re-tie and roll another 200 times. Your piece will need a total of 800 rolls with the un-rolling and re-rolling in between each 200 times.
You will know you are done rolling (oh my, will I ever be done?) when you test it by laying a corner of the piece over the back of your hand and gently blot it dry with a bunched up towel. You should see light wisps of wool that have migrated through the back of the fabric like light strands of hay in a field as I was taught. You can also do the “pinch” test and very carefully pinch a bit of wool to see how easily it pulls up from the fabric. Take great care when doing this so as not to rip your wool out of the fabric. Wool should show resistance when pinching.
Step 5 Fulling: Bunch the piece up and put it into a bowl of hot water and add a few drops of soap onto the piece. Shock the fibers by picking your scarf up, letting it drip a bit, and somewhat forcefully throwing it down onto your table or sink (it gets a little soapy messy). Throw down about 10 times, put it back into the hot water and throw down again for a total of 20 times. Next, begin massaging the piece in various directions and opening the piece up and massage again. Keep the scarf WET, SOAPY, and WARM. This is the point where you have control over the way in which the fabric shrinks. Rub in the direction you want the piece to shrink. Rubbing also stiffens up edges and gives strength to your piece. You will begin to see rouching or puckering in the fabric as the wool shrinks around the weave of the fabric. The fulling ends when you see a good amount of this texture and your piece has shrunk to about 40-50% of the original size. The more lightly rouched or puckered your texture is, the stronger your felted piece will be.
Lastly, soak your piece in a vinegar bath of about a bowl of room temperature water with appx 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar. This balances out the ph of the wool and removes any excess soap. Let soak for about 15 minutes. Air dry flat or on a dress form if applicable. Sometimes I also lightly steam iron areas I want to lie flat as needed.
If you would like a printable version of these instructions please email me at ShannahWarwick@gmail.com
Link to the youtube instructional video will be posted asap!
DharmaTrading www.dharmatrading.com silk and some roving
I have also purchased a lot of my roving from different sellers on etsy or locally. Many sellers have sample size color groupings so you can order smaller quantities of a bunch of colors. I have included 19 micron merino roving and 5mm silk chiffon in your kit.