Auntie I came over yesterday for an Art Day.
I wanted to give Nuno felting a try, so with a You-tube tutorial and a good book* to guide us, we grabbed our pool noodle and set off. If you want to try this yourself, I heartily recommend looking at several different sources before you begin.
*(Uniquely Felt is a fabulous book full of inspiration and approachable direction.)
I had enough blue silk gauze for us both to make a scarf from it.
The idea with Nuno felt is to work wool fibers into an existing fabric, so that when the wool is shocked with hot water it will draw the fabric together into puckers and folds as it felts.
This is one of those projects where most of the equipment can be pulled from household supplies. You need a piece of bubble wrap (or several pieces taped together) longer than your fabric. On top of that lay a continuous piece of plastic wrap. Then lay your fabric, and layer on your wool.
It should be noted this is where we made our big mistake.
Neither of us put enough wool on our silk.
But, back to the process, on top of loose bits of wool lay a sheet of tulle. This is to hold the wool in place, but will not be part of the final scarf, so color (hello orange!) doesn't matter.
Now, I'm going to interrupt the process to tesseract time a little. In short, we rolled, attempted to felt our scarfs, failed due to lack of wool, so we flipped over our scarves and attempted a do-over. If we were to do this again the following photo would be the first photo.. look at all that wool!
Now, one of the things I tried that I did like was to cut a wavy edge on my silk. Anyone who has ever tried to cut silk knows how it shifts and wanders, don't worry about that with this project. That wandering edge actual adds to the final scarf.
So to leap forward again, we laid on the tulle, wetted the scarves, wrapped them around our pool noodles, and rolled again, checking occasionally to pull back the tulle so the tulle doesn't get bound by the wool fibers.
So, what are you looking for as you roll along?
The grail in this process is a halo of fibers when you carefully gaze at the wrong side of the scarf.
Once you've seen that bit of holy fuzz, it is time to work out your craft frustration. This is where you shock and abuse your fibers. After pouring very hot, soapy water on your work, start at the edges and rub the scarf against the bubble wrap. Once the edge is binding, roll up the scarf one last time and stomp on it. Then you can pull the scarf off of its bed of plastic, take it to the sink and beat it up. I rotated between very hot and very cold water until the scarf began to pull together.
This is the sort of action you are looking for.
But, with Auntie I's scarf, she ended up with two distinct looks.
This is her A side, the one that didn't have enough wool by itself to hold the work together.
And this is her B side.
Seeing the very cool, double sided effect, I would do the double layering again, but without the hour of wasted rolling and attempted felting.
So, would I do this again?
Ab-so-lutely! It was a blast!
And just look at how cool Auntie I's bulls eyes is!
Oh, and the ideas? I have ideas for next time.