Monday, June 13, 2011

Nuno Felting?


Who knew that a ball of colored wool roving and silk chiffon would thrill me? Well, it happened and it's Peggy's fault.  I like to pass the blame whenever I can.  
Hand-dyed silk chiffon.

It all happened on a foggy and rainy Sacramento day, which we have been having for the last 8 months.  My friend, Peggy, a knitter and yarn devotee took a class and when she called with excitement in her voice I knew it was something fun!  She is always finding the newest and most artistic craft/sewing/wearable ideas.  I love it. She said she had just taken a class on felting silk scarves and that I was going to love it. She was right!

She came to my house and walked in with a beautiful felted silk scarf. I knew she was experimenting with felting but I had no idea you could make anything but cute little animals with the felt (which I have made and stabbed my finger numerous times with the needle. Not fun).  But a wearable, that’s another thing. I love wearable art.  This technique is called nuno felting, which is felting with water and friction.  No needles, so no blood.  Hooray!!!!
Peggy and Susan agitating the silk.

 That night I made my first creation.  Of course, it was also when I was making Joe dinner as Peggy gave the directions over the phone again.

I started out with silk chiffon scarves.  14” x 2 yards.  Then I  hand-dyed it. The silk sucks up the dye pretty fast.  I had bought a bag of beautiful pastel color roving a while ago, never really sure what to do with it. It was just so pretty and soft.  So the game was on.

Peggy said I needed a long strip of bubble pool cover plastic. Don’t have, but do have bubble wrap. You need a PVC pipe. Don’t have, but do have strong cardboard tubing. You need nylon netting. Don’t have, but do have bridal tool. Game on!  This is called being creative with what you have. I am the queen of that.

I laid out the scarf on the bubble wrap and added the roving, trying to make a flower design, of course. Laid the netting over my creation, wet it with hot soapy water and rolled it up on the tube, tying it with string, and began the wet felting process. You roll it back and forth with you arms, from your elbows to your hands back and forth, back and forth.  About 25 times for 4 repetitions, then 50, then up to 400-600 rolls, checking the piece and making sure the netting is not felting to the wool.

Peggy had a girl in her class that wore a pedometer which measures your movement and how many calories you are burning while felting.  It determined that you can burn up to 600 calories when making one scarf.  Now that’s my kind of exercise.

I asked Peggy if she would demo the technique at Flowers On the Lake.  The demo was a hit as the girls loved it.  I couldn't wait to get home and try more ideas.

Hey, how about dyeing your own fabric and roving to match?  Stay tuned!
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