March 20, 2011

Nuno Felting

Nuno felted silk scarf
I've done felting for years - starting with wet felted pictures, hats and slippers. I've done knitted items that are then wet felted by throwing them in the washer with towels or jeans. I've done lots of needlefelted pictures and sculpting. But I've never done nuno felting.

Nuno felting utilizes a sheer type of fabric with wool. It's wet felted very gently and with cooler temp soapy water so that the wool fibers will slowly get worked into the fabric. Once the wool has migrated into the material, then the soapy water temp should be hotter and you can roll and agitate the material more.

'Shingle' the wool onto the sheer material

The first thing I tried was a silk organza scarf and varieties of wools in coordinating colors. I put the painting blue tape on the table first so I'd know the original outline of the scarf. This is only important if you are going to be laying out wool for both sides of the scarf. I put down plastic, then bubble wrap, then a mesh curtain material, and laid out the wool, and then the scarf and then more wool fiber on top. All this was encased in polyester sheer curtain material, wet with cool/warm soapy water. Roll up in bubblewrap and gently roll - like 100 times, turning the roll. Unroll and roll up again from the other end of the scarf and gently roll another 100 times. Unroll and roll tighter and rolling tougher. Check to see if the wool is migrating through the material. Squeeze out excess water and do it all again with hot soapy water. Then I started squeezing and rinsing at the sink with changing water temps, and even throwing the scarf into the sink. (I found some great tutorials on YouTube.)

Finished silk scarf

After making the scarf, I did some practice pieces using cotton gauze material and black merino wool. The wool does shrink, pulling in the material some, and I wanted to test the amounts of wool, so did a variety of designs. I might make a blouse with these test pieces.

Nuno felting on cotton gauze material with merino wool
I want to practice this technique more.

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