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History of Nuno Felt Nuno felting is relatively new to the world of felt making. The technique was developed in 1994 by textile artist Polly Stirling and her assistant, Sachiko Kotaka. They learned that by manipulating a small amount of wool fiber through a base fabric, they created a felted fabric with characteristics quite different from traditional felt. Nuno felt is lightweight with a lovely drape and flexibility. It is a wonderful textile for apparel, home décor and jewelry. Truly, the possibilities are endless. If you are a left brain (process oriented) human, you need to let yourself go a bit as felt making is not an exact science. The directions are intended to provide technical assistance but you are encouraged to create “outside of the box.” It might be necessary to make some independent choices along the way. You will have extra materials in your kit that can be used to alter the basic design. Have fun and do not feel too constrained….Relax and have a great time!
Materials (Figure 1) Silk Fabric Silk Top Toile Netting Squeeze Bottle Superfine Merino Wool Top Bubble Wrap Beading Thread Silk Embroidery Floss Silk Throwsters Waste Pool Noodle Olive Oil Soap Assorted Swarovski Crystals
STAGE ONE: THE FELTING PROCESS Lay the towel you brought with you on the table. Put the bubble wrap on top the towel with the bubbles facing up. Fill your squeeze bottle with cool water and add a few drops of soap to the bottle. [Note: although felting is usually done with warm water, Nuno felting is better done with cool water. It will slow down the felting process, providing the fiber the time necessary to migrate through the silk before it felts together. The extra time will also give you a bit more control as you learn. a. Place the silk fabric on top of the bubble wrap. b. Pick up your wool. It is too thick to work with as you find it. Gently separate it into two pieces. FIGURE 2. Separate it a few more times until you have a piece of wool that is approximately an inch wide. This is not an exact science, so just go with your gut instinct. c. Pick up the wool top and lay the end of it down on the top left edge of the silk. Put one hand on the wool to secure it and gently pull off tufts of fiber with your other hand. If it is difficult to pull, then move your hands further apart. The wool should separate gently and easily…no major effort should be expended! This is called “Shingling.” FIGURE 3. Do not try to separate the wool with your hands too close together. The wool is stronger than you are and you will not be able to tear it. FIGURE 4. Rather, if you gently shingle the wool with your hands more widely separated, it will easily pull apart at a natural breaking point.
d. Continue to shingle, placing the wool so that each shingle gently overlaps the previous shingle by about a half inch. There should not be any “bald spots.” Your objective is to use the wool to create a nice fiber seam along the entire perimeter. FIGURE 5. The shingle should be about an inch or so wide. You can bring the wool to the edge of the bubble wrap, but not beyond. [Note: You will not yet be able to shingle the silk fabric that is draping over the table. Don’t worry about it…we will take care of it in a minute.) FIGURE 6 e. Now is the time to add some wool decoration. The more wool you add, the more “ruching” (textured puckering) you will get in the silk fabric. FIGURE 7. f. Once you are happy with the wool placement, it is time to add some silk decoration. The silk will add a lovely sheen to the finished scarf. IMPORTANT NOTE: Silk will not felt by itself. Rather, all silk must be “captured” by the wool in order to felt into the fabric. Accordingly, any silk used must be placed on top of wool. FIGURE 8. g. Double check to see that there are no bald spots and that at least half of the fiber “seam” along the exterior edges is situated directly on top of the silk. You want the wool to migrate INTO the silk, not away from the silk. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the fiber, cover the entire piece with the toile netting. The purpose of the netting is to capture the fiber and hold it in place so that it does not randomly move about while you are felting. FIGURE 9 h. Sprinkle soapy water liberally over the netting. You want to wet down the entire piece. FIGURE 10 i. Use the palm of your hands to flatten down the fiber. Start in the middle and work your way out. FIGURE 8 j. Once the entire piece has been wet and flattened, it is time to make the “jelly roll” and begin to roll. k. Put your pool noodle at one edge of the netting and roll up the bundle, including the bubble wrap and toile. FIGURE 12 l. You will soon get to the edge that was draping over the table. Take a few minutes to lay out the wool and silk on this edge. Cover it with the toile and wet it down as described in steps h-j. Finish rolling the bundle m. Tie the bundle with the pantyhose. FIGURE 13 n. Roll the bundle gently back and forth 100 times with light pressure. FIGURES 14, 15 o. Time to take a peek! Unwrap the roll and gently pull the toile netting off of the silk. The wool might tend to stick to the toile…no worries…just pull it off. Take a minute to smooth out any creases that may have developed and fix any stray fibers that have gotten out of place. p. Once you are satisfied with the positioning of the fibers, cover the silk with the netting, roll the bundle, and secure with ties. Roll another 100 times, using a bit more pressure. q. Felt shrinks in the direction that it is rolled. Unroll the package and re-roll from the other side. Do another 100 rolls, exerting a lot of pressure this time. r. Now it is time for the pinch test! Unroll the package and pinch some of the fiber. It should be starting to “grab” the silk fabric. If you are able to pull up the wool with the fiber, you are ready to begin Fulling! FIGURE 16 STAGE TWO: THE FULLING PROCESS s. “Fulling” refers to the process by which you agitate the felt to shrink it. The agitation forces the fibers to become more entangled, compressing them and forcing out the air between them. This will cause the fabric to shrink and become stronger. Start the fulling process by rubbing the material against the bubble wrap. FIGURE 17 t. I generally start out with light pressure and then increase the pressure once I see that the fiber is migrating through the silk. You can tell that the migration is successful when you look at the underside of the fabric and see a bubbling/puckering where the wool has come through. FIGURES 18, 19 u. Finish the Fulling by lifting your fabric over your head and throwing it against the table. Get out all of your aggression! Felting is better than therapy! Feel free to put your fabric in a zip lock baggie and throw that if you want to avoid any water backsplash. v. Rinse the soapy water from your scarf. FIGURE 20 STAGE THREE: EMBELLISHMENT
a. The textural play between the warmth of the felt and the sparkle of the crystal is tantalizing! There is no rule regarding the embellishment...do as much or as little as your wish. Take a close look at your finished piece and let the fabric be your guide. The hole in the crystal is sharp and can cut ordinary thread. Use Fireline beading thread for added security. b. FINISHED! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Figure 21
Nuno Felt Scarf
Stage One: The Felting Process
Figure 1 The Supplies
Figure 2 Separate the wool
Figure 3 Shingling
Figure 4 Oops! Don’t do this!
Figure 5 Shingle the Perimeter
Figure 6 Don’t worry about this yet
Figure 7 Add more wool decoration
Figure 8 Lay silk on top of wool.
Figure 9 Cover with netting
Figure 10 Sprinkle the piece with water
Figure 11 Flatten the fibers
Figure 12 Make the jelly roll
Figure 13 Secure the roll with ties
Figure 14 Start to roll
Figure 15 Keep rolling!
Figure 16 The pinch test
Stage 2: The Fulling Process
Figure 17 Rub against bubble wrap
Figure 18 Back prior to fulling
Figure 19 Back after fulling
Figure 20 Rinse out the soap
Stage3: Embellish with Swarovski stones
Crystallized Swarovski Elements and felt—a perfect combination!
AREN’T YOU PROUD? …now go on and teach someone what you learned!
Crafting is uncomplicated joy…pass it on!
Have comments or questions? Please contact Pat: Sales@AussieThreadsandFibers.com
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