Nuno felting is a technique of binding unspun wool fibers to cloth to create felt. I first heard about it a few years ago when a friend gave me a nuno felted scarf that she had made. It was absolutely stunning!
This weekend, I finally learned this technique at Stitches West 2013. My good friend Mary Ann and I took a class from Judy Pascale, who walked us through the steps to create a felted scarf. She provided us with beautiful hand-dyed pieces of silk for our base and a table loaded with roving (wool fiber) in every color imaginable. It was a fiber candy store!
Judy is a fantastic teacher, and we enjoyed every minute of the day-long class.
The basic process is to lay fibers on top of a piece of silk, wet it, press the fibers in place, cover it with plastic, wrap it around a pool noodle and bubble wrap, and roll the heck out of it. Every so often, you unroll it to check on the progress, adjust the fibers as needed, add more water, and roll it again. The final steps are to crinkle the silk backing by rubbing it and then ironing it. The transformation from raw materials to the finished scarf is impressive! Here are some photos from the class:
I started my scarf with a background of blue and purple fibers.
Here’s Mary Ann laying the fibers on her scarf
I added a fringe of blue leaves at the end and gold leaves on the body of the scarf. This shows the partially felted scarf, after it had been rolled a few times.
Mary Ann is rubbing the almost finished scarf to crinkle the silk backing.
After the class, Mary Ann asked if I would be making felted scarves for my fundraising. Perhaps they would make a great item for a silent auction. What do you think?
My finished scarf
Some people can’t wear any wool. I get it. Their skin is sensitive and perhaps even allergic to wool.
At my holiday boutiques, someone inevitably stops by and asks if I have anything that isn’t wool. I don’t usually have much to show them. I like working with wool, and I know that even the soft merino or cashmere blends I like to use are still going to be too itchy for them. But, it is nice to have a thing or two to offer, especially for those who want to buy something to support my fundraising.
Last year, I made a cowl from a pretty acrylic tweed yarn, and put it in the sample basket with the other one-of-a-kind items. Sure enough, someone stopped by, asked if I had anything non-wool, and bought that cowl. She didn’t even try it on. She saw the color, heard that it was acrylic, and pulled out her wallet. I was happy to have something for her, and thrilled to sell another item for the fundraiser!
For my boutiques later this year, I’ll have at least one non-wool item. As part of the year-long Use It or Lose It challenge that I wrote about last time, I pulled out about 150 yards of “Queensland Hyacinth” yarn from my stash. This yarn, a cotton/rayon blend, was left over from a tunic top I knit for myself, and I didn’t think there was much I would be able to do with it. However, after a quick pattern search on Ravelry.com, I found that I had enough yarn to make a mini-scarf. Fantastic!
I’m hoping it will be the perfect item for someone who just can’t wear wool.