Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Still trying to catch up, but one thing I promised myself was a tutorial demonstrating laminated felting (also known as Nuno felting). This is a technique created by Polly Stirling for a type of felt that can be made and worn in warmer climes, such as Northern New South Wales, Australia. I love it, so lightweight, so different and practical. It is also such a surprise when it dries and you can see what has happened.
Firstly, gather supplies, silk chiffon, merino wool roving, plastic bag, plastic container of warm water with soap dissolved in it, (I use olive oil soap and an old plastic milk carton), large old towel, bamboo blind, bubble wrap, old nylon curtaining, 2 large elastic bands and masking tape.
Work outside or in a wet area, as this can get messy. Lay the old towel on a table, then lay out the bamboo blind, and on top of this the bubble wrap. The towel helps reduce the mess, the bamboo blind and the bubble wrap provide the friction to help the felting process. The bubble wrap also helps contain the warm water and keeps the felt damp. Lay the silk chiffon on the bubble wrap, use masking tape on the corners to keep chiffon flat. Remember to remove the masking tape before wetting the wool and chiffon.

Then take the merino roving and separate roving into long, narrow pieces. Hold your hands fairly wide apart to draft merino into pieces, this makes it easier to separate. Lay the merino onto the chiffon in a pattern, as you wish. I used prefelts ( next tutorial will be prefelts) to make

gumnut blossoms. Take care to make sure the prefelts are different colours to the background or they will disappear into the background. Cover the entire project with the nylon material, being careful not to disturb the merino wool on the chiffon material. Then take the bottle of warm, soapy water and pour carefully all over the nylon material, in a grid pattern. Taking the plastic bag, put your hand inside and press firmly in the centre of the nylon. Then move your hand in small, firm everwidening circles, smoothing and wetting the entire project surface. This meshes the wool, and removes any air bubbles as well as helping to make the wool permeable to the water.

Continue meshing the wool using the plastic bag firmly, until all the material through to the bubble wrap is wet, not dripping, just wet. Add more soapy water as necessary.
Carefully lift the nylon to check the felting progress. Gently pinch up the merino wool if the fibres come loose then more felting is required. When felting is complete no fibres will come loose.
Once this happens then it is time for the next stage. Roll up the bamboo blind, without the towel, place elastic bands around the each end of the roll to hold it together. Then put both hands firmly on the roll and roll back and forward 400 times. Unroll the blind then roll from the opposite end and roll another 400 times.

Check the felting process, carefully unroll the blind, gently lift the nylon material with one hand and hold down the felt with the other hand, it may need separating from the nylon. If it is felted then the fibres will not be lifted when the material is pinched up. Look at the underneath of the chiffon some of the wool fibres should have migrated through to the underneath of the chiffon. If this hasn't happened then continue rolling and checking regularly, until it does. See the above photo of my felted gumnut. The prefelt has felted nicely to the background. Once you have finished felting the project needs to be "fulled". Carefully remove the felt material from the blind and nylon, fold it into a square pad. Put this in a plastic bag and tie closed. Then "throw" this on the bench, table or sink, approximately 50 times. This forces the fibres firmly into each other and strengthens the felt, it also closes the fibres around each other and the felt will shrink. It generally shrinks about a third. Then rinse the scarf in cool water and a tablespoon of white vinegar, to neutralise the soap. Once the soap is rinsed out, dry flat in the shade, do not wring or put in a washing machine. Gently reshape the scarf, pulling into shape.

There you are I think that is ok, I am too tired to proof read at this time. Mum, you read it and tell me what you think, if it needs fixing. I will post a photo soon of my completed scarf, it is just drying at the moment.