Yesterday, I was finally able to take a class I’ve been wanting to take ever since The Fiber Studio’s class list came out last summer: Nuno felting, the Japanese technique of felting fiber onto fabric, most often wool onto woven silk. The results are stunning.
The class supply list called for a silk scarf base, so I brought a few of my scarves from Double Dyeing since I wasn’t sure what size/weight would work. A few people were worried that my scarves would be too thick to felt properly, but the instructor, Kris Post, encouraged me to try one anyway. She said I might have to put some extra muscle into it, but I should be able to get one done in the four hours we had for the class.
I purposely brought scarves that were out of my color comfort zone (you know how I love my purples) in an attempt to broaden my creative horizons. I did struggle a bit choosing colors, but I think more so because I was unsure of what my end result would be and didn’t know what color choices work best for this technique. Do contrasting colors work better? Complimentary? Tonal? As I quickly learned, it’s really hard to not love your end results in nuno felting. Everyone in my class had very different tastes and color choices and they all resulted in beautiful scarves (even the orange/brown/blue one that I was sure I wouldn’t like).
Since our scarves were most likely to be worn next to the skin, we chose our wool colors from Pam’s beautiful merino top selection. Merino is one of my favorite wools. So soft. Such vibrant colors. So hard not to pick all of them. After much debate, I chose these.
The brighter blue color on the left is actually a Tencel/wool blend to add some texture and sheen.
After our colors were chosen, we laid out our fibers on our silk scarves and got to work. We rolled, soaped, patted, dropped, rubbed, and threw our scarves until the merino had worked it’s way through the silk and latched on tightly. A quick rinse, soak in a diluted vinegar bath and one more rinse of warm water and I was done.
And then I looked at the clock and realize I still had 1.5 hours of class left. Oops. Apparently I worked my scarf a little faster than I needed too. I think in reality what happened was I chose a simpler design for my scarf than the intricate floral vines or 3″x3″ grid layouts some of my classmates chose. I was halfway done with the felting before they were even finished with their wool layout. Anyway, I decided not to let the last half of my class go to waste…and finished a second scarf.
I love how the nuno felting takes the shibori dyed scarves to another level. I have another batch of dyed scarves brewing in my garage right now. I can’t wait to do more nuno!!