Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nuno-Felt, Rock without the Roll

I have a photo with extra sunlight of the black cardigan back... not too exciting as it is only stocking stitch and black, but I hope the final details punch it up to another level... meanwhile I am enduring knitting in black... I really find it hard to see to pick up the inevitable dropped stitch. Need good lighting for sure.
But in the meantime... check out my newest Nuno-felt adventure! I am at this time, waiting for a shipment of silk. Large pieces that can be nuno-felted into enough yardage for a coat or two! So to practice the procedure, I dug out a lovely old hand painted silk scarf I have owned for about 15 years.

I laid it on bubble wrap, laid down a fine bed of natural colour merino, then dropped fine wisps of grey and lime merino to decorate. Using a soap mixture, I sprayed the roving until JUST WET, then covered with plastic wrap.

Using my hands I rubbed the plastic until the soapy water was completed through the merino and the silk scarf (becomes translucent through all the layers). The top of the plastic is dry to the touch and no water and soap are running out of the layers.

Here's the RUB!!! I got our cordless hand sander! I turned it on and placed this over the plastic, holding it in one place for 3 seconds, then lifted (not dragged) to the spot next to it and did the same 3 seconds. I moved slowly across the long edge, 3 seconds at a time, then came back across the middle, then back across the upper long edge. This covered the whole piece, one section at a time for three seconds.
I lifted the plastic and noticed some felting starting (a bit of the wool showed up on the back of the silk) but no shrinking happening yet.... perfect. I turned on the sander and repeated this process once more. Then I pealed off the plastic, lifted the scarf and flipped it to silk side up (merino side down on the bubble wrap), replaced the plastic, and did two more rounds of the sander over the plastic.
This whole process so far, took just under 30 minutes!
Then I pealed the plastic, checked the scarf to find LOTS of merino fluff on the silk side and the edges well set (the silk could not be easily pulled off the wool). Time to full (shrink and set).
(the photo is actually in the almost dry state later... but it shows how much wool came through. it photos well through the grey part of the silk)
I took the scarf to my bit laundry sink. Running the water so it was almost too hot to put my hands in, I wet the scarf and used a bit of soap to mush the thing in a ball with soapy hot water... about 2 minutes. Then I threw it to the bottom of the sink several times, then rinsed in cold water thoroughly. I repeated, hot water, soap, mush and throw again, then rinsed in cold again.
It seemed well felted then, but you just repeat this until it is shrunk enough. You can tell by feel and by how wrinkled the silk has become. The more the merino shrinks, the more wrinkly the silk becomes!

See the nice contrast between the wool felt front and the wrinkled painted silk back!


Nancy said...

Another beautiful piece Chris! Love the colours

Ruth said...

Glad you enjoyed the tutorial and your scarf came out great!