This week's blog was written by Ammi Brooks of Ammi's Art.
I love locks! My favorite scarf has lots and lots of locks. This is my process.
First I have to separate my locks. This is almost a meditation and very tactile. I lay them out all over my table.
On my table I have a layer of rubber shelving and a layer of bubble wrap. On top of the bubble wrap I lay out my chiffon scarf from Dharma Trading Co. Chiffon fabric has a large weave which allows the fine merino wool to move through the scarf. I take wisps of roving (that is the roving in the middle of the photo below) and cover the scarf in a thin layer.
I like to use silk hankies as a design. Silk hankies are very thin layers of raw silk. Here is a youtube video showing ladies in India stretching silk cocoons to make hankies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjUvekaJb8
It’s good to use fine rubber gloves when using this silk as it sticks to every little hang nail!
When the layout is complete I spay it down with soapy water and cover it with bubble wrap with bubble side down. The last photo here is a video of the first rub down. This rub down is to set everything in place.
Off with the top bubble wrap. Normally the next thing in the process is the rolling of the scarf to press the wool through the silk. In the middle of the roll is a wooden dowel, the bubble wrap winds around the dowel and I would roll it back and forth a few hundred times (I show this in an earlier post).
HOWEVER I noticed it took a lot of time to keep the locks in place and not stick together. So I decided to rub the whole thing to get the fibers to be forced through the silk chiffon. Like I said before chiffon has a large weave so this way may take a little longer but the results are better.
The rubbing at the beginning is a gentle back and forth. I can tell with the feel that the fibers are moving through the chiffon. I put a piece of plastic under the long locks I have in the middle of the scarf shown below. As I am working with the scarf I find tiny pieces of straw and need to remove them with tweezers. I will be more carful next time when I am separating the locks.
When I feel that the fibers have traveled through the scarf enough to be secure I turn the scarf over. I cover it with bubble wrap and pinch the sides with clamps and flip it over. Next I rub it down more, this time rubbing harder.
Now is the fulling time. This is when the shrinking of the scarf takes place. Normally I would be more vigorous and toss the scarf onto the table. But because of the locks I will rub vigorously on my blue bubble wrap and wash board. The little wooden instrument helps with the shrinking process. Rubbing shrinks the scarf in the direction it is rubbed. Heat is the best way to shrink the last of the scarf. I use the steam to heat it and rub rub rub until it is the size I want.
Here you can see how much the scarf has shrunk.
I use my felting table to also dye my scarves and socks. One must be very careful to keep the area clean! I found some red dye on my white scarf. It was very faint but not good for selling. I tried to use bleach and you see the results below.
Not to worry. I did a tub dye with purple dye. You can see how the silk is a lighter purple
I learned a lot making this scarf. It is a never ending learning experience with felting!
Thanks for reading my blog. Ammi Brooks