This week's blog was written by fiber arts artist Ammi Brooks of Ammi's Art.
Nuno felting is a process by which raw wool is laid out in a desired pattern on silk or other natural fabric adding soap and water, then rubbing and rolling together until the fibers travel through the fabric. When the fibers come through it is time to shock the fibers by throwing it or rubbing and agitating the scarf thus shrinking it up to 50% of the original piece.
I put down a layer of rubber shelving (so the layers don’t slide around) then a layer of bubble wrap (for good friction) and a layer of thin plastic. On top of the plastic I laid out a chiffon scarf and on top of that tufts of raw white Merino wool. I use 100% wool yarn for part of the the design. Using wool yarn is important. The yarn will felt itself to the raw wool. I also added raw dyed silk.
I spray down the scarf with soapy water and put a sheet of bubble wrap face down on the scarf. Putting soapy water on the top I rub off the bubble wrap to agitate the wool and help the wool rub into the scarf. When the yarn no longer moves around it is ready to begin the felting process. This is where the wool is pushed through the chiffon scarf.
I take a short cut here...I roll up a wet washcloth between the plastic and scarf and tie it up with nylon scarf and kneed it and toss it on the table. This shrinks the wool and creates ruffles and the stockings. Then I put it into the dryer on no heat for 11 minutes.
After 11 minutes I unroll it and put the wash cloth on the other end and roll up it up again and give it another 11 minutes. By this time the fibers of wool travel through the tiny holes in the chiffon scarf. Now it is time to full (shrink) the scarf. I put hot water and soap on the raw silk makes patterns that look like rivers. My final fulling comes using a wash board rubbing really hard to shrink it further. I planned all along to paint the scarf with dye after felting. It didn't turn out the way I expected but I like it.
This little video shows show the final step in felting my scarf. As one rubs the scarf it shrinks it the way it rubs!