Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Experimental felting... #1

I have to confess to being extremely curious!  And just being told that something works is not enough for me.. I have to try it myself - cant settle till I have.  This has led to some funny situations in the past believe me..  This time my curiosity was piqued by reading about people using a tumble drier as a felting tool.  Not something I have ever done before..  The curiosity became unbearable when I heard about it being used to speed up nuno felting! 

... you may recall the large nuno shawls that I made earlier in the year - they took, what seemed, an eternity of rolling (many, many hours over 2 days) to get the fibres to migrate through the fabric.  I had no plans to felt any more of these shawls, even though I LOVE the way they turned out, because they took so darned long - and near killed my back!

Some experimentation was in order.. so I googled and found this excellent tutorial on Treetops Colour Harmonies website.. and followed it :)

For my first experiment I used silk chiffon to make a nuno scarf - using a lot less wool than I usually do:
Used a piece of the silk chiffon I dyed a couple of weeks ago

Didnt have a clear idea of the design when I started.. it just 'grew'.  I got quite carried away and spent 3 or 4 hours in a very zen like state laying out the pattern :) ..only realised how long I had taken because I got hungry - I was 1 1/2 hours late for a meal!

Wetted out with cold soapy water

Decorators plastic layed on top

Edges folded in to 'seal the parcel' and rolled around a damp towel

Dry towel rolled around the outside, then tied up nice and tight.

Then into the tumble drier it went - on a no-heat settling, for 15 minutes.  Then, like with normal felting, unroll & straighten, then re-roll from the opposite direction.  Back in the tumble drier for another 15 minutes.  This was repeated rolling from all 4 sides, though for the final 2 sides I only did 10 minute tumbles - this was plenty.

After all this bumping & tumbling the fibres had migrated through the silk beautifully.. and was ready for heat and throwing - this is the bit that I like.. the magic nuno moment when you get the lovely texture. 

I had also prepared a sample sized piece with synthetic organza to see how this behaved & tumbled it at the same time (this only took 3 tumbles!)

I am going to leave it there though for today.. Tomorow I shall show you how it turned out, what became of the synthetic sample piece AND my new bargain must have felting tool!



Unknown said...

Your colors and layout are gorgeous! I cannot wait to see the final piece!

Heather Woollove said...

Deborah--All of this sampling...I'm so impressed!
(I sometimes use the rinse and spin cycle of my washing machine to speed things along.)
I'm anxiously awaiting photos of your finished work! XXO-

Unknown said...

I love the idea of this method! I was planning to have a go at some scarves over the summer and this would certainly take the hard work out of the rolling. I can't wait to see your finished product. Thanks for sharing.
Becky x

FeltersJourney said...

Thanks girls :)
I just posted finished pics..

Heather I use the rinse & spin cycles in my washer when I felt slippers - while they are on the lasts.. works a treat! And with my Sheep-friendly sheepskin rugs too :)


Jeany said...

Hi Deborak, now I get it, where do you get such big roll ;)) I see allready Ihave to go to big storage where they sell big rolls ;))
Thank you, again, you'r e such a help and inspiration to me, great weekend and greetings from me, Janine

FeltersJourney said...

Hi Janine, I got the big pieces from B&Q, they sell decorating tools and supplies. These are huge sheets of plastic, about 4m x 4m.
For smaller sheets I split bin liner bags along the seems and open them out.