Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nuno Felting a Scarf

If you've never heard of nuno felting, it is basically taking a cloth, such as a silk scarf, and adding a thin layer of wool, then slowly working them together until the wool fibers work their way down through the cloth, making it gather up tightly as the wool felts tighter together.  This is the first time I have ever attempted nuno felting- I decided to try it after reading a book called Uniquely Felt by Christine White.

To get started I gathered up a piece of bubble wrap (2ft x 6ft), a piece of plastic (2ft x 6ft), an old sheer curtain, a pool noodle, a teapot, some rubber gloves, and some warm soapy water (dish soap). Also don't forget the 15 x72 inch silk scarf and 1 ounce of fine merino wool.

First I laid down the bubble wrap, then the plastic, and then the scarf.  

Then I measured off 1 ounce of fine Merino wool from my stash. You want to use a wool that will felt easily.  The last cobweb scarf I made was with Romney wool, which still felts, but with much more effort involved.  

I took the wool and carefully spread it out on-top of the scarf in the thinnest layer I could get without any open areas.  Apparently the less wool you put on the more the silk will gather up.  I also didn't want a heavy scarf.  

I would have preferred to work with colorful wool and silk, but white was all I could come up with. I did order some dyes, but it looks like you have to have good ventilation to use them and it is still a little cold outside, so..... maybe next time!  

After laying out the wool in a very fine layer, I covered it with a old sheer curtain cut to size.  Then I took a squeeze bottle with warm soapy water and let the water run over the back of my hand onto the fibers carefully, so as to not disturb the layout of the wool. 

After the wool and scarf were fully saturated I rolled it all up around a pool noodle cut to size and tied it shut with some knee high nylons.  Then I rolled it back and forth for about 5 minutes, unrolled it, rolled it up from the other end, and rolled it for 5 more minutes. 

At this point the wool was just starting to felt together.  It was also starting to work it's way through the scarf, but also starting to work it's way through the curtain, so I carefully peeled off the curtain.  

I gently tucked the ragged edges under so make a smooth edge and then covered it back up with the curtain and rolled it back up again. 

This time I rolled it back and forth for 20 minutes, unrolled it and rolled it up from the other end, and then rolled it for 20 more minutes. Some good upbeat music was helpful with this part :)

Then I unrolled it and gently felted it by hand until I was sure that it was really stuck together.  I didn't take many pictures at this point cause my hands were really wet and soapy, but I started out gentle, and continued working with it harder and harder until it was really shrinking good.  I had to spend extra time on the 4 corners for them to shrink the same amount as the rest of the scarf so the end of the scarf didn't look like a B (it shrinks more in the middle by nature). 

One of the last hardening techniques I did was pouring nearly boiling water on it and slamming it down into the table over and over again.  A great way to relieve all that built up tension in your shoulders!  

I was surprised by how much it shrunk!  Its about half as long as when I started!  

I decided to fold it in half and sew on a button. I made the button it a pottery class a few years ago.  I've been wearing the scarf with my V-neck coat. 

Here you can see how the wool worked its way through the scarf.  This would be the back side of the scarf- now the right side as it is the most textured side. If I make a scarf like this again, I think I will sew two of the silk scarves together so it is longer when finished- and use color! 


  1. Wow...interesting project. Love the scrunchy fuzzy look.

  2. Unique texture! Very cool :)

  3. SUPER neat!

    Will you teach me how to knit when we come visit in July? teehee