Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A New Nuno Scarf Project

So you ask, how do you work in such a messy disorganized work space? And I answer, it isn't easy. That's why I have moved next door into my husband's work area, and why I am using his counter. I can't find anything in my area anymore.

Today I started a new project, a nuno or laminated felt scarf. I had tried this before when I first began felting but I really wasn't ready for it because I didn't have any of the ground work for basic felting. (As mentioned in previous posts, I have learned what I know from reading and what little experience I have.) I was confusing the process for nuno with basic felting, and they are not the same. I would  throw my several layers of regular felt in the sink and wonder why things weren't working as they should. And I  layered the felt on a nuno scarf so thick that it had no chance at all of going through the silk. It took a while to get it all sorted out, but eventually I did- sort of. (You will see from my pictures that I have a long way to go.) I compensated by making scarves with lots of sewn on colorful felts, yarns and threads. They turned out quite thick and became table runners. Some of them were actually fairly pretty. Unfortunately, I gave them away before I took pictures of them and so I can only show this example, but you get the point.

 After getting advise from several of you and reading Christine White's nuno felt process in Uniquely Felt, I decided to make a nuno scarf. The silk had already been dyed a sickly lavender, so I redyed it using a dying process that I found in Carol Huber Cypher's book, How We Felt, page 72. I've always made dying things so hard and this process was so easy. My problem was that I only had a few colors, in pretty much the same family of colors. So I used several of what I had, after all, this was a first not expected to be perfect right? I took pictures as I went along in order to know what to do or not to do next time.

I laid my silk out on the bubble wrap on towels in preparation for dying. I mixed my dyes using hot water and applied them as Carol does in her book. I was pleased with the process. After getting as much color on my scarf as I wanted my husband came home and took a nap. I was unable to put the little plastic bags in the microwave until his nap was over, 45 minutes later. (This might as well have been a year, as you folks know when working on a "new project.") When the nap was over I put the bags in the microwave for a minute, of course, they popped, because it was only supposed to be 15 seconds. (The nap blew my concentration!!!) Luckily, I didn't end up with dye all over the microwave as the bags blew open.

I proceeded with my scarf like a pro. I put a light amount of merino wool all around the edges of my silk, which was now dry. I put down a very thin layer of purples, corals, browns, and blues. Then I put a few sparkly yarns on top of that. I bound those with another very light layer of merino. Not having experienced success with this so far, I still wasn't sure how much was too much. For me, it was very light. I covered it all with nylon curtain fabric, sprayed it all wet using Christine White's method of spraying it on my hand and letting it drip onto the wool, and then rolled it up.
Now, how much do I roll it? I rolled and rolled until my arms ached. I guess that this is a matter of experience, which I don't have yet. After rolling for what seemed forever, I added some hand soap gradually to full my scarf and began adding hot water. I have to say that I loved the whole process. (Yes, I was missing"24"!!! But I will take "fulling" over blood and guts any day, especially when I can just turn on the local news and get all the fill of gore  I would ever want-NOT!!!)
I continued fulling my scarf in the sink, lots of hot water, until I thought that it was ready. I rinsed it thoroughly and spread it out on the counter to dry.

The next day I asked my husband to put my scarf on for a picture since he had taken a nap in the middle of my project. However, I was nice enough to cut all of him but the scarf out of the picture. This is my nuno scarf. I love the play of color and texture. The texture of the silk touched by the soft and wonderful merino, touched again by the tough metalic fibers of yarns, and then more soft merino. It is a study in contrasts. I had so much fun making this, and it turned out okay. Thanks to those of you who have lent me support and suggestions. I appreciate you. Please continue. I will do as well.
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