I did nuno felting on Friday. It's been stinking hot here and I really wanted to do some dyeing but it was Too Hot! So instead I did some physical exercise (as opposed to mental exercise or perhaps I should exercise).
Nuno felting means getting some fabric and wet felting wool/etc to it. Obviously you need wool/etc that will felt - superwash won't do! I bought a silk scarf from Dharma last week so I could try it out. Actually I bought two silk scarves but I only played with one of them.
So I grabbed the scarf and some rainbow tops I got last year at Taos wool festival. I predrafted strips of the tops so they were nice and thin then laid them out on some bubblewrap (we have tonnes of bubblewrap that we inherited from a previous neighbour when he moved in and we were about to move out). Then I put the scarf over them and laid out some more tops on top. I made up some soapy water in a bucket and flicked water over the layers of scarf and tops. (I used glycerine soap cos it is soft on my hands. Olive oil soap is good too - I've used that for felting too.) Then I rubbed the watery soap in using a plastic bag over my hand (gloves are popular for this but I had a bag) so that the tops don't move too much. The bubblewrap then gets rolled up, enclosing the scarf and tops and you start rolling it like a rolling pin on dough. Except if you rolled dough as much as you need to roll a felted thing, the dough would be very large and thin. I rolled it 150 times in one direction, then unrolled it to see how it was going and rolled it up again from the other direction and rolled another hundred or so times.
It gets fun after this. You unroll it and have a peek at it. If it is felting nicely then you just fold it up in the bubblewrap and start dropping it onto a hard surface. After a few drops you can take it out of the bubblewrap and scrunch it up and start throwing it. Every now and then dip it into the soapy water and squeeze it out - it should not be dripping just moist. The pounding it takes accelerates the felting process. You are aiming for an item that is about 2/3 the size it was.
Eventually, it looks like this:
See how the silk is all sorta wrinkly? But the wool doesn't look so wrinkly?
I think I'll do some more of this. It is hard on the old wrists but maybe I can modify the way I do it.