Having written a little about my recent felting weekend I realized that some people might not be familiar with the term “Nuno Felting”. I definitely did not have a clue what Nuno Felting was until this weekend (which was marginally better than my brother who is not familiar with the art of felting and questioned my grammar when I wrote to him that I was “going to felt alpaca”!)
According to Wikipedia the definition of Nuno Felting is:
Nuno felting is a Japanese fabric felting technique. It melds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze. This creates a lightweight felt that can totally cover the background fabric or be used as a single decorative design.
The Nuno felting process is particularly suitable for fine garment making, since silk-backed felt ensures a stable felt that will not stretch out of shape like normal felt. Because it is lightweight and easy to manipulate it can also be dyed more readily than traditional felt. Other fabrics or open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours.
For my scarf I was felting alpaca fiber and decorative yarn onto a silk background. The silk I used has a lovely iridescent quality that does not show up well in the photograph, and the combination of the silk with a fine layer of alpaca fiber really does work well. Not being the most creative of people my design is fairly basic, but I wanted to be able to concentrate more on the technique of Nuno Felting rather than have to worry about a complicated design.
It was fascinating to me to see how the alpaca fiber felted, it would soon turn from loose fiber to starting to have some solidity to it and then becoming felt which was attached to the silk. As the alpaca fiber felted the silk would start to crinkle making a nice effect to the scarf.
The only things we used to get the alpaca fiber to felt were some cold soapy water (sometimes with felting you use hot water but for my scarf cold water was a better option) and elbow grease. Felting is a good workout for the hands, arms and shoulders!
The end result of my Nuno Felting project was a soft, lightweight but warm scarf, with a unique design that might be considered attractive depending on your point of view.
I am sure I will be trying Nuno Felting again, it is a fun technique and you can add as much or as little felt design over the scarf as you please so there is plenty of room for creativity. Now all I need to do is find plenty more time to play with felting (along with spinning, knitting, crochet – the list goes on and on!).