Nuno Felting Experiments

I started thinking about Ann’s challenge right after it was announced in April but this is the first time I have been able to start working on the challenge actively. I wanted to try several different ideas I had for nuno that I hadn’t tried before. One was to try a cut prefelt shape sandwiched between two pieces of silk, the second was to try using rows of cheesecloth attached by felting and the third was to use locks as embellishment on nuno felt.

Pre Yarn Layout - BackI started with the largest piece that will be used on a project for an exhibition planned in October. This is the back side of the silk where I used preyarn to give a branching effect.

Layout FrontI then flipped the silk over and applied merino wool mixed with a variety of other fibers including silk noil, cashmere, angora, tencel, flax and banana fiber that I had carded into batts over the last month.

Added LocksNext came the locks which I added randomly over the surface. These were hand dyed Wensleydale locks and they are pretty coarse so I was wondering how they would migrate through the silk. I used 5mm silk gauze that I had previously hand dyed.

Finished Green Nuno

Here are the end results. I got lots of texture which I really wanted.

Texture Green NunoThis is the back side. You can see where the locks migrated through in the spots that look more yellow. No problems migrating through the silk.

Pre Felt on SilkMy next attempt was with the prefelt. Here is the shape that I cut out and I used some silk I already had. I did think to myself, this is 8 mm habotai silk and I don’t know what kind of wool is in the prefelt as I made it several years ago. Will it work? You should always listen to yourself.

Pre Felt SandwichI covered the prefelt with another piece of silk and then felted the piece by rolling. The fibers were migrating but not very quickly and not evenly. I kept working at it but it was slow. Next time I do this it will be with 5mm silk gauze and merino prefelt.

Finished SandwichHere is the result. I got a lot of ruching which is expected with 8mm habotai and all of the prefelt design is not attached. It would have worked better if I had listened to that little voice that warned it might not work.

Orange Pre FeltNext up was the experiment with cheesecloth and prefelt.

Hand Dyed 90# CheeseclothThe prefelt was another left over piece with unknown wool content. Here’s the cheesecloth. It’s 90# so pretty close weave for cheesecloth.

Cheese Cloth Strips

I ripped it into strips.

Ruffle Layer LayoutLaid it on the prefelt and then added a little bit of wool on the base of the cheesecloth that I wanted to felt in.

Wet Down and Plastic LayerI then wet that section down and covered it with plastic.

Second LayerThen I added another layer of cheesecloth and a bit more wool. Wet that layer down, covered with plastic and repeat.

All Layers Wet Down and CoveredThese are all the layers ready to start rolling.

Checking LayersIn the middle of felting, I did check the layers and did a bit of rubbing over the added wool.

Finished Layers

And here’s the result. Layered cheesecloth in rows that have been nuno felted in to the felt. They are very sturdy and you can’t pull them off.

Side View Cheesecloth LayersHere’s a side view where you can see the felt on the bottom. This would certainly have been simpler if I had just sewn the layers of cheesecloth down with the sewing machine. I’m not sure what the benefit of felting them would really be. But I guess on a three-dimensional piece that could not be sewn. it might be useful.

I enjoyed these experiments and have to think up some more ideas. I do have another idea floating around using Zed’s idea of nuno and resists that she showed earlier. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to try that idea out as well. Have you done anything for the nuno challenge? We’d love to see so please post it to Flickr or the forum.

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21 Responses to Nuno Felting Experiments

  1. Lyn says:

    How many times have I ploughed on with something and ignored that little voice that said “It’s not going to work you know”.
    But the final photo of the pre-felt experiment begs the question “What would this look like with a little stitching and mounting to make a small piece of artwork?”

    The locks experiment was a lovely success – looking forward to seeing the completed piece.

    The scrim experiment looks pretty – I know you could have sewn it, but sometimes you don’t want stitches on a felted piece so this was a good way of attaching the ruffles.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Lyn – I didn’t really want to listen because I didn’t have any other handy supplies that would have worked better. I do like the texture though. You always learn something, don’t you?

  2. jzinius says:

    Thank you for posting your experiments. They are interesting. I am also experimenting. I will share a link when done.

  3. zedster66 says:

    I think they all turned out great, Ruth 🙂
    The prefelt shape and silk might not have turned out how you wanted or imagined, but I like the result, the colours and texture are gorgeous.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Zed. I do like the texture you get from habotai. It’s always tougher to get the fibers started but the textures are always great.

  4. Marilyn Nelson says:

    All great experiments. I agree with Lyn that even though you could have sewn the ruffles it makes it so much more unique and innovative to felt them that way. I think experimenting is a great way to learn before making a big investment in a project. Thanks for sharing!

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Marilyn. I think samples and experiments are the best way to go as well. You always learn something new and it helps your final project be a success.

  5. lizseville says:

    Very interesting ideas. I like the green piece. LizSeville.wordpress.com

  6. Great experiments Ruth. I wonder why we don’t listen to that little voice. I wonder if it would have worked better if you had fluffed up the fibers some with a brush and if you’d rubbed it instead of rolling. it looks quite thick or is it an illusion of the camera. I really like the green textured piece. It is amazing how the course fibers push themselves right through and to the surface of the other side. It’s my challenge and I haven’t started yet.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Ann. I mainly didn’t listen because it would have taken more time to get the right supplies that I didn’t really have at the moment. So I went with what I had. It might have worked better by fluffing up the fibers. I did a lot of rubbing on it as well as rolling and it really isn’t that thick. Maybe 1/4″. I was amazed at the coarse fibers on the green piece too. I made sure there was merino under all the locks so that if it didn’t penetrate, it would still have something to felt on to.

  7. kwinter12 says:

    “That little voice” can be useful – that’s the advantage of building up experience. But I also think that the point of experimenting is to ignore the voice and do it anyway. My “mistakes” have often opened up other other avenues of exploration and wonderful results.

    I love the textures you’ve achieved with all these experiments – and I look forward to seeing your exhibition pieces!

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks! Mistakes are often avenues of exploration that you would never think of without that experiment. I’m always learning something. That’s the fun part.

  8. lizseville says:

    With the pre-felt is the patter supposed to migrate through and show on the silk?

    • ruthlane says:

      Yes, the fibers do migrate through and show on the silk. With a looser weave silk, you will see that much more clearly than on my example. The other difference is the printing that was on my silk obscures the fibers. They are there.

  9. Karen says:

    Your experiments did turn out really great Ruth, i love the ruching on the silk piece even though your pre felt didn’t take, and i don’t feel so bad for not doing my nuno piece now as Ann hasn’t done hers either lol

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Karen! That’s the best thing about nuno in my opinion is the ruching. If you do just little small samples, it doesn’t take all that long. Those big pieces though…

  10. Pingback: Progress on My Shelter Exhibition Piece | feltingandfiberstudio

  11. Ema says:

    Hi! I know this is a little bit late, but can you write down the steps you took for the attaching locks on the felt piece? The easiest method would be great, as I am a totally beginner, but I’ve been searching a lot for this technique and I don’t really find to much information. It not have to be nuno-felt, I want the locks attached to the wool “blanket”. Thanks you very much in advance, I hope you will find the time to answer me 🙂
    Have a nice day!
    Ema

    • ruthlane says:

      Hi Ema,
      The way I attached the wool locks on this piece was just to lay them down on the already laid out wool and felted as usual. I didn’t do anything different with the locks. If you want the locks to be only attached at one end and then be loose so it looks like a “lambskin” rug, then you need to cover the ends of the locks with a finer wool such as merino and felt from the backside of the piece to avoid felting the locks together. Why don’t you join us on the forum so you can get any questions you have answered by all the members. Everyone is very helpful there and since you’re a beginner, you could really learn a lot. http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/ You’ll just need to join up to post but it’s simple, you’ll just need a user name and a password.

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