For Rachel’s birthday this year, I got her a gift certificate to a class at Amazing Fibers. Yesterday we cashed it in, despite both of us sporting Kleenex, cough drops, and rotten colds.
The class was at an alpaca farm out in Elizabeth, Colorado, which meant we drove an hour into the middle of nowhere until we found this place:
The instructor, Samantha, showed us around her enviable craft room (a converted barn) and some sample scarves. We’d be learning the nuno felting technique, a method of making lighter weight felt using a gauzy fabric. Silk, in our case. Samantha pulled out bags and bags of precut silk panels until Rachel and I selected our base fabrics.
We laid them out on long pieces of bubble wrap, then picked out some roving to decorate:
Once we set our designs, we covered the scarves with this green mesh cloth and wet them with soapy water:
Rachel started the felting process on some of her embellishments with this handy wooden scrubber:
Then we rolled up the scarves around pool noodles and loaded them in the rolling machine:
The machine rolled the scarves for us, stopping every four minutes or so to unroll and then re-roll the scarves to change up the friction:
After about a dozen stop-and-starts (and a homemade chicken salad lunch, which was included with the class), we slimed the scarves with olive oil soap:
which made them nice and foamy when we put them back in the rolling machine:
After a few more rounds of rolling and flipping, we put the scarves in buckets and pulled out some good old-fashioned washboards:
By working them over on the washboard we could complete the felting and add crinkles to the fabric, one section at a time. By the end, my scarf looked like this:
Finally, we rinsed out the soap and Samantha ironed the scarves:
And voila! We each had our own silk-and-wool scarf: