Sunday, July 05, 2009

Teaching Yer Grandma How To Suck Eggs

Or how I got egg my face!

I got an email from Terry which I responded to before I checked out her website.  She wrote in part:

Hi Helen!
………..I saw the pic of your "bark scarf" project and was so intrigued that I wanted to give it a try too.   I went to the link you mention (TLD designs) but didn't see a kit or instructions, so I decided to "wing it" based on your pictures.
Does the piece have fabric running all through the middle, or is it just yarns?   I used novelty yarns and ribbon without any fabric.   I don't normally felt with anything non-feltable like acrylic etc, but I wanted to try it anyway.     
Like you, I used the sander and it just seemed rather loose, so I wet it down again and sanded it again, very thoroughly.  It still seems fragile and not well felted.  I am wondering if it is because I have no fabric in there?   
I am not a huge fan of the sander method, but I do use it when I feel like it. 
I really liked the resulting design, and cutting the holes though.   I will definitely do it again, but not with novelty yarn.  Sometimes you just want something shiny!!
I am enclosing two pics so you can see my outcome. 
Any thoughts are appreciated!!

TerrisScarf TerrisScarf2

So I fired back this little note:


Hi Terri,

Don’t give up on novelty yarn yet!!!

First your project looks awesome… especially as you did it from a photo with no other real direction.  I admire your spirit!

The trick is to include just enough 100% wool to grab your novelty yarns and hang onto them firmly but not so much that you lose the shine.  The kit I got from Tammy included both novelty and wool yarns which went the length of the scarf.  There was also some coordinating carded fleece which was used to create bars that the circles were laid out on.  The yarn in the circles was wool not novelty.   

Here’s the process step by step.

  1. I made a cartoon of the scarf on really loooong paper.
  2. I cover the cartoon with bubblewrap, bubbles down.
  3. I laid out the fleece on the bars I had drawn on the cartoon.
  4. I laid out the long yarns.
  5. I made the circles on top of that.
  6. I covered the whole thing with a net curtain.
  7. I power sanded to loud rock and roll music, followed by blues and a bit of klezmer.
  8. I flipped the whole scarf over
  9. More music and more sanding.
  10. I cut out the circle centres.
  11. Repeat 8 & 9 until ears are numb or scarf is done.  Which ever comes first.

As to whether your scarf is felted enough.  Mine is really held together by the circles.  The yarns in between are actually quite separate.  They cannot be pulled out of their attachments to the circles giving the scarf great wearability.  And yet the disconnect between the circles lends a really fun and interesting quality to the scarf. At either end I took pains to ensure that yarns did not felt to each other by pulling them apart regularly.  This gives the scarf a nice fringe that I enjoy running my fingers through when I’m wearing it.

The scarf never fails to receive comments when I wear it!  It’s hard to tell from a photo but it looks like yours is just the same to me but for the colour choices.

Oh and …………………No, there is no fabric in this scarf. 

The addition of fabric will not make a scarf without sufficient wool quantity felt better.  On the other hand it will allow for the use of less wool creating more drape in the final product.  It will also give more durability to the finished piece. And it is more interesting/challenging and just plain fun to do. 

But I wouldn’t see it as enhancing the design of this particular scarf. 

But then again…………..maybe I’ll just give it a go and see what it turns out like……………thanks for the idea.

And then I noticed she had a website ……

in which she shares her considerable knowledge of all things felting with the rest of us……………. and you can see more of her work here and there as well.

Still though I may have taken informational coals to Newcastle I think there might be a nugget or two in here worth sharing….. not the least of which is be sure you ‘know’ your audience before you begin to perform!

Blessings & Good Cheer

Helen +  ilanafordeeplyfelt3 = Hi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

janekiwi (
Hi Ilana, that is so good that you shared that( I do egg on face,and big foot in mouth often). I have been learning lots from both of you via the net about felting, I am just starting, and love that you two are still learning and so willing to pass on ideas. thanks jane
July 19, 2009, 1:48:30 AM

Helen + ilana = Hi (
Hi Jane Thanks for the comment. oh and btw there's only 1 of me....... with 2 names..........see the explanation in the left column!
August 13, 2009, 4:45:45 PM