Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Batty about Batts (for faster nuno felting)

Hope you read the post from Fiona Duthy on what's so different about working with batts.  I get lots of questions about what are they, how to you use them....but it's best if you buy some yourself to try them out.

(I will be bring batts to the Oct. 18 Workshop and throw together a scarf in a couple of minutes.)

I was uncertain when I first used batts but once you have it's actually hard to go back to pulling all those hundred of wisps off a roving rope, especially if you nuno felt as often as I do. 

BATTS means you can lay out your design so fast you'll be done before you know it.

It's a lot like working with paper collage; you need to do a little organizing by color and size then cut and place (on your fabric) or tear and place and you can dig right into felting.

My favorite BATTS are from  Pat and Christine, aka The Decadents, dye up a Gourmet Jelly Roll according to their colorway chart also found on the site.   This Roll comes in a big clear heavy duty bag with a string closure so you'll always know where it is, such a classy presentation.

Their prices can't be beat for this wonderful merino wool - $40!!!!!!!  DYED TO ORDER!!!!  which I know is going to make at least 10-15 scarves.  Incredible.

I just ordered my first one of the season -- so when it arrives I'll take you through using a batt again and provide MORE DETAILED PIX on how to complete the LAYOUT. 

REMEMBER?  Batts are harder to wet down because they are so full of air.  They need more water and more soap.  Bet it will be a breeze now with my new must-have WEED SPRAYER.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WORKSHOP 10/18/14 - Make a LOOP in an hour USING A SANDER

You can sign up here:

Nuno Felt Your Own Infinity Loop Scarf
Instructor: Nancy Schwab
Date: Saturday, Oct. 18
Time: 12noon-4pm
Age: 18+
Price: $70  Materials: see materials list (please contact Nancy
Description: Learn how to nuno felt a gorgeous infinity loop scarf using all the newest tools and shortcuts for creating a wonderful piece of wearable art in about one hour.  Nuno felting is a fiberart technique that focuses on felting small amounts of wool and other fibers on a fabric base such as silk and cotton voile using just soap, water and elbow grease to create light, gossamer thin accessories and garments that are wearable year-round.  It's often described as "painting with fibers".  Now you can learn to do it much faster in this 4 hour workshop which will include the secrets of great fiber layouts and picking the right colors on both sides of the fabric, quick felting with use of a Palm Washboard and Electric Sander, joining the 2 edges to create a loop scarf and finishing techniques.  Each student will end the class with a finished loop scarf measuring 56-58" in a loop by 8" wide.

This workshop is best suited to students with a basic knowledge of felting techniques and terms and at least 20 hours of felting and/or nuno felting experience.  

Venue :
230 Lakeville Street,

Petaluma, California, US, 94952
I'll bring the SANDERS!!!--- you will love how fast they work.  Everyone will go home with a finished loop scarf.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Fall Color Chart - Pantone

Boy, am I late late late this year with all the changes and 2 apartment moves which might turn into 3.........and getting used to a completely new workspace and homespace and still looking for stuff that was packed away.

I would have been paying more attention to the Pantone Fall 2014 Colors.............they don't rule my color choices but I am, nonetheless, influenced by them.

What's interesting about Fall 2014 is that the colors are so muted and kind of "half there."  Not like the very rich and deep jewel colors of last year.  (Some trend-watchers claim the colors reflect our feelings about our economic security/insecurity.)

In my years of experience most women like to wear scarves that are full of color and full of very rich and deep colors.  This is especially true for those who prefer a neutral palette for their clothing and love to change it up completely with their accessories. 

The Pantone colors have enough attraction (and I do love how they look paired and in three's) that I will gradually gravitate to buying fibers and dye my silks very near to these in the next several weeks.
But...............they look a lot more like Spring to me than Fall.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Create better, more intricate nuno felt faster!

TOPICS include:
Part 1: How to use the new tools including the Palm Washboard, Edge Tool, Felting Stone & Felting Mat
Part 2: Tumbler Dryer Method & Shelf Liner Shortcuts, Rolling Machines - what they do, where to buy
Part 3: Importance of Color in Nuno Felting including How to Work with White, Using Non-Wool Fibers, Using Cotton Base Fabrics, Prefelts & Batts, & What went wrong - my fibers fell off?!
Part 4: How to make an Infinity Loop, add Ruffles to your designs on the edges and inside, make Felt Lace, the Two Layer Technique, Mosaic Nuno Felt, add how to quickly make and add Prefelt Swirls as a design element
Part 5: List of sources for supplies including fibers, tools and fabric


Kindle COVER
Kindle Digital Edition*:

PRINT Edition on***:
*NOTE: The Kindle digital edition is readable on all Apple and Android devices including tablets and smartphones using free Kindle Reader software.


NFT&T has hundreds of secrets and tips for how to nuno felt better and faster using the newest and latest techniques and tools. It's so popular that it's now available in several bookstores and public libraries in the US and UK. Available in print and digital editions.

Best Silks for nuno felting with a list of types and weights
Cottons for nuno felting
How to dye your own fabrics with RIT and DYLON powdered dyes
Non-wool fibers and nuno felting
Using a microwave
Using a portable electric sander; detailed directions
How to "water" your nuno felt
Soaps for nuno felting
Learn how to make great EDGES and ENDS
Make "ROVING YARN" to create outlines & designs
What to look for when buying custom-dyed/mixed fibers online
Best throwing technique
Using the "ALL COLD WATER" method
Fix a "mistake" with needle felting
plus many, many more!
or you can buy it from my online store at a discounted price


Friday, July 18, 2014

More Working with Cotton TIPS & TRICKS - it has qualities silk does not

Cotton fabric is a great option for nuno felting year-round but especially when the weather gets warmer; it provides a durable canvas for everything from nuno felted shapes to garments and accessories such as purses and bags. (Cotton really isn't just for the warm months and warmer climates - it's such a wonderful fabric to use and wear.)

For most projects the lighter-weight the 100% cotton fabric the better it works. I've used Cotton Voile, Scrim, Hospital Gauze and Dharma Trading's Harem Cloth.

I dye all of these cotton fabrics myself even though many 100% lightweight cottons are available in commercially dyed colors and prints. It's harder to dye cotton whatever method you use so it's usually best to over-dye to compensate for the inevitable color-loss during the nuno felting process.

Dharma's Cotton Harem Cloth is my new favorite (even better than voile) because it can be over-dyed and has so much more body & crispness to it --- I love the way it holds up to the tough nuno felting process. (You need to cut it with scissors, not rip it.)

Cotton has characteristics that make it very different from working with silk - the 2 main considerations are WEIGHT and TEXTURE.

All the cottons including voile are heavier than most lightweight silks (3mm to 5mm) so the weight of the cotton needs to be factored in to your end product. If you are making wearables the weight affects the final drape. If you are making bags, hats and other accessories, cotton may be the better base fabric because of it's weight and durability.

Texture is a dominant feature when you use cotton as your base fabric because it does completely different things when it shrinks during felting and can be so dramatic that it's actually as much of a design-decision as it is a fabric-decision.

Cotton (whatever type or weight) wrinkles and puckers, folds and pleats and you can pump it up or tone it down depending on how much and where you place your fibers in your design layout.

For example if you spread out your fibers similar to the prep for Cobweb Felt you'll end up with tons of small puckers between the fibers - a fascinating and wonderful effect.

If you vary the direction of your fibers in the initial layout you'll get puckering in both directions and you can really play up this textural-effect trick with the heavier weights.

All the cottons fray like crazy so it helps to think ahead about how to deal with it during layout. I like to use the Wrapped Edge Technique because it looks more professional (and hides all those ugly edges and ends). You can also serge the edges, use a Rolled Edge foot on your sewing machine or buy cotton scarf blanks with finished edges.

gauze (from tight to loose weave often labeled "hospital gauze")
Dharma Trading's Cotton Harem Cloth - see my post
lightweight cotton blends with at least 80% cotton content

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cotton Harem Cloth - a great cotton base for nuno felting

on Cotton Harem Cloth
There have been lots of enquiries on the blog about what fabrics to use for nuno felting including Cotton Harem Cloth.  It's available by the yard from

If you aren't a fan of cotton voile which is another great cotton base fabric or need something that has more body and weight, Cotton Harem Cloth might be the solution.

If you have experimented with Scrim or open-weave gauze (aka Hospital Gauze) in all weights and been unhappy with the results (I am not a fan of this class of natural cottons) try Harem Cloth.

It is much heavier and crisper than voile and you must cut it to size with scissors -- it will not rip without a lot of damage to the edges.

It also frays once cut so my best advice is to use the Wrapped Edge Technique to hide your edges and ends.  (It will also be kind to your finished project and be more durable over the life of your design, esp. if it is a wearable.)

I've dyed Cotton Harem Cloth successful with RIT, Dylon and Dharma's Fiber Reactive Dyes but, being cotton, it will lose some color during the arduous nuno felting process.  Always OVERDYE it and go for a shade that is at least 1x to 2x darker than what you expect at the end (which means you should go slightly lighter with your fiber colors if you want a match).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

WEED SPRAY your Nuno Felt - UPDATE, buy the better one!

better weed aprayer
The Weed Sprayer is all the rage in felter's studios and workshops because you can water down ANY project in seconds.  Heck, you can even add your liquid soap and it never foams up.  (TIP:  you are using cold or room temp water when you wet down your project so it's just fine under pressure.  I would not use hot water in these things.)

Most of those available in the big box hardware stores and garden centers are for home use and they range from $9.99 to over $50.

I got el-cheapo used it for 2 months and just tossed it in the garbage.  It would not seal and leaked air and needed so much manual labor that my right arm almost fell off.

The new one cost $14.95 but has a "release valve" on the side to release the air pressure after using it --- you don't want to leave it pressurized overnight or around kids and animals.

Having that extra valve means I don't have to keep unscrewing the top and losing air.

The capacity is only 1.5 gal that's why I got it---the one for $19.99 was 2 gal and you have to remember you are placing it on the floor to pump in air, then LIFTING it up to your worktable ---- don't get something that is going to wreck your knees and back. 

When you fill it up:
add your cold water first
add your Dawn or other felting soap in the amount you usually use for most of your work - don't mix it in, just leave it alone
use a paper towel & completely dry the opening, the insert rod and everything around it ---- once you add liquid soap it can stop the seal from forming because it's just too slippery.
seal it up and start spraying - you will love how fast it is.

You can also omit the soap and add your soap once you've wet down your project.  Many felters rub an olive oil soap bar over their wet fibers.  (The fibers need to be tamped down with window screen so they don't shift while soaping.)

MAKE FELTING EASIER for yourself!!!!!  Once you use it you'll never be without it.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

New JUMBO Size Palm Washboard

Thought I was excited about's EDGE TOOL (which I use for every project) now they have a JUMBO Palm Washboard in an extra large size.  The handle is the same size as their other rotating-tools.

For those of you who wonder about spending the bucks on tools that work for felting, nothing is better than the Palm Washboard tools.  (And it's handmade!)

It's a god-send for those of you who like me are starting to suffer from nuno-felting-fatigue or suffering from arthritis in your wrists, thumbs and fingers.

The Palm Tools when used with the netting that comes with each purchase will convince you that you can still nuno felt and not lose your marbles every time you think "I just can't go through all those exhausting steps......". 

I have those thoughts at least once a week.  Get a Palm Tool - whichever one works best for your method of working.  You will use it all the time and find uses for it that haven't even been invented those of use who love it and use it more and more every day.

I was making some nuno felted fabric for bags and purses and used my Palm Tools from the get-go ....... that "chore" of doing all these prep-projects is no longer a chore!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Proof - the color versatility of handpainted fibers in a roving rope

Yes, it really is the same handpainted roving, that incredible 15.5m merino that feels and acts a lot like real cashmere.  The colors are so incredible that they are as much fun to use as they are to watch transform into magic from start to finish!

The loop on the top-left is on silk dyed with eucalyptus leaves which left it a smokey ivy-green.  About 20% plain plum merino was added to the layout in addition to 10% bamboo bast fibers in contrasting colors.

The loop on the bottom-left is, YES, the same fibers but I added a hand-carded mix of 50% solid wine merino*** mixed with 50% bamboo bast accent fibers - that custom mix was added to the handpainted roving 50/50.  On silk hand-tinted WITH REAL RED ROSE PETALS.

The deep purple loop on the right has a lot more solid plum and violet merino added which pumped up the total purple-effect on medium-purple, hand-tinted silk.

All 3 loops are paper thin and extremely soft because of the 15.5 merino.  I used only one (completely different layout) layer of fibers on each fabric side.

If this doesn't convince you to get yourself some wonderful handpainted wool roving top then I don't know what will........

Give yourself a color break and let the handpainted colors do all that work for you.

***Wine, maroon, magenta, shiraz, whatever your source labels this color - it has as much variation in tone and hues as that damn purple.  Just so you know, I mixed 5 different maroon-colored commercial rovings because I only had bits and bobs left of several colors. 

I love this color - not only because it can vary greatly with pink to brown under-tones, it is one of only a few colors that are truly flattering on just about every woman no matter what age or skin tone.  (Teal is the other most flattering of all the blues & greens.)

AKA Mauve, it is one of the first dye colors discovered at the turn of the century when it made hum-drum dresses and gowns into mauve-masterpieces.