Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Remember to STRETCH & SHAPE your finished nuno felt!

Finishing up your nuno felting projects to make them the best they can be takes a few minutes using tips & tricks from several sources. If you don't have access to workshops, check out the felting supply sites that have how-to sections because they often have information to help you improve your techniques & skills.
One of my latest sources for great finishing techniques is Treetops Colors Harmonies (Australia)( and their Felting Tips section including this gem:
"Always stretch your work in the fulling stage. Inbetween tossing pull the piece in all directions trying to stretch it back to size. This will give the felt better drape and encourages the fulling process."
I probably learned how to do this a long time ago and not only forgot about it, I never really knew how important and significant stretching is!

If you're making a wearable like a scarf, wrap or garment the final "drape" of the nuno felted fabric is important because it looks better, wears better and shows off the special and unique qualities of this fascinating fiber art.

All of this is done after you throw your nuno felted fabric:
1. Throw your fabric at least 25 times on a textured surface on one side, open it up, fold it up again with the other side exposed, throw another 25 times
2. Straighten out and flatten your fabric and pull out all the edges and ends
3. Dunk in soapy water so it's completely soaked through
(a) use cold water if you are using the All Cold Water Method***
(b) use warm to very hot water if you are using the heat-it-up method (which I rarely use anymore)
4. Toss your very wet fabric back on the textured surface, press down and rub it in all 4 directions (top, bottom, left, right) - this is known as Agitation
5. Pick up the fabric and pull it gently in one direction all along the length, then gently pull all along the width (this is STRETCHING)
It makes a huge difference! It even makes your ruffles "more ruffle-y."

There are times when you don't want to stretch your fabric and I learned the hard way that if you add embellishments under and/or over your fibers when you create your designs, you might "dislodge" these elements if you stretch it during the final stages.

For example, if you have added commercial or handmade yarn under or over your dry fiber layout that yarn is never as flexible as your loose fibers ----- if you stretch it, you may pull the yarn right off the fibers and fabric you worked so hard to felt into your fabric base. (I've made this mistake a lot more than once, yikes!)

Another way to think about it - if your embellishment(s) doesn't have a lot of textural "give" and flexibility it's not going to be flexible during stretching.

***Throwing, Agitation and the All Cold Water Method are covered in detail in Nuno Felting Tips & Tricks - Second Edition. These are all basic techniques you can adapt to fit your own skill level; you may not use them for every project but the more you nuno felt, the better you learn what works best for your creative process.

How to finish your projects - the wonderful, versatile, professional looking WRAPPED EDGE

You do have lots of options to finish the edges/edging on your nuno felted fabrics & I'll cover 2 of them  Today it's Wrapped Edges (one of my favorites) and please see the April 23 post on Sheila Smith's "trimmed fabric edges" technique.

There are several methods for finishing off your edges and one of my favorites is the Wrapped Edge Technique. It's a great way to get a "crisp" and/or straight edge and a perfect solution for fabric that frays easily like Cotton Harem Cloth (it hides them). It can also soften the edges and make a wearable more wearable.

I'm using Wrapped Edges for almost all my designs these days because it works so well for cotton fabrics which tend to fray constantly during the entire nuno felting process.

Wrapped Edges can also give you a much stronger and durable edging which makes perfect sense when you're making wearables that are frequently worn!

You can also use this technique on the ends - say,  - of a long scarf or shawl -  (see photo) even if you don't use it on the rest of the edges.

wrapped edges AND ends

It's easy to do - it just takes a little more time up front. The directions are for a one-fiber-sided design:
1. Extend the layout of your fibers at least 1" off the edges (and ends if you choose)
2. Wet down the fibers on fabric, remove all excess water
3. Fold over your plastic sheeting and encase the project, flip over, remove plastic on other side
4. Use your fingers or a 12-18" ruler to lift up the extended fibers and fold them over onto the fabric, press firmly OR
5. Use the plastic to fold over the edge all in one go
6. Make sure all your fabric edges are covered with fibers - add more if you need to, wet down, press***
7. Cover the project again with plastic, flip over to the fiber side
8. Use your hands, a Felting Stone or a Palm Edge Tool to lightly rub the edges for a minute or two to make sure the wrapped edges are firmly pressed into the underside.
9. Complete the Rubbing Stage and pay extra attention to the wrapped edges.

Your wrapped edges may or may not "show" in the final design - it all depends on the color of your fibers and base fabric. In the example shown here the wrapped edges melt into the dark silk so that it looks like a natural result of the nuno felting process.

On other designs, the wrapped edge may be more prominent but you can play that up by varying the design of the fabric layout on the underside. For example, you could create thin lines of fiber that extend into lines or swirls which will make the wrapped edge look like a deliberate design technique.

If you add fibers to the underside just remember to add time to the Rubbing Stage to make sure everything sticks on both sides before your proceed to Sanding (or using a Palm Washboard).

***Don't be afraid to trim your finished edges when you block your design prior to letting it dry. Wrapped Edges don't always turn out perfectly and may need to be "cleaned" up. I like to do all my trimming while the project is still wet - it allows me to check to make sure the final edges are sealed. If they aren't, I agitate those sections on a glass washboard or use a Palm Washboard or Edge Tool to make sure it's completely sealed. If the edges still don't look sealed, spritz with soapy water and use a sander, then rinse thoroughly and block again, hang to dry. (Easier to see if it's wet.)

It sounds like a lot of fussy extra work but if you don't seal your edges, the felt will eventually come undone.  Use your sander to do this - it's so fast and easy and eliminates all that additional physical effort.

FELTMAKERS NORTH - always an inspiration!

Feltmakers North

Posted: 17 Jan 2016 05:26 AM PST
Our first felt in for 2016 was very enjoyable. Despite the icy, cold weather, we had a tremendous turn out of enthusiastic feltmakers, ready to learn to learn how to make Meditative beads.
But first we had our show and tell Joanne showed us her adorable needle felted gnomes, each one with its own name, also her little sheep.
Next Donna showed us her lovely triangular bowls.
Liz brought a beautiful scarf she had made using Nancy Ballestros technique using silk hankies.
Gail modelled her fabulous hooded vest that she made at the Katia Moyeyeva

Deirdre brought along a beautiful mermaid that she had made for a porcelain sculpture.

The felt in was led by our very own Dorothy Dinsmore, who had a birthday during the week so before she could start with the session, she was surprised with a cake and a round of happy Birthday!
Everyone worked away on their nuno felt beads, embellishing as desired, while Dorothy walked round with work from various people to help inspire! She also gave us advice and encouraged us. 
By the end of the session, we all had a few beautiful beads to use for a necklace. The atmosphere was very relaxed and it was fun to see all of the beads in every shape and size.
Joanne modelling some of Dorothy's beads!
After the felt in session, six people stayed on to work on a variety of items, which we will hopefully see at the next show and tell!
Jane Fox.

Thanks to Jane for her account of our January meeting, it was tremendous fun and great to see so many people!
 Our next felt in is 20th February, so check out the diary dates for details! I am looking forward to getting some sheep and lamb photos soon for our competition, remember the closing date is not till the end of April so you have plenty of time still to enter!
I couldn't resist this close up of Shrek, I have shown photos of him before, he was the sheep who avoided being sheared for quite a few years!
Be careful in this frosty weather but keep felting and hopefully see you all soon!
Fiona Harvey.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2 BOOKS by NUNOFELTDESIGNS on faster nuno felting techniques

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