Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blending Board Workshop at WCMercantile

A great tool for blending your fibers so that you get a great sense of what you fibers and colors will look like felted!

The BEST Little Wool Shop in TEXAS!
Floating Pallettes

Floating Pallettes: Blending Board Fiber Preparation Techniques

by Diana North, FeistyFenn Fibers

Hone your fiber palette and explore a variety of fiber preparation techniques. In this class, participants will experiment with five different fiber techniques on a blending board. Samples from each of the five techniques will then be spun up to compare how they affect the finished yarn. A hackle station and a felting station will also be available for participants to rotate through during the day in between working on the blending board. Participants will receive five ounces of fiber and are encouraged to bring an extra four ounces of their own fiber (top, locks, sparkle, silk etc.) to play with on the hackle. These fibers are fun to spin and make a wonderful funky felt!

Prerequisites: Basic spinning skills, if you want to spin your samples.

Please bring the following: Four ounces of fiber to play with (top, locks, sparkle, silk etc.), a blending board if you have one, a spinning wheel if you want to spin.

Date: Saturday June 13th, 2015
Time: 10:30am-4:30pm

One class, $75

ECOPRINTING from the wonderful Flextiles Blog

New post on Flextiles

Ground control with Irit Dulman

Last week I headed back to the wonderful Atelier Fiberfusing run by Dorie van Dijk, just outside Amsterdam. I love the space and relaxed atmosphere (as well as the food) that Dorie has created here.
Previous workshops I've attended here have been with felters Andrea Graham and Lisa Klakulak. This time I was there for a workshop with Irit Dulman, one of the leading experts in ecoprinting with natural dyes.
If you've followed my experiments over the years, you'll know that my ecoprinting has had mixed results, so I was hoping to get some advice on how to get consistently clear prints on different types of fabric.
The first thing Irit got us to do was to investigate which leaves gave colour on their own, and which contained tannin that reacted with iron to give prints. Some had one or the other, some had both, and some had none! By using the same leaves in both bundles, we could compare results.
first bundles
Laying out leaves before bundling
first bundles result
Bundles unwrapped
Peony leaves gave good colour without further treatment
Peony leaves gave good colour without further treatment
Geranium and rhus leaves reacted well with iron
Geranium and rhus leaves reacted well with iron
These bundles were boiled in water, but we then moved on to using dyebaths of logwood and onion skins, with different methods of applying iron.
Silk with geranium and eucalyptus leaves dyed with onion skins
Silk with geranium and eucalyptus leaves dyed with onion skins
Various bundles dyed with onion skin or logwood
Various bundles dyed with onion skin or logwood
Over the following three days we built on these techniques, steaming bundles rather than boiling them, printing first and then overdyeing, or dyeing first and then overprinting. The dyes we used were madder, weld and indigo - an indigo fructose vat, which I've not used before, smells very different from a hydrosulphite vat!
Casuarina on silk
Casuarina on silk
Cow parsley on silk
Cow parsley on silk
The dye station
The dye station
Eucalyptus buds
Eucalyptus buds
The indigo vat
The indigo vat
Lovely leaf outlines
Lovely leaf outlines
Maple leaves on velvet
Maple leaves on velvet
Cowparsley print overdyed with weld
Cowparsley print overdyed with weld
I printed my first garment - a silk top from a charity shop - and then overdyed it with madder.
After printing with rhus (sumac) leaves
After printing with rhus (sumac) leaves
After overdyeing with madder
After overdyeing with madder
We also experimented with creating "negative prints", using the leaves as a resist.
negative 1
negative 2
negative 3
negative 4
As you can see, we covered an awful lot in four days - sometimes it felt like a never-ending round of bundling and steaming! And Irit was endlessly patient, generous and kind, staying late to steam all the bundles so they would be ready to open the next day.
All in all, a fantastic workshop that has motivated me to continue experimenting and make more of natural dyes in combination with ecoprinting!
group shot
Flextiles | 28 May 2015 at 1:40 pm | Tags: ecoprinting, indigo, Irit Dulman,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Webinar with Felt-Artist Jean Gauger sponsored by FiberArt Now Mag this Sunday May 31

Please note that if you sign up you will get a confirmation email with the link to open on Sunday the 31st to view the Webinar.

DHG Italy is sponsoring this event; you can go to their site and click on the UK flag in the upper right corner to see it in English - they DO NOT ship direct to customers in the US but sell through stores; contact them for their retail outlets.  

Their stuff is the top of the line and there's lots of interesting info on the site about high fashion felting.  

Fiber-Art-Now-fanfare-logos-aqua-1 Join us for programs that connect the contemporary fiber arts & textiles community with compelling artists & authors.

Join us Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 Eastern for an awesome interview with prolific and creative felt maker, Jean Gauger! Register Here

FAN Fare is a free, online, interactive, web show devoted to inspiring and connecting the fiber arts community. Every month, FAN Fare will give viewers the opportunity to actively participate in the program and ask questions while watching the live show. Our host, Cami Smith, has been involved with Fiber Art Now since it first started. She has been building the FAN community and connecting with artists and authors for three years. Now she will connect us with some of the happenings, views, and news that she has discovered. Her natural ability to engage people makes her the perfect host for FAN Fare!

How to Participate

There are two ways you can enjoy FAN Fare: either by joining the live program or watching it later, at your convenience.
1. Attend the FAN Fare program. Watch live, and use the chat or question box to follow along with the conversation of the other viewers. You will be able to participate with questions or comments.
2. Watch the recorded episode. Check back here to see our archived episodes for topics of interest, and watch as many as you like. Archives will appear on this page.
too!Jean Gauger FANFARe


Thank you to our generous sponsors, Dyeing House Gallery (DHG)! Home of luxury fibers!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blog Reader Question - Can I Add to "Done" Nuno Felt?

Such a great question from a blog reader:
Hi Nancy, Can I ask your advise?
I recently made a nuno felt scarf with hand painted merino and silk.
I only put the wool on one side and I was wondering if I could now also add wool to the other side or will this over-felt the wool I have already fulled?

The answer is yes, you will overfelt the completed side of the fabric if you now add fibers to the other side and take it through all the steps.

Even if you take great care not to touch the first side, it will be affected by the migrations of the NEW fibers on the other side and will also be affected by the additional throwing and agitation that you always complete at the end of the process.

If you always use hot water in the last stages instead of the All Cold Water Method (in the book) the "overfelting" of the first side will be even more dramatic.

To rescue the first design, since you can't add fibers to it without overfelting the first side, you could add stitching or embroidery (machine or by hand).  Or add beading or hot-fix gems/studs.  If you've done some fabric painting you can paint the non-fiber side but be sure to use fabric paints, they are much softer when dry.

(You can always cut it up and use it for other projects.)
NOTE:  Some nuno felters actually work very hard to OVERNUNOFELT their designs -- they like the over-felted, dense and densely puckered-base-fabric effect.  While this is usually not ok to do with a wearable (because you can end up with a surface that is harsh and scratchy) it might be perfectly ok for some other use such as a wall hanging/artwork or textural embellishment.

You can always experiment - I've experienced lots of problems and mishaps with nuno felt and find that I can usually adapt it to whatever it becomes in the end, which is another one of the delights of this fiberart technique!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cormo Wool Roving from

The details about this fiber are very interesting because it's quite different from the Cormo Roving that I have purchased in the past which I use primarily for making felted shapes like vases and bowls.  Great for bags and purses too.  Really holds its shape.

Apple Rose Farm sells Cormo Roving in colors and it looks to me like they process these fibers with a lot of pride and care - plus the prices are pretty darn good.

Another change to support the small sheep farmers who are putting out such lovely products for felters to use!

From their site:

Custom Cormo Roving

Cormo Sheep produce a fine white fleece with a micron count of 17 - 24. Our Cormo fleece is hand dyed custom colors and processed into wonderful soft, bouncy roving that is brings life to your projects.

Cormo Roving is excellent for spinning into fine lace weight yarn. It will produce a yarn with strength and memory. You have to see a spider like yarn spun with Cormo Roving made into a shawl...breath taking.

Cormo Roving is excellent for felting it performs much like Merino in needle felting or wet felting projects. Our Cormo Roving makes great light weight wall hangings and thin sheets of felted yardage for making custom clothing. The project retains a softer feel when Cormo Roving is used. However, the Cormo Roving makes up into a good strong project that holds it shape.

Cormo Roving is used by doll makers because of the nice texture and life like features they can construct. There are many Cormo dolls lovingly made and given to very young children as their first toy. We have many colors of Cormo Roving available for your special project.
Cormo Roving is used by doll makers because of the nice texture and life like features they can construct. There are many Cormo dolls lovingly made and given to very young children as their first toy. We have many colors of Cormo Roving available for your special project.

Cormo Roving spins into a baby soft yarn praised for it's use in high quality baby clothes. A layette that includes Cormo garments is a priceless gift for the new mom. What an outstanding way to express how special that new baby is to you by using the finest Cormo Roving and your artistic skill.

Cormo Roving makes comfortable, next to the skin softness for sweaters you really want to wear. Cormo Roving does NOT make itchy yarn like some of the other fine fibers. You can knit up a worsted weight, bulky weight or sport weight and ply it to meet your needs. Some of our customers who buy Cormo Roving like to ply it with Mohair, Angora or Alpaca to keep the soft, strong quality to their yarn. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2 BOOKS on FASTER & BETTER Nuno Felting Techniques by Nunofeltdesigns

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


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Finishing Best Practices - THE WRAPPED EDGE

Several regular blog readers have been writing to ask about how best to "finish off the edges of my nuno felt so it looks professional."

You do have lots of options to finish the edges/edging on your nuno felted fabrics but a very easy and professional method is to use the Wrapped Edge.

I use this on just about all my nuno felt projects especially scarves including infinity loops.  It not only makes a great, finished edge, it cuts down on the time you have to take when laying out your fibers on the second side - if you have decided to cover both sides of your base fabric.

The Wrapped Edge is essential if you are using Cotton Voile or Cotton Harem Cloth (both can be purchased from Dharma Trading) because the cotton fabrics fray like crazy and look terrible if you don't cover them (or sew on a rolled edge).

The Wrapped Edge usually makes a wearable much more comfortable as well.


When you lay out your fibers to cover the first side of your fabric, extend the fibers 1/2 to 1 inch over the edges.  Wet down, cover with plastic, turn it over, use your hands, a ruler, or the plastic itself to lift those excess fibers, fold them over and press them into the other side of your fabric.  Coax out all the puckers and folds because you want your edges to be smooth - not bumpy lumpy.

TIP:  I then cover my project again (whether or not I have added fibers to the second side) with the plastic and use my fingertip to press down just on the wrapped edges.  I also use the EDGE TOOL to go over the edges 5-6 times.  It really does make a difference to pay extra attention -------- you will get smooth and lovely edges that look and feel great!

wrapped edges AND ends

Monday, May 4, 2015

SANDERS - Safety Tips and how best to use the new models


This is a great question from a blog reader - if you are buying a sander for the first time or replacing your worn-out model, please be aware that most NEW sanders come with a "pipe at the back" right underneath the handle where you attach a "bag to collect the dust from sanding."  (In fact, it's hard to find a portable sander without it.)

Starting in 2014 most tool makers stopped making 1/3rd sheet sanders (the perfect size for us) and are only making small 1/4 sheet sanders (usually labelled PALM) with this pesky  dust-collector attachment.

No fear  --- you CAN USE THESE SANDERS without a problem, just NEVER ATTACH a bag to them.  NEVER.

The "vacuum suction" through the holes in the plate of the sander WILL NOT WORK or suck in any water if you DO NOT ATTACH a bag.  The suction only works if you attach a bag.

The only problem you will have with this kind of sander is when you press it on your wet nuno felted fibers.  It will often leave a "impression of a hole" but that has no impact whatsoever on what a SANDER CAN DO FOR YOU.  (Any impressions left by the sander plate will disappear during Throwing and Agitation.)

"DO I NEED TO COVER THE HOLES IN THE SANDER PLATE?"  No, you don't need to.  Don't attach any collection bag and there is NO SUCTION.  

10 years ago when felters discovered that sanders were sent from heaven most sanders had metal plates.  NEW SANDERS HAVE DENSE PLASTIC PLATES.  (It used to be that we were told to glue a thick smooth plastic cut to size for old-metal-plate sanders but I would NEVER EVER USE A SANDER WITH A METAL PLATE.)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nuno Felting with COTTON - Tips & Tricks

I've been getting a lot of emails asking how to work with cotton fabrics.  Here's a review.

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 
lightweight cotton blends with at least 80% cotton content

Friday, April 3, 2015

Water Your Nuno Felt - the essential, incredible WEED SPRAYER!

Another tool made in heaven for felters and nuno felters.

I am so attached to mine that I include it in my bag of cannot-live-without tools --- what the heck did I do before this wonderful thing???

TIPS:  Use only cold water in it and add the usual amount of soap for nuno felting.  If you are making shapes, double up on the amount of soap; really soapy water makes it so much easier to press your fibers over a resist (both flat and Gertie Balls) and get the fibers to felt faster.

TRICKS:  After several uses, the Sprayer may get gummed up with all that soap residue.  To clean it, unscrew the tube from the tank, unscrew the spray-wand and soak those 2 in warm water with a dollop of white vinegar.

You can tell it needs cleaning when you have to pump it up forever to get a decent, consistent spray.  (I have to clean mine a couple of times a month.)

WHICH SPRAYER TO BUY:  Once you've used this, you'll never go back to your old method.  Spend at least $25 on the "better" models; the really cheap ones don't last long and aren't worth it at any price.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015's new tool - the FLASHFELTER

A new tool the FLASHFELTER is available from  Please go to the site for more information.  

It appears that you would need to use this tool in a straight line  (up and down, back and forth) as opposed the the Palm Washboard (from HeartFeltSilks) that you rotate over the surface in circles.

(I also use HeartFeltSilks EDGE TOOL on everything I felt including my bowls and vases which is also used primarily in a straight line.  Because the Edge Tool has protrusions that continue up the sides of the tool, it has a lot of flexibility that you will discover the more you use it.)

In the description of this new tool the Woolery says it can be used in lieu of a glass washboard.  (I also use the glass washboard to shape all my felted vessels because it works fast and efficiently for firming up the sides, bottom and edges of shapes and saves me lots of time and physical effort.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Silk Hankies - add color, it's easy!

silk hankies
SILK HANKIES are suddenly popular again as a way to add silk color and texture to nuno felt and felt ---- they were all the rage about 10-12 years ago but I never learned how best to use them.  Many of the most accomplished  nuno felters use them to add a silk-sheen and intense color to their designs (often in a way that you cannot tell they have been added unless you have used Silk Hankies yourself).....

You can stretch and pull them (each hankie is paper thin) and either leave on the rolled edges (which add texture but are a bit tricky to work with) or cut them off.

I am in the middle of making lots of bowls, pots, vases and vessels for the coming Farmer's Market season which starts in the middle of April.  Everyone loves my felted bowls which completely sold out during the holidays.

I'm using all kinds of fibers and mixed fibers including Churro (my current favorite), Icelandic, Finnish, Maori and Bergshaf (the last 3 from Opulent Fibers) all in their "natural" state and colors but that started to get a little boring (even with added bamboo and silk fibers) I finally located my stash of SILK HANKIES and knew they would add both color and texture to my felted shapes without a lot of fuss and muss.
Churro Wool with Silk Hankies & Bamboo
If you're making felted shapes (including bracelets and necklaces), silk hankies are fabulous.  They felt easily and quickly into and stick to the kinds of fibers listed above which are very rough and long-stapled and grab on to everything you add to them.

I wasn't a big fan of SILK HANKIES and was kind of ho-hum about them but now I finally learned how wonderful they can be!
You can see how "hairy" Churro Wool is and this is after I've already trimmed both the inside and outside with my "can't-live-without" embroidery scissors.  (Many felters use a razor to shave their finished shapes but I think it removes too much of the natural character of the fibers.)