Wednesday, July 30, 2014

October Workshop by Nunofeltdesigns - Watch Here for Enrollment in the 10/18/14 Class

Make Your Own Loop using a Sander

MAX 10 STUDENTS!  Please note that if the enrollment exeeds this limit that I will arrange for more workshops this Fall in and around the same area.

NOTE:  You will get a Materials List once you sign up.

How to Make Your Own Infinity Loop
Sat. Oct 18 Noon to 4 PM
Petaluma Arts Center
Petaluma CA - $70
12 noon - 4 PM (4 hour session)
(42 miles north of San Francisco)

Much more than making a loop will be covered including using a Palm Washboard and sander, the two layer-technique, and how to get the most out of your fiber and fabric colors.

The class is for students with some felting experience because it focuses on completing a loop scarf (two-sided design) in about one hour using the tools I'll be bringing to class. You also need to bring your own supplies.

Blog Readers from the Wonderful World of Nuno Felting

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nuno Felting with Nicola Brown - Feltmakers North

Nicola Brown, the most talented and delightful nuno felting instructor is at it again at Feltmakers North - don't we all wish we could be there....
Nicola is asked to teach all over the world and travels extensively throughout the US every year - if you do get a chance to take one, you will truly learn great technique, terrific shortcuts and see for yourself how unique and thoughtful she is in all of her work.
Nicola has been focusing on Eco-Dying for a couple of years and I have yet to see anyone else take it to the level that she has.  Check out her Clasheen blog and sign up for email updates; check the site often for workshop schedules.  She adds new workshops all the time.

Posted: 28 Jul 2014 02:08 AM PDT

 Nicola Brown came to Feltmakers North and inspired and taught us some new techniques! Our first workshop with Nicola was making a nuno scarf. At the start of the day we had an introduction to the technique, and we all couldnt wait to get started! Nicola had brought some of her wraps and scarves, which helped us visualise the end product. 
Decisions being made as to what size and shape the final piece would be!
Laying out the fibres.
Now girls less chat and more work!
This wrap is going to have a pattern on both sides, so the pattern goes down then the silk is laid on top.
Nicola Brown and Jayne enjoying the day!
Barbara getting help to put her net on top.
Fiona rolling some fibres to add as decoration.
Looking good.
Lovely colours.
Stretching a silk hankie to add texture to Leah's design.

Some of the finished scarves being modelled by there makers, after they had been finished in the tumble drier!
We had tremendous fun learning from Nicola, who is a very generous and knowledgeable tutor. I will post the photos and info for the second workshop next week so watch for more great photos!
I would like to thank Dympna and Gail for taking photos for me, it was such a help as it meant I could keep working at my felt!
Fiona Harvey

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

BOOKS Print & Digital Editions 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 15, 2014

Jenny Hill's Video - make the Palm Washboard work for you! Faster nuno felting - part 1

RE-POST:  I'm repeating this post to set the scene for the next series of posts about HOW TO NUNO FELT FASTER and get the most out of your PALM WASHBOARD.

Jenny Hill's video which takes 30 mins. to view in its entirety inspired me to use my Palm Washboard the way she does and cut my Rubbing Stage ordeal (it take so much time and effort!) in half.

(I still use a sander which Jenny does not, at least not in this video...) but it clearly shows that you can nuno felted faster WITHOUT a sander if you have no desire to use one or you don't have the right sander at hand. 

Jenny's great technique shows that we can all learn to adapt the process to the way we work and choose to use a variety of long as the results are successful.

Nuno felting remains labor-intensive but you do have a lot of flexibility to make it less labor-intensive so you can enjoy the process and start experimenting more with fabrics, fibers, and color combinations.

WHILE VIEWING THE VIDEO:  Note her mention of OpulentFibers, her ingenious use of a weed killer-sprayer- see?  it does not dislodge all those layers of dry fibers, wow! --- and her use of the Palm Washboard from the start.  (With the microfiber net that comes with all the washboard tools from

Jenny also uses about 10x the amount of soap that I do, but it just proves that each nuno felter has their own methods for achieving great results.  It works for her.

I do know from years of experience that throughout the last 10 minutes of the video it's clear that Jenny knows by touch and feel just what stage she's reached in the process --- she handles with full knowledge of what needs to be done to complete it. 

That knowledge and "close communication with your felting fibers" comes with a lot of practice, lots of mistakes and taking the leap to adapting the technique to FIT YOU and your style for working.  Make nuno felting work for you, not the other way around!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Your Color Palette - Try Handpainted Fibers

Nuno felting is about color first, textures second. 

Color because the fibers shrink 40% from start to finish and always end up looking much richer, deeper, and more saturated.

Color-picking isn't all that simple because you need to choose both your fiber colors and the color of your base fabric.

I've written extensively about color in the blog and in the books, so this is a refresher.

What's so wonderful about this infinity loop is that I used 3 kinds of fibers (bamboo, tencel and merino) and used all HANDPAINTED FIBERS from 4 different sources purchased from 4 different fiber-dyers.

If you saw my pile of dry fibers before I did the layout, you would have thought it's going to be a color disaster at the end............but every one had some lime green in it and that's what I matched to the lime green of the silk fabric base.

That's why it works.

If you try handpainted fibers, merino only, BFL, mixed merino/tencel, merino/silk, or merino/bamboo ----------- it makes it so much easier to get a big "color punch" when you match at least one of the fiber colors EXACTLY to the color in your fabric base.

SECRET:  I dyed the silk gauze (4.5m) with Tulip's Lime Green powdered dye from  Love this color!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Techniques - Finishing Your Edges - the WRAPPED EDGE

Lots of 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 & 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. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tips - Changing Your Water Temps While Nuno Felting

If you are trying out nuno felting for the first time or are making another attempt it helps to know how important it is to use the right water temps for every step of the process.

I use the All Cold Water Method from start to finish and only use hot water for the Agitation and Stretching last-stages for very select fiber combos or when working with predominantly white fibers.

Cold water has, for me, been a lot less damaging to my nuno felted fabrics, but it also leaves me with just enough room to make minor adjustments if any of the steps need to be re-done.

Be extra careful when you change your water temps:

If you use hot water at any time during nuno felting it's even more important to take extra care with water temps. Changing your water temps abruptly at any stage may create too much of a "shock" to the fibers and fabric and alter your results.

Any nuno felted fabric that's been immersed in hot water should be left to cool to room temp before you use cold water.

For example, if you use hot water for the Agitation and Stretching stages, let your nuno felted fabric sit for a bit to return to room temp before you rinse it in cool to cold water.

If you use warm water to rinse your project, make sure you don't suddenly switch to very hot or ice cold water - gradually increase or decrease the water temp instead.

You'll be much happier with the results.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Choice of Soaps - Olive Oil or Dawn Liquid?

What soap to use for nuno felting is already covered in the NFT&T Tips & Tricks Book, but it's taken on a new significance for me since my hands turned to sandpaper this winter.

Part of the problem was the constant immersion in soapy water for several hours a day, but the other tolls were the cold weather and my move to a new place ------- all the packing and cleaning on top of a crazed felting schedule turned my hands into liabilities. It even became impossible to complete a fiber layout without half the fibers sticking to my hands.....

Oh, and there's that pesky problem of the older you get, the more your skin dries out...

Using all kinds of hand lotions and special balms helps but the best thing to do if you are using one kind of soap for felting is to switch to Olive Oil Soap.

Most US felters use Dawn dishwashing liquid because it has few additives and leaves little to no soap residue. It's my favorite.

Dawn produces soap bubbles so it's easy to judge if I made a mistake and added too much to my wetting-down water. If you add too much soap it inhibits the first stages of the nuno felting process because your fibers actually get too slippery to migrate through your fabric base.

Olive Oil Soap does not foam or bubble at all so it takes a bit to get used to using it once you make the switch. Most European felters swear by this soap and never use anything else.

It truly is not only kind to your hands but will restore moisture to your hands and the more you use it, the less work you have to do looking for other remedies.

1. Fill your wetting-down container with water first
2. Add your soap and swish it into the water with your hand or a spoon - if using Dawn, try not to produce soap bubbles --- it makes it harder to see what you're doing through all that mess
3. How much soap you use - both Dawn and/or Olive Oil Soap - depends on your water temp, your fibers and fabric, and what kind of water you have - hard or soft.

Adjust the amount of soap you use as needed ---- I have extremely hard water and need to use just a scant teaspoon of Dawn for 2 gallons cold water.

With Olive Oil Soap I have to add 1/2 cup to the same amount of water.

You can buy Olive Oil Soap in liquid form at 3x the price of the soap in blocks.

I use a cheese slicer to flake off the soap and dilute it in hot water in a jar with a lid, shake and use once it's completely dissolved. Just reshake every time you use it.

Smells wonderful and it is so much kinder to your hands - even if you just switch to it temporarily until you return to your favorite "other" soap.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Patterns for Nuno Felted Garments - Suzanne Morgan UK

Many of you have sent me notes over the last few weeks asking about making nuno felted garments.  You'll love Suzanne Morgan's blog and do read on because she is a wonderful and very talented artisan. 

From her blog:  Things I've learned lately........

Nuno Felting Patterns are Coming Soon!
I am developing a line of patterns for making nuno garments. My first pattern will be done soon, I am working on the instructions. Exciting! Here is a link to my pinterest page where you can find examples of the pieces that have been made with the pattern so far