Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Nuno Felting and Depth of Colors - Part 1

The fiberarts or textile arts refer to the medium or materials used to create the object.  It also refers to the method which can be a weave with a warp and weft as well as materials (fiber or other) that are linked together similar to a weave.

Nuno felting is the combination of a base fabric with fibers as they felt through and become permanently attached to this fabric.  You can't have one without the other and end up with nuno felt.

COLOR:  Felting on fabric allows you to play with color and color effects using the fabric alone, the fibers (and embellishments) alone or the combination of the two.

Because felting occurs as the fibers, through agitation, lock onto each other and shrink (40% to 50%), this also has a profound effect on the final color.

Add the base fabric, which does not shrink but puckers and folds along with the shrinking fibers, you end up with a kind of "double color effect" that only occurs with nuno felting.  Each one has an effect on the other.

You have countless opportunities that you just do no have in other fiberart techniques to make the final colors results "sing" with variations and depth of color that are so fascinating and in the end make nuno felted fabrics so appealing.

You can use solid colors or handpainted, spiral colored fibers or combinations of wools with other non-felting fibers (silk, bamboo, flax, etc) to play your colors up or down, add depth and texture......the possibilities are endless.

These 2 nuno felted scarves are a quick example of  "color play" based on the colors in the handpainted merino roving paired with silk gauze in 2 different colors:  Tangerine silk base fabric on the left and Lime Green  silk base fabric on the right.  Same roving!

The "color effect" is obvious.  Oranges and yellows pop on the left, the lime greens and yellows pop pn the right.

NEXT:  The easiest way to get a strong COLOR EFFECT or COLOR POP.

Friday, September 2, 2016


teal on Paj silk
Layering color on color is one of the most creative and satisfying results of the nuno felting technique but is also UNIQUE to nuno felting.

You can call it the most "bang for your buck" but there's a lot more to it than that.

Whether you are producing to sell, doing it along with other fiberart techniques, or are doing it as an artistic expression, you want to take full advantage of getting the most out of the hours of labor you put into it.

You also want to produce the kind of results that keep you engaged with the technique.  It takes hours of experience and familiarity with the characteristics of all kinds of fibers and fabrics to hone in on what will give you the best results you can get and get there a little faster and with more consistency.  Do not give up!

WHY NOW?  My focus on color and how to get great results WITH COLOR comes from spending the last several months selling hundreds of nuno felted scarves, loops and wraps directly to customers in dozens of shows, events and farmer's markets in NoCal - a very special situation since I get to meet, demonstrate and show my work as well as get instant feedback on what my customers love about nuno felting.

There is nothing better than getting all these wonderful reactions to and real appreciation of all this hard work!

What they LOVE MOST are the colors!  both fibers and fabric.

WAIT......THERE's MORE!  See you next week....................................................

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2 BOOKS by Nunofeltdesigns - now on sale!


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 Amazon.com***:
*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


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BEST WORKTABLE for nuno felting now on sale at Joann.com

Hobby Table
You know I've recommended this lots of times but you might want to have a look if you are planning to continue to nuno felt on a regular basis, or need a worktable that is the perfect height for standing.

Joann.com calls it the Sew Essentials Home Hobby Table, reg price $149 now $112.  Shipping is $14 (not bad) inside the US.

They don't have it in their stores, you have to order it online.

I just had to get a new one since my original model was more than 15 years old and has barely lived through the 5 apartment moves I have had in the last 4 years.  It works but most of the wheels are knocked out of joint and all the edges are looking a little frayed-----------so in order to make my day, here comes the new one!!!

There are very few worktables like this that allow you to stand which is an essential position when you nuno felt (without spending over $1000).  

You need to be both comfortable and have the freedom to move around the table while you work.

It will also allow me to set up a workshop for giving individual and "for 2" workshops starting in January 2017.

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Humidity & Heat affect your nuno felting processes

It's that time of year again and it's even more relevant to me since I recently MOVED (oh yes, again) to a town that has high summer temps and very low humidity about 6 months of the year.

Many of us, especially in California, live in homes and apartments that don't have central heating and air conditioning so the condition of our environments can have a critical impact on our ability to do felting and nuno felting.

A few of the problems - your fibers dry out and pull away from the fabric throughout the process OR your fibers and fabrics give off so much static electricity that you can't get anything to stay in place!

I am generally referring to temps above 80 and humidity at 40% and below.  The dry heat in the air combined with extremely low humidity means that, if you make a few adjustments to how you work, you can get around these conditions.

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time and have both books, you know something about my nuno felting process.  I have made HUGE CHANGES based on my environment over the past year.  I continue to make adjustments as needed but the final result is that it now takes from 30-50% more time to complete any nuno felting project because I need to add many more steps to the process.

More details are coming but these are the major changes:
1.  use 30% more soapy water to wet down my project (using the essential weed sprayer)
2.  use the Palm Washboards (round and edger) on top of my window screen covered wet project before turning it over to lay fibers on the other side
3.  do the same with the Palm Washboards on the other side (screens still on top)
4.  spend 30-40% more time on the hands-rubbing process that always ends with using the Palm Washboards (this is on top of soapy wet plastic that encases the project)
5.  remove plastic, lay out my design on the solar pool cover and roll in all directions (100 times) to "fix" the fibers even more
6.  double the time and effort on sanding.

On top of these changes, please note that my projects are soaking wet - so wet that I often blot up the excess water that oozes out during each step.

I also SAND WITHOUT ANY TOWEL underneath the project and use the sander DIRECT ON THE SUPER-SOAKED project.  (Also requires blotting up the excess water.)

While that may sound like I've lost my mind, my sander acts just the same and it is as if the excess water is not there---------if you are nervous about trying this out, just have someone with you to make sure it all goes ok.  You will get used to it.

I also increase the number of THROWS depending on how things look when I get to that stage.

There are even more tricks in the bag working in these kinds of conditions ---- because my production has increased 50% and going up more each month with increasing store orders.  Frankly, I had to adapt to my environment or give up nuno felting.


can't live without it!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Making a Triangle Shape for your nuno felted scarf

I love the extended one-end of this triangle pattern-----it makes a lot of sense when you see how lovely it drapes with those additional inches.

Trying this out today!

New post on feltingandfiberstudio

Triangle Nuno Scarf

I saw a Knit triangle Scarf that looked interesting and though I could do that with nuno felt.

If you would like to knit it her is the link. it is available in several languages. http://alpis-farbenrausch.blogspot.ca/p/strickanleitunen.html
I wasn't sure of the finished length but I was thinking about 6 feet.  I cut a piece of silk 4ft by 8 ft. and then cut that corner to corner to make 2 scarves.
I cut the slits first, inserting resists to make sure they holes stayed open.
triangle scarf 3
The first layer of wool was one of my own batts that I split in to thin layers.
triangle scarf 1
Then more colours, well shades of purple mostly
triangle scarf 4
then I address some silk top and throwster's waste. Mostly purples again and I used some turquoise for pop.
triangle scarf 5
6 feet seems to be the right length. I think you could do it a bit smaller if you wanted or if you are petite.
scarf 2scarf1
All in all I am very pleased with it. I may iron the folds in to it but I haven't decided yet. I will add a picture on the mannequin a little later. I don't want you all to be waiting for the post, thinking I have forgotten about you.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Can't live without my weedsprayer!

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.

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)(http://treetopscolors.com.au) 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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Solar Pool Cover - what works best - when to replace

Yes, I still use solar pool cover even though my sander does the work that hundreds of rolls used to do.

I use it:
1.  bubbles up for laying out my project
2.  bubbles up for the Rubbing Stage
3.  bubbles up (sometimes) for spot-sanding
4.  some rolling if the design is complicated or multi-layered.

I also use it as a "cushion" (smooth side up) when I do all my sanding ----and this is without any towel underneath!!!  (more on that in another post)

So the stuff does eventually wear out.  I do work it to death.......but when see it start to "buckle" unevenly or the bubbles feel "sharp to the touch" or fibers are sticking to the bubble side because they get snagged on the rough edges................time to replace it.

I have always ordered mine from http://poolsupplies.com in Tonawanda NY (near where I grew up) because they still sell (thank heavens) the Clear Round Bubble 16mil thick Solar Pool Cover in a 4' by 8' sheet which is the perfect size for 90% of my projects.  When it comes, I cut it in half lengthwise and use the 2 pieces until I wear them out again.

For the old covers I cut them up into smaller pieces so that I can do smaller projects and use them for all kinds of spot-sanding and dozens of other tricks.

The Cover is $24.95 but you do have to pay $10.95 handling (shipping free) because, as you will see when it arrives at your door, it looks like a rolled up rug.........you are paying for the odd over-size.

ITEM #459275

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Which Soap for Nuno Felting?

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.