Three Rose-themed Felted Scarves

Warning: for those of you who are not passionate about the technical aspects of feltmaking, this blog post may induce drowsiness.   Do not operate heavy machinery while reading this post.

I want to share a bit about the technical differences in three scarves with similar “rose” motifs.   One of the things I love about the world-wide “community” of feltmakers is the readiness to share about our explorations in fiber.  I hope this post will help other felters.  For those who love felted art but are not felters, I hope that knowing a bit more about some technical aspects of the craft will enhance your appreciation.  First of all, here’s the “Rose Garden at Dusk” scarf:



It’s a luxuriously long nuno (fiber and silk fabric) wrap.   It measures 82 inches long by about 11 inches wide and     weighs just  over two ounces.  I wasn’t sure I could create a scarf with sculptural elements — the textural roses               twirled from my handspun yarns, and leaves and tendrils — and get these elements to meander through the silk             fabric, but by laying a very thin area of merino wool fibers at both ends of the scarf where these sculptural details           would later be arranged I was able to create a good base on which the fibers could adhere.


It’s a very sculptural piece, and can be worn in many different ways as a scarf or loose shawl or dramatically pinned to accent different aspects of the hand-dyed silk fabric (thank you, Lori Flood, for your amazing silks) or to focus on the roses and tendrils at the ends of the scarf.



This second image, left, of the same scarf photographed indoors (colors are more true in the outdoor photo, above) shows how the scarf can be transformed (I used a small, hidden pin) as well as how it drapes.  The third image shows the detail at one end of the scarf: sculptural felted wool and silk roses twirled from my hand-spun yarns, nestled on tendrils of silk fibers and fabrics and curly wool locks.  You can get a truer sense of the colors of the details by clicking on that area of the first image, above, taken outdoors.

I wanted to compare the “Rose Garden at Dusk” nuno scarf with two similar felted scarves: “Rhapsody Rose Pink” and “Rhapsody Rose Green.”

The “Rhapsody Rose Pink” scarf is a three-layer felted scarf with a mid-layer of white silk, merino and cashmere fiber that has been extended to form ruffles. The bottom layer is a soft pink, and this color influences the vanilla-hued top layer, giving the piece a soft pink tone.  It’s 72 inches long by 8 inches wide, and weighs two and three-fourths ounces.  Even though it’s almost a foot shorter than the “Rose Garden at Dusk” and is about four inches narrower, it weighs about 20% more.  Still very light-weight; still very soft because of the thinness of the layers and an abundant use of silk fiber in the mid layer and the design.


The third scarf, seen below, is “Rhapsody Rose Green.”  It’s a very pale chartreuse, and is a very light-weight felted scarf that has only two, very thin layers.  The underside layer is soft chartreuse and the top layer is a white merino/white silk blend fiber.  The soft green color is seen through the white top layer, and is very subtle.  This scarf is about 75 inches from tendril tip to tendril tip, a bit longer than the pink scarf.  It’s six inches wide and weighs just one and three-fourths of an ounce!

Conclusion: My preference for crafting a very textured, sculptural scarf with the almost weightless quality of silk fabric is a two-layer felted scarf like the “Rhapsody Rose Green” pictured above.   Why not nuno?  Because of the amount of rubbing and rolling needed to get wool fibers to migrate through silk fabric, some of the textural detail is inevitably lost in the nuno process.  But in creating a very thin, two-layer felted scarf that does not require quite the amount of “working” those fibers, I can maintain the dimensional quality of the surface design while creating a softly draping piece.  Questions?

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. GORGEOUS scarves! So, you end up with 72 – 82″ in length. What length did you start with? I am finding my two-layer scarves are shrinking about 40% in length. Am I overworking them?
    I am quite a new felter in western Canada and am sopping up as much info as I can – rather like a sponge!
    Many thanks

  2. Hi Caroline! Thank you for your comment. These floral-themed scarves are very light-weight. Since I’ve used so little fiber, and the fibers felt so readily, they did not shrink as much as a scarf needing more fiber and more agitation would shrink. I am not positive about the exact length I started with. I would guess around 8 feet. I use two, six-foot banquet tables, that are raised on 12″ or 15″ sections of PVC pipe; I arrange the tables in an L-shape, which gives me 102″ of length (72″ + 30″) for laying out longer scarves. You may be over-working your scarves. I usually use three very thin layers of fiber. Many of my lighter scarves have a mid-layer of mostly silk. I lay out wisps (shingles or tufts) of fiber for most of my scarves, although I also craft batts on my drum carder and these scarves, crafted from batts — rather than wool top or roving — are less predictable and more wildly textured. There’s so much great info online! My favorite felting book is “Uniquely Felt,” by Christine White. Her explanations and photos are easy to understand, and the book provides a wealth of info and ideas. I welcome your questions. The best way to learn how to felt is to explore, experiment, play. I sometimes do a table full of yardage to try out new things, and then cut up the yardage and make card images from the parts of the yardage that are attractive small compositions. Or I’ll use this yardage as “prefelt” for further work. Felting is magical. Enjoy!

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