Elegant Felt Scarf Instructions
ELEGANT FELT SCARF
“Gossamer felt" is the name I give to the very fine felt that can be made when a more drape-able fabric is desired for items such as scarves or shawls. The finer the fiber, the better the results, so I always use my 18.5 or 22 micron merino roving. I start by laying down a towel and placing a long bamboo blind on the towel. Since the initial measurements for laying out the fiber are 65"-72" x 8"-10", you need a long blind. I then put down a piece of nylon fabric or mosquito netting with the scarf pattern drawn on it. This enables me to ensure I get straight sides at the end. Having the fabric between the blind and the fiber also prevents the "ridging" pattern that can sometimes occur when the blind "transfers" its ridges into the felt. . Since it is vital to have mastered the art of laying very fine layers of fiber, I find it helps to split the roving lengthwise also. Pull off a couple of yards, and you will usually find that it will divide naturally lengthwise into two or three thinner strips. I then lay out three VERY fine layers of fiber -- 2 lengthwise and one crosswise between the two. I then add any design to the surface that I want. Tussah silk is a favorite. I will take the silk roving and draw it out first into thinner layers and then make designs on the surface of the wool. I carry a full range of both tussah and bombyx roving in beautifully hand-dyed colors. If used in a thin surface layer, it felts in well and has a gorgeous sheen. Using very fine wisps of silk, you can add sheen to almost anything.
I put another piece of netting over the scarf to protect my layout, then wet it down and squirt on soap gel. I rub gently in small circles using a scrunched up plastic grocery bag in my hand. Once all the fibers are fully saturated, I lift the netting and gently push the sides into alignment if they have got wisps sticking out. I rub again, this time for about 8-10 minutes, giving a little extra attention to the sides.
Then I carefully turn the whole thing over and rub the other side for another 8-10 minutes. Lift off the fabric covering, and if I think it needs it, I rub directly on the surface of the scarf using added soap gel to allow the grocery bag to glide smoothly.
When I feel it is sufficiently felted, I replace the
netting between the blind and the scarf because of the delicate nature of the
fabric. Otherwise, the blind can sometime snag the fine fabric or give it a
ridge-y look. I then full it by rolling it up in the blind, fabric and all, and
rolling firmly back and forth under my hands. Continue to squirt additional
water over the roll so that you hear a “squishing” sound as you roll back
and forth. Your wet towel underneath will give your blind some traction.
Roll about 100 times back and forth and then unroll the blind and re-roll
it from the opposite end. Roll
again another 100 rolls. I do this
several times from each end, checking often to make sure it doesn't get
too stiff or get creases it in during the rolling. I just full enough to
reach the desired size, and I rarely "throw" the fine felt. I then
rinse it and press it with the steam iron to keep it in shape. The result...a
wonderfully soft, but warm and elegant scarf.
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