The class was at an alpaca farm out in Elizabeth, Colorado, which meant we drove an hour into the middle of nowhere until we found this place:
The instructor, Samantha, showed us around her enviable craft room (a converted barn) and some sample scarves. We'd be learning the nuno felting technique, a method of making lighter weight felt using a gauzy fabric. Silk, in our case. Samantha pulled out bags and bags of precut silk panels until Rachel and I selected our base fabrics.
We laid them out on long pieces of bubble wrap, then picked out some roving to decorate:
Once we set our designs, we covered the scarves with this green mesh cloth and wet them with soapy water:
Rachel started the felting process on some of her embellishments with this handy wooden scrubber:
Then we rolled up the scarves around pool noodles and loaded them in the rolling machine:
The machine rolled the scarves for us, stopping every four minutes or so to unroll and then re-roll the scarves to change up the friction:
After about a dozen stop-and-starts (and a homemade chicken salad lunch, which was included with the class), we slimed the scarves with olive oil soap:
which made them nice and foamy when we put them back in the rolling machine:
After a few more rounds of rolling and flipping, we put the scarves in buckets and pulled out some good old-fashioned washboards:
By working them over on the washboard we could complete the felting and add crinkles to the fabric, one section at a time. By the end, my scarf looked like this:
Finally, we rinsed out the soap and Samantha ironed the scarves:
And voila! We each had our own silk-and-wool scarf:
I liked how they turned out. Rachel's zig-zag gave it a much more pronounced ruffle, reminding us both of Victorian undergarments (ooh la la!), while my more wispy patterns produced a more organic-looking final product. A fun product and an even more fun outing with my sister, even if both of us were too diseased to be properly social.