Blue Roses NunoFelt Scarf

I learned a difficult lesson today: the difference between silk and silk-feel polyester is that the former bonds with felt to form a firm fabric, while every micron of petroleum in polyester resists the process with a force much stronger than mine.

Since silk comes in so many different forms, and my experience up until now has been limited to a few scarves my mother kept in her dresser years ago and my wedding gown sewn out of dupioni silk, I wasn’t sure if the slightly artificial silky fabric I found at Goodwill this morning was actually another form of silk. After today, there is no doubt in my mind, and that bag of six scarves I bought are going right back to the store first thing tomorrow morning.

I’m so thoroughly frustrated with the scarf-gone-awry this afternoon that I can’t post any pictures right now, though I did document the entire nasty process, expecting to write a tutorial. Instead, I offer my first attempt at an inlay silk design on a nunofelt scarf.

blue_roses_scarf1.jpg

On Wednesday, my friend Caterina and I worked on nunofelting a very thin, yellow silk scarf. We tore the large square in half, and laid strips of merino across it in diagonal stripes. It was so fragile that the bare spots in between the stripes tore as we worked with it. But we noticed that the pieces covered in felt took on an interesting texture, similar to crinkle of brain tissue.

Inspired, I tore the remaining piece of felt in two again, then laid them end to end to create a rectangle more than 6′ long. Using up the last of my blue roving, I covered one whole side in a thin layer of finely drafted merino. On a whim, I laid out some circles of tussah silk sent to me in a nunofelt kit by Tracy at Copperpot (she will have these kits for sale soon in her shop).

blue_roses_scarf_back.jpg

Overall, I’m pleased with the effect though three of the roses refused to adhere to the scarf. Since I am trying to build up an inventory of twenty pieces to consign for a holiday show that opens on Saturday, I need to find a fix for the roses hanging on by a thread.

My thoughts are to sew a few sead beads in the middle, or a dyed freshwater pearl, or to embroider a single french knot with sea silk yarn, though none of these options seem appropriate for the shape of the flower. The blobs suggest roses, which have no centers. Ideas anyone?

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9 Responses to “Blue Roses NunoFelt Scarf”


  1. 1 jackie Friday, November 9, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Silk doesn’t felt but rather becomes part of the fabric when the wool fibers reach up and work its way around the silk and back into the wool to do the actual felting. The trick to keeping the silk on is to lay it on thinly enough so that the wool can grab it. Might you be able to spread the loose silk flowers a bit and put a bit of fleece under it and do some spot felting?

  2. 2 ellen kelley Friday, November 9, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Could the bead or pearl be sewn off-center so that it would look like a tiny water droplet?

  3. 3 Leigh Saturday, November 10, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Good old Goodwill. That’s where I purchase all my silk. I know you had a frustrating experience, but you’ve gained some valuable experiential knowledge, don’t you think? The scarf blue scarf, OTOH, is fabulous!

  4. 4 Ron Yamauchi Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 11:14 am

    What Ellen Kelley said. Right on the lip of the petal.

    Or, keeping the rose theme, sew them in a darker red thread that makes a spiral pattern towards the heart of the blossom.

    Congrats on your sale to Italy!

  5. 5 Kate Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    A burn test is a great friend when buying from goodwill – that silk feel polyester can be so deceptive!

    Your scarf is beautiful, and especially the unusual textures that developed. I think that they are half the joy of felting.

  6. 6 marti Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 10:24 am

    no suggestions,but they are absolutley beautiful. i hope that you had a great thanksgiving timewith your family.

  7. 7 Esther Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I wish I had read your post prior to this morning. I just had the same experience with “silk” netting. Doesn’t work at all!!!! I really thought that it wouldn’t matter, but it DOES! So I’m off to find some real silk fiber, very fine, to do my nuno felting experiments.

  8. 8 Gisela Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    To attach the part of the flowers that do not adhere, try using the very light-weight fusible “stitch witchery” or similar from a fabric shop. I purchased a roll of that material, about a 1/4 of an inch wide and snip of a small piece, sandwich it between the spaces to be fused, cover it with a pressing cloth and hit it with short bursts of steam from a steam iron until fused. Play with it! Don’t use too much fusible material!


  1. 1 SeaGreen « HomeWork Trackback on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 12:41 pm
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