Nunofelted Curtains

As the spring flowers start to bloom in the garden, I know warmer seasons are on their way and then end of scarf season in the Western hemisphere is nearly upon us (I’m counting on the Australians to keep my scarf business alive through mid-August).

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I ordered a bolt of silk chiffon from Dharma Trading after making this scarf in a fantastic class at Space to Create. We used a soy-wax resist to create designs on handpainted silk scarves; taught by Cameron Mason, an eminent fiber artist, this is a great class for anyone in the greater Seattle area (sign up for their mailing list to hear about the next session). Cameron provided us with two silk scarves for the class, and naturally my mind started to think about what I could do with a larger piece of silk. The idea of making delicate window coverings started to float around in my brain.

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My fabric order arrived on Tuesday in the middle of the felted egg activity, and by late Tuesday afternoon I finished my first curtain. I drafted small strips of handpainted roving and laid them across the width of the silk, then scattered some cutouts from my scrap basket. Some of the shapes were trimmed to be vaguely leaf shaped, but most were just triangles and random bits of felt in shades of dark blue and green. It took very little work to get the wool fibers to penetrate through the silk. A single wide hem along the top was enough for a simple cafe curtain rod.

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This small south-facing window is right above my desk, looking out into the backyard. Around noon, the winter sun shines in at just the right angle to blind me when I’m working on the computer, so a small sheer curtain is crucial for this window. Once the first silk curtain was finished, I wondered what would happen if I nunofelted the old curtain that was in the window.

Have you ever bought standard cotton curtains from IKEA? They are usually sold in 98″ lengths so they can be cut to size at home. We have at least four sets of these curtains in our house, and none of our ceilings are nearly tall enough to justify that towering length, so I have several yards of leftover cotton gauze which I’ve used for several different projects.

This time, I cut leaves out of a piece of gold felt shot through with burgundy and red; the strips are burgundy merino. When I hung it back up on the same curtain rod, I was astonished to see just how much it had shrunk in both width and length, despite what I already know about nunofelting (it gets me every time!). Heed my words if you decide to try this yourself: make sure your fabric is at least 10″ wider and longer than the finished dimensions you hope to achieve. The amount of time you work the fabric and the amount of wool you lay on the fabric will affect the size of your final piece.

There are at least four more small windows in my house that could use a similar window covering (bathroom, kitchen, two back doors). When I’m done experimenting with colors and styles, I’ll start offering them for sale in my etsy shop. In the meantime, sign up for my nunofelting class on March 26th to experiment with a variety of sample fabrics.

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2 Responses to “Nunofelted Curtains”


  1. 1 Carrie Monday, March 17, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Oh wow, I love love love them! The green one especially — in the maroonish colors it would look like autumn. Not that we’re there yet 🙂

    Are you saying you nunofelted on cotton? I didn’t know you could do that!

  2. 2 Josiane Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Your handpainted scarf is beautiful! I love the colors and the motif you’ve chosen. Your curtains are great, too. I’ve been wanting to make felt curtains forever; this is the first thing I’ll do as soon as my workspace is set up in the new house!


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