Learning Curves & Ruffled Scarves

My camera was out for repairs, so I haven’t been able to document the latest batch of scarves as they dried. This gave me some distance from each piece and allowed me to look at the series as an evolving process. Figuring out how to make the multi-petaled ruffled flowers was fun, so I decided to see if I could apply some of the same ideas to scarves.


I started with a pure felt scarf made with merino roving. It is hard to detect in these bright photos, but the roving is composed of several shades of white, grey, brown and navy with a definite orientation. The base of the scarf is laid out vertically, while the ruffles are laid out horizontally. I love the effect, though this piece is quite heavy since I wanted to make sure there were no gaps in the felt.


Wanting something more fluid, I worked with a piece of irridescent silk next, bunching it up in the middle to create a center ruffle. There wasn’t nearly enough extra fabric to create a real ruffle, but it was still a neat effect.


By the third piece, I knew I had to use a lot more silk and really bunch it up to get full ruffle effect. Unfortunately, it didn’t adhere in all of the right places so some of it is a bit pouchier than the rest. But this was an experiment, so I was both thrilled and excited with the results.


The fourth variation was an attempt to use some pieces of recycled silk hacked out of a friend’s dress; the pieces were asymetrical and not uniform in length. I wanted to create horizontal pleats, which worked in part of the scarf. Some of it is great, but as a whole piece it doesn’t work.

I don’t know how many people blog about their failures, but it seems important for me in this case. These four scarves were a real challenge because I have a hard time accepting process and the idea that we need to work through an idea to get versions we like. Time seems to be in such short supply that I don’t allow myself the freedom to experiment with something that might not work out. I did all sorts of things other than getting started because I was afraid. Now I’m excited to try them all over again, to make them better and continue with variations that occurred to me as I was working.


7 Responses to “Learning Curves & Ruffled Scarves”

  1. 1 Loren Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Fearless Leah! These are beautiful.

  2. 2 Carrie Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I think blogging/talking about failures is important. Thank you. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re fallible since (almost!) everything you make is utterly gorgeous.

    I think the first one is my favorite — I’d be curious if that ruffle would work on the bottom on a neck warmer or “sleeves”/arm warmers. So victorian! Speaking of victorian, the third product reminds me of a cravat. In a good way 🙂

  3. 3 Nancy Topolski Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I hardly think any of those gorgeous scarves are failures.. I would wear any one of them to a fancy affair.

  4. 4 faun Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    i love the 3rd+4th! the direction you are going with them is lovely! I cannot wait to see your final successes ( even tho these dont seem such a failure ) !!

  5. 5 fibrespace Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I used to think the same that I didn’t have the luxury of time to experiment and develop ideas without creating an end product, but with felting it’s so important. Since doing me felting qualification I’ve learnt the importance of samples, from now on I’ll experiment with samples rather than finished pieces, that way i can create a sample book to refer to (and use at workshops), and I don’t use as much time and wool.

    By the way, your scarves are beautiful, I love the texture.

  6. 6 joniphippin Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Failures….. they are incredible. They look so amazing. I think they are perfect. maybe not what you aw in your mind, but that is the wonder of felt and the organic process.

  7. 7 Wendy Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I agree with everyone! In my opinion you have amazing pieces here! Not failures! I completely understand the dilemma of actually taking the time to experiment with your craft. Hard to do in the beginning but so essential to the process.

    Again, beautiful work!!!

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