How to Make a Felted Silk Chiffon Scarf

Layer wool fleece/roving over a dyed silk chiffon scarf to make wearable, felted art.

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Materials and Tools:

blank silk chiffon scarf
vinegar
water
18" x 40" plastic
4 plastic cups
fiber reactive dye powder
4 sponge brushes
microwave safe plate
microwave oven
pant hanger
2 pieces of foam board
2 pieces 85" x 17" muslin
20 yds. each of 3 primarily wool yarns
wool fleece/roving (merino or merino cross)
rubber gloves
spray bottle
liquid dish soap
water
8 pieces of 12" x 17" bubble wrap
18" of 3" diameter PVC pipe
stretch knit ties
large, shallow pan to hold water and project

Steps:

1. Fold scarf in half lengthwise and then repeatedly in half a few more times.

2. Soak in a container of vinegar for 5 minutes.

3. Lay plastic on work surface.

4. Pour 3 ounces of water in each plastic cup. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dye powder to each cup and mix with sponge brush.

5. Squeeze vinegar out of scarf as much as possible. Carefully unfold scarf until you are left with it folded once in half. Lay scarf on plastic.

6. Apply dye to scarf using sponge brushes in whatever pattern you desire.

7. Roll scarf up in plastic and put on microwaveable plate. Heat on high three or four times for 15-second intervals. Rotate the scarf between each cycle.

8. Remove from microwave and move to sink. Unroll and rinse until water runs clear. Hang scarf over pant hanger to dry.

9. Select yarn and fleece to use with scarf.

10. Place one piece of muslin on foam board. Center the dry scarf on muslin.

11. Lay out your yarn design on the scarf. Apply a thin layer of wool fleece/roving over yarns, taking care over the areas with non-felting fibers.

12. Carefully layer second piece of muslin on top. Smooth out any folds or wrinkles.

13. Spray entire piece with soap and water mixture at room temperature. Apply second piece of foam on top. Hold all layers tightly and turn project over.

14. Lift off top foam board and gently peel back muslin while holding down scarf.

15. Apply a thin layer of wool fleece/roving to scarf along yarn design lines, with special attention to the area with non-felting fibers. Put muslin layer back on piece.

16. Heavily spray entire piece with room-temperature soapy water.

17. Starting on one end, roll all three layers onto PVC pipe, laying down bubble wrap pieces as you go (bubble side down).

18. Tightly tie the bundle in three places using stretch knit ties.

19. Roll piece with pressure, wrists to elbows and back to wrists until you count to 200.

20. Untie and unroll piece, peeling off bubble wrap as you go. If piece feels dry, spray on more soapy water. Re-roll from opposite end with bubble wrap and re-tie bundle. Roll piece for another 200 count.

21. Untie and unroll piece and re-roll from opposite end with bubble wrap. Re-tie bundle and roll piece for another 200 count.

22. Untie and unroll piece and re-roll from opposite end. This time remove the PVC and bubble wrap.

23. Put piece in lukewarm water and knead bundle for 10 minutes. Squeeze out water. Unroll and re-roll from opposite end.

24. Put piece in hotter water and knead and twist for 10 minutes. Squeeze out water and unroll piece again.

25. Begin to peel back the top muslin to reveal back of project. If fibers are lifting off in clumps, stop and reapply the muslin. Re-roll from opposite end and go back to step 24. If fibers stay down fairly well with just a little bit of pulling, the piece is at the half-felt stage and the edges may be cleaned up (folded onto scarf) or even cut for a decorative edge treatment. Replace muslin and re-roll from opposite end.

26. Put piece in very hot water. Wring and twist piece for 5 minutes. Squeeze out water, pounding on counter edge if you like.

27. Unroll and turn piece over to work on front of scarf. Gently peel back muslin, holding down fibers if needed, until the piece is entirely free from the muslin. Layer scarf back on one piece of muslin and re-roll.

28. Wearing rubber gloves, put piece in the hottest water you can stand. Vigorously twist, wring and beat for 3 minutes. Squeeze out water.

29. Unroll and re-roll from opposite end. Continue felting process in hottest water, twisting, wringing and beating in 3 minute intervals, then unrolling, reviewing and re-rolling. Stop when shrunk and felted to your satisfaction.

30. Hang to dry. Iron on back if desired using pressing cloth

Tammy L. Deck, Westmont, Ill.
Website: www.tlddesigns.com

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