Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shibori Felting Techniques

So as promised I'm sharing the method I use to create the textured lace scarves I make.

You need to start with fabric made with animal fibers. No acrylic and no superwash wool. Keep in mind that it will shrink. I knit my own blanks for felting, but you could use this technique on second hand sweaters or cloth so long as it is all wool. If you are knitting, I recommend Patons Classic Wool or Lambs Pride.

Next you will need some objects to create the texture. I used hazelnuts for this, but I've added some other weird stuff I sometimes use. You will also need rubber bands to secure the items in place.

Stretch the fabric over the object tightly and secure with a rubber band. Repeat this creating whatever pattern tickles your fancy.

Once you have created your pattern its off to the washing machine. Place the object in the wash. I recommend adding some other clothing to help agitation. Keep in mind that fibers will be coming off the fabric so choose wisely. Next set your water to hot and agitation to high and start the machine. Stop the machine and check the item every so often to see if it has felted to your desired stiffness. When it's done drain the machine.

Leave the nuts (or whatever you use) in the fabric for at least 12 hours until it has dried. This will create the maximum texture. After drying, remove et voila Shibori felt.

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