Lessons in Nuno

Posted by Wendy on Sunday, August 28, 2011
Well, I've done about 6 scarves now and I've seem to got the hang of it.  Or at least I know what I was doing right (and wrong!). 

One thing I've discovered is that I'm either a) out of shape b) lazy or c) not using the correct technique because I just couldn't get the rovings to felt properly after the 400 or 500 rolls that everyone suggests.  I did some reading on the subject and found that there's a variety of different ways to make the rovings 'stick'.  I could roll it up in a towel and pop it into the dryer and use the flopping around as a replacement for rolling, I could use bamboo mats in between the scarf and take advantage of it's rough surface. Or I could use a palm sander.  Well, I'm all about fast and easy so I ran downstairs to dust off the sander and give it a whirl.  Until I realized you still have to wet the project down before agitating it.  I kinda cooled on the idea of fast and easy after that and went the bamboo mat route.  Although I have to admit, while I was rolling the last scarf up and sipping on my pina colada, I did wonder if there was something I could use that agitated like a palm sander, but ran on batteries.  You don't wanna know where I ended up with that thought.  But, I may just check out Venus Envy the next time I'm downtown.  Purely for research purposes, of course.

Uh, anyway.  Here's the addendum to my previous tips on Nuno felting.

Lay your bubble wrap down as before (although since you're going to be using the bamboo mats, you can simply invest in some painters plastic or a tarp or something. Then lay down one of the bamboo mats and lay down the plastic wrap over top of the bamboo mat.

Then you can lay out your rovings and put the scarf over top of it.  Although, I've found it easier if I lay the scarf down, fold it back and work in sections on the bottom. 

Once you're done the bottom, you can begin to lay out the rovings on the top layer.  Then cover the project with tulle and soak.

I've discovered an empty spray bottle filled with warm soapy water works really well and makes things move along much quicker

Once your scarf is wet, you can then lay the other bamboo mat over top and roll it up in the pool noodle.  I still use my feet to roll and find I roll about 200 times, undo, remove the tulle re-roll from the other direction, do another odd 150 times, then I flip over the scarf, remove the plastic wrap - at this point the scarf is sandwiched between the bamboo mats with nothing between it.  Then I roll till I'm happy with the results. 


Plastic wrap, liquid soap, 9 ft. of bubble wrap, 2 pool noodles, and a silk scarf.

Posted by Wendy on Sunday, July 31, 2011 in ,
Ah, the makings of a perfect long weekend, huh?  Add in a bucket of pina colada's and we're off to the races!

It's my first foray into the world of Nuno Felting, and I've been wanting to try this technique ever since I heard about it at the KiP event.

So this weekend, the boys went off to the U2 concert, I bought deer antler and yak cheese to keep the dogs busy, and I got down to business.  Here's a pictorial of my first attempt along with my thoughts.

First things first though.....yak cheese and deer antler for the dogs...$50 total.  REALLY???  I understand yaks and all the yummy goodness they bring are not exactly native to this part of the world, but $15 for a 5" marbleized piece of stale cheese?  And  deer antler.?  We're in NS - these things should be as common as squashed porcupines on the side of the road.  $30 for a deer antler that's recommended for dogs 60lbs and over.  Why the weight restriction?  It's not like they're expecting the dog to take down the deer. Anyway, Jake polished off the yak cheese within the hour and Cooper laid down beside his deer antler and stared at it for the rest of the afternoon.  It wasn't until Jake picked it up and started gnawing on it  that Cooper realized it might be worth checking out.  I hope they go to town on it soon - the damn thing's so heavy it's going to make dents in the flooring everytime they drop it!

So on to Nuno Felting...

11:50am ~ I gathered up all my implements of destruction:

And in a remarkably far sighted case of time management, quickly threw the pina colada mix in the bucket and stored it in the deep freeze.  Because nothing says Japanese felting technique like pina coladas.

However, prep work requires a Bud Light Lime.

I pop open a drink and pat the roving again.  It's Hand Maiden's Lady Godiva Sliver/Roving and it's quite possibly the softest thing I've ever touched.  Think kittens, clouds, and baby bums.  And then think softer.  It's almost a crime to use it.  Almost.

I raise a toast to the awesomeness that is the roving and get back to the business at hand.

I've decided to mirror the felting technique that I saw in the video.  Which means felting on both sides of the scarf.  Why the hell I started something at the very top end of the difficulty scale is beyond me.  It's sort of like giving spider-weight yarn and 000 needles to a beginner and expecting a full size lace shawl.  Definitely not the smartest move on my part. But, in my defense -  it looks really easy in the video....

12:15pm ~ So the first thing I do is lay out tape to outline the scarf.  But I quickly realize that the scarf's over 6 ft long.  We're a family of 3 - what the heck do we need a 9ft dining room table for! Anyway, I improvise using 2 inserts, a wooden board, a chair, a beer bottle box and a seat cushion.  It doesn't quite look like the video setup ....I should have taken this as a sign.

12:40pm ~ I quickly tape up the bubble wrap and lay it on the table.  This is really easy and I'm feeling good about getting started. Next is the overlapping layer of saran wrap.  Again, nice and easy. 

1:00pm ~ Now it's time for the rubber to hit the road.  I start to tear off the roving and lay out the pattern.  I'm not sure how much to tear off and how to lay it out, but I eventually get the hang of it.  *The thinner the layer, the better the 'grab' I found out later. 

1:30pm ~  I've now got the entire 'bottom' of the scarf laid out and am ready to lay the scarf over top of it.

1:32pm ~  I realize now why they didn't film the actual laying of the scarf over top of the design.

1:50pm ~  Finally re-applied the bottom design and got the damn scarf laid over top of it. Note to self, next time don't do a top and bottom layer -  it's the road to insanity.

1:51pm ~   Go downstairs to check on the progress of the pina colada bucket.  Still liquid...

2:30'ish ~ Finally got the entire pattern laid out and ready to...aahh....ummm....do something to it.  Time to grab another Bud and read my notes about what comes next...


2:35pm ~ Checked notes and believe I've arrived at the 'wetting' stage.  And after a beer and a half, I'm inclined to agree.  I'm also prepared.  Although,  I did have a tense moment while trying to figure out how "feel the soap on your hands" should actually feel like, but after a short debate with myself, I think I did OK.

2:40pm ~ I have to admit, this was the only time I was really tempted to just walk away from the entire operation.  According to the video, you need to 'tent your hand' over top of the wool and drizzle the water through your fingers.  As opposed to simply schlopping it everywhere and making a huge mess.  But unless you get the entire piece of wool that your hand is 'tenting' completely soaked, it sticks to your hand and pulls away from the scarf.  And then it's like glue and you can't get it off. And if you do get it off, it doesn't fall in the right spot, so you've got to pick it up again to readjust.  But of course, then it's stuck to your hand....

2:45pm  ~ Head downstairs to check on the pina colada's. Nothing happening yet. Check to make sure freezer's plugged in.

3:15pm  ~ Finally done the 'wetting'.  Although everything else up to this point when pretty close to the video, this was a dismal failure.  I decide right then and there that once the pina colada's were done, I was going to sit down and write a nasty comment on the video's website letting the woman know how unrealistic the entire 'tenting' exercise is.

3:16pm  ~ Checked my notes and realized that I was supposed to put the layer of tulle over top of my design before starting the 'wetting'.  Well, that would make much more sense, wouldn't it...? I silently apologize to the woman in the video for all the nasty names I called her. If I ever meet her, I'll buy her a pina colada.

3:17pm  ~ Laid the tulle over the work.  At least that part went nice and easy since the wool was already wet and wasn't going anywhere.

3:18pm  ~ Time to roll this baby up and start the felting process!

What this rolling will do is bind the fibre to the scarf.  And it's not as easy as it appears.  In fact, it's a really good workout...


3:20pm ~ I tied my roll up with panty hose and got ready to roll by leaning over the table and push/roll the package on my forearms from the elbows to the wrist, back and forth. According to what I've read - about 100- 150 times/phase is ideal.  There's 4 'phases' in the felting process.

I suspect my osteopath wouldn't be impressed.  And, while I haven't met her yet, I'm willing to bet my neurosurgeon would put a stop to the entire process if she could see me!  I don't think I'll mention this to her when I go in Sept.

3:30pm ~ After applying pressure for 150 times, unroll the scarf and check the placement of everything.  Now's the time to make any adjustments because the fibres will begin to bind to the scarf and be harder to fix if something's out of place.  I'm pretty easy-going about this stuff, but I definitely wouldn't recommend this craft to someone with OCD.  Nothing looks the same, or stays in the same place - that's the beauty of it. It's kind of like the ink blot drawings we made as kids.

This is how it should look once it starts to bind
and this is the silk ruching

Anyway, you then roll it up from the opposite direction and apply pressure for another 150 times and then unroll and check again.  Here's what it'll start to look like after about  300 rolls - it's starting to bind and felt.

 4:18pm  ~  Just when I thought it was all just easy peasy from here on in, I  have to stop in the middle of the process (after 2 rolling sessions) and take off the tulle, flip the entire scarf, and remove the plastic wrap. All the while trying not to displace any of the fibers that are just now starting to grab and bind.  Not an exercise for the faint of heart.  In fact I need a Smirnoff's Classic Lemonade to get through it.

 4:25pm  ~ My neck and back can't take any more bending over the table, so I give up and move into the back room and call up an episode of Friday Night Lights.  I discovered this show in it's final season - now I'm going back to catch up.

4:26pm ~  Rolling the scarf using my feet is the perfect exercise!  I watched half of an episode of FNL's, got a nice hamstring/glute workout, unrolled the scarf, checked things out, rolled it up from the opposite direction and went back to watching my show and rolling again. Once I determined it was done enough for my liking - the silk is starting to be ruched.  then it's time for the next stop - fulling.

5:00pm ~ (I was done earlier, but had to clean the kitchen sink). Since it's a scarf, I want it to remain somewhat squared, so I fold it into a packet and rub it together trying to keep everything squared.  Hot water is needed for this part.  So I carefully rub and 'throw' the package... and it's not looking any different when I unfold it to take a peek.

5:10pm ~ Since I didn't have any lunch and I'm getting hungry, I throw all caution to the wind, roll it up in a ball, and really scrub and throw the thing.  I'm convinced that's what worked the best!

5: 15pm ~ Once it's looking like I want it to look like, I have to give it an acidic bath for 15 mins.  The instructions call for 1 Teaspoon of white vinegar/4 cups of cold water.  But I've bought too many skeins of yarn where I couldn't get the vinegar smell out.  I opt for lemon juice instead.  

 8:00pm ~ A chef salad, leftover BBQ sausage, a pina colada, and a long dog walk  later....

My second scarf with a mushroom color base


Hope springs eternal

Posted by Wendy on Saturday, March 12, 2011
This scarf/wrap was meant to keep my mind occupied while waiting for my MRI and the results. I've never worked with lace weight before - in fact the lightest yarn I've used for years has been worsted.  It's a big change, but I'm really enjoying it.  It's actually got a calming effect.

We're socked in with fog and heavy rain and warm temperatures which means two things: our house horses will track in mud every time they come in and spring is here! The colors in this wrap remind me of what makes me smile when the sun finally comes out...the beautiful (and varied) shades of grass, the blue of the lake that finally peeks through under the layers of ice, the brown earth, and the slightest hint of pink for the spring buds.  I guess the splashes of mustardy green could represent the dead-grass-pee-spots from the boys!

This also marks the inaugural use of the stitch holders I made last week.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with the whole thing.  I'd feel better if I could just get this MRI business out of the way and also finish the 2 other wraps and 1 shawl I've got kicking around.  But, hope does spring eternal.... 


But I thought I was the bitchin' rock star from Mars!

Posted by Wendy on Friday, March 04, 2011
An entire week of the craziness that is Charlie Sheen - totally exhausting and, at least in the beginning, quite entertaining.  What is it about the personal implosions of celebrities that grabs our attention?  Isn't it a bit mean-spirited to take pleasure in someone else's break from reality.  I suppose I should feel shamed about it, but dammit, this turkey is getting paid millions...MILLIONS of dollars to memorize a bunch of words.  that's it - memorize a bunch of words - nothing more.  And if he doesn't regurgitate those words quite right, they just do it over and over again until he does.  He's got someone to look after his mail, pay his bills, manage his ego, and it's a pretty safe bet that he doesn't have to wait weeks in advance for phone or cable service!

So do I feel sorry for him; do I feel guilty for finding humor in another human being's apparent breakdown?  Nope.  Not even a little bit.  Sorry Charlie, I'm studying like crazy for a certification so that I can make a few extra bucks to pay off my major bills - because even though I work much, much harder than you - I don't make millions of dollars.  I'm waiting for my diagnosis of 'possible MS' to become 'definitive MS' (and all the challenges that bundle of news brings), my company was just bought and our jobs are being assessed, and I'm betting that the future doesn't not have anywhere near a rosy tinge for most of the employees.  And to top it all off, it's -23C today.  And I'm going to finish my coffee, get dressed, warm up the car and shlep into work.  And at no time in the fifteen or sixteen hours that I'll be awake, will I put anything in my veins, up my nose, or in my lungs.  Oh, and at no time will I have 2 porn stars following me around all day.  But honestly, that would just be way too distracting anyway.  And from the limited amount of porn that I've seen, I don't think they'd be happy in -23C weather...

So why am I a bitchin' rock star from Mars?  Because I'm getting a brand new cut and color tonight (from long and brassy blonde to a chocolate brown bob), Cooper has finished all his eye surgeries and is on his way to becoming a 'normal' dog, I've got all my stash organized, and best of all - I've got 3 wraps and a shawl on the go!

Check out Seasgair, it's Gaelic for warm, cozy, snug, comfortable.  It's less of an inspired design and more just a compilation of a bunch of cables that have already been done and charted by other, much more talented folks.  I just combined them in a way that makes me happy.


We wants it. We needs it.

Posted by Wendy on Sunday, February 13, 2011
Friday was a really great day!

I finished an impromptu sales document early than I was required to and although I haven't gotten any feedback, I think it I did pretty good considering I didn't know what the hell I was talking about!

So for lunch I treated myself to some 'Peach Melba'

While I was busy being a good little comrade and doing up sales documents,  I got an email notifying me of my STIP amount.  Which was much, much  more than I had expected.  So to celebrate,  I took a trip to the 'Artic'.

Then I found out in a planning meeting that some of us deserving folks are getting salary 'bumps'.  Since I assume 'bump' to mean 'bump up' not 'bump down, I got all 'Fire'd up.

I decided for a Valentine's Day present to the boys, I would try to get them tickets to the hockey finals.  The Gold Medal game was sold out, but I managed to get front row seats to the semi-final game on Thursday night.  And the icing on the cake is that Matt Mays is playing in Celebration Square right after the game. 

After work I ran down to the Canada Games Clothing Boutique and picked up a yummy-soft hoodie for Alex, Turk and I to share (read: it will become mine), a T-shirt for Alex, and a pair of mitts for myself.  And found out that I was eligible for a 30% discount off the stuff because of my employer.  That rocked.

Then, I managed to actually get a seat on the super-crowded bus home.  I scooched over to leave room for someone to sit beside me, but nobody took me up on it.  I just assumed it was because they were frozen in place by the awesomeness of the yarn I kept taking out of the bag and petting during the trip home.  However, after carrying it into my knitting room and finding just the right spot for all 6 skeins of beauty, Alex came in and said "Mom, you're doing that Gollum thing with your wool again."


The Baby it's Cold Outside scarf

Posted by Wendy on Saturday, February 05, 2011
I spied the latest Chatelaine magazine on the newsstands on Monday and fell instantly in love with the scarf on the cover.  I'm such a sucker for big, bulky, beige outerwear, I have bins filled with half finished beigeness.

After a quick scan of the magazine (I actually found 2 recipes that I just might use), I realized the scarf was merely a prop for their big meal planning story around having friends over to enjoy the great outdoors and the marvelous food (DUH).

I'm still amazed that they chose to carry on about ravioli instead of this gorgeous scarf, but meh, each to his own, I guess.

Anyway, I sat down last night and set out to reverse engineer said scarf for myself.  I didn't have any super bulky hanging around so I quickly made a couple of center pull balls using a monster skein of Bernat Chunky and got started.

Not bad so far....
Presenting the Baby It's Cold Outside scarf


Snow big deal

Posted by Wendy on Saturday, February 05, 2011

Finally the snow has stopped and we can dig ourselves out.  Alex got back to school on Friday after missing most of the week and the sun is shining beautifully today.

Everyone in the pool!

We didn't shovel off the pool deck after the last storm and of course it immediately turned to ice with the 5 or 6 days of crazy cold we got.  Then we get over 40 cms of new stuff on top of it this week...I was worried about the pool walls bending under all that weight!

When the going gets tough, the tough get snowblowing

So after a couple of hours of back breaking shoveling and getting nowhere, Turk fires up the snowblower and voila! deck is cleared. 

  He finished just in time too - we're getting freezing rain and rain for the next couple of days, so hopefully it'll just melt/wash the rest of the snow away. I am so ready to be rid of this white stuff!

Precision snowblowing at it's best.

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