PAT SPARK © 1998

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This felt scarf is made using a laminated felt technique. Laminated felt is the name I have given to the process of attaching a piece of fabric to wool fleece by felting them together. Usually the fabric is woven or knitted and must be open enough that the fleece fibers can easily travel through it and grab on to other fibers, thus "hooking" the cloth into the fleece as it felts.

This technique is usually used for three main purposes. These are:

1. Surface decoration: Small pieces of the cloth can be added to the surface of the fleece before it is felted, to create a motif or be part of a design. Alternatively, cloth can be added over the whole surface. Depending on the cloth used, this can create a texture on the felt that can resemble lizard skin or crepe.

2 & 3. Adding strength and flexibility to thin felts: When a piece of cloth is placed over the whole surface of a wool pile before it is felted, it allows the fleece to be layered very thinly. This makes the finished felt flexible and also adds strength to the thin layers. The cloth will show on one side of the felt and can be used as decoration or as a lining. Another possibility is to place the cloth between layers of fleece. It will add strength to the finished felt. If the fleece put on each side of the cloth is a different color, the resulting felt can be reversible. The cloth that is inside the layers of fleece can be totally covered or it can show in areas.  These instructions are for a scarf where the cloth is meant to show and compliment the fleece on the surface.  The cloth used is a cotton bubble gauze, also called Indian gauze or crinkle gauze.

To make a two-sided felt scarf:
1. Measure a piece of bubble gauze, 12-15 inches wide and 60-72 inches long.
2. Figure out the square inches of bubble gauze. (length x width = total square inches. Example, 12" x 72"= 864 square inches.)
3. To figure out total amount of wool needed for one side of scarf, multiply the total square inches by .025. This will give you the gram amount if you want some of the background fabric to show, what I call a loosely layered density of wool. (Example, 864 x .025= 21.6 grams per side of scarf.)
4. Weigh out the wool needed for the cloth, remembering to weigh out the second amount of wool for the next side. Keep the wool for the two sides separate.
5. Draw and cut out a paper rectangle the size of your beginning measurements to lay under your plastic table cover. Draw lineson the paper, dividing it into quadrants.  (See draing below.) (Example, using the above figures, a rectangle 12" x 72".)
6. Lay a piece of bubble-wrap, bubble side up over the rectangle. The bubble-wrap should be a few inches bigger than the rectangle on all sides.
7. Take the wool for one side of the scarf and divide it into four equal parts. (This doesn't need to be weighed, it can just be estimated.) Lay it next to your rectangle so that each fourth of the fleece will correspond to a quadrant of the rectangle.

8. Using the wool allowed for that quadrant, lay out the fleece in a very thin, open layer on the bubble-wrap. Allow parts of the wrap below to show through. The wool should extend slightly over the sides of the base rectangle. Do this on all four quadrants. Small, light weight design elements can be randomly placed under the thin layer of fleece. However, if quite a lot of a differently colored fleece is going to be used, it should be included with the weight of the original fleece.

9. Dampen the bubble gauze and lay it out on top of the wool.  
10. Divide the wool for the second side of the scarf into four parts and place it onto the appropriate quadrant of cloth.    
11. Lay a felting net over the cloth covered fleece. Using a wet sponge, press cool soapy water over the pile to wet the wool and remove the air. Lift the net and straighten any edges you feel require it. Replace the net.


12. Lay your rolling bar on one end of the bubble-wrap and roll up the wool-cloth "sandwich". Leave the net on top of the fleece. Tie the roll in several places.  
13. Using your forearms, rotate the roll back and forth, with light pressure, 80 times. Lift up on the net to make sure that is hasn't attached itself to the wool. Smooth out any wrinkles.
14. Unroll and roll the "sandwich" up from the opposite end. Rotate 80 times again and unroll.
15. Carefully turn the scarf over and roll up from the opposite end and rotate 100 times with more pressure added. Repeat from the other end.
16. The third set of rolling from each end is 125 times. The fourth (and usually the last) rolling is 150 times.

TEST FOR END OF FELTING STAGE: The fibers shouldn't shift when pushed. You should see a bit of fuzz coming up through the fabric in the open areas.

17. Pour or dip the felt into, hot soapy water.
18. Holding onto the two corners of one end, pick up the scarf and gently drop it onto the table top. Repeat from other end. Keep repeating until the scarf begins to firm up.
19. Use the tossing method (see below) to finish fulling the scarf. Keep checking the scarf for shrinkage. The tossing method can make the scarf shrink down too much. If the scarf is getting small enough but it still has a soft, unfulled surface, you can use the rolling method (without a rolling bar and bubble wrap) to help harden the felt without causing too much shrinkage. Keep the scarf hot and soapy during the fulling process.
20. You can rub the surface of the scarf on a glass washboard to help strengthen the felt skin. As you're doing this, stretch the scarf out slightly to the sides to help maintain an even width. Another way of tightening the skin and firming the edges is to roll up the scarf without a rolling bar, and roll it back and forth with your hand.
21. Rinse the scarf in lukewarm water. Put it into a bucket of lukewarm water to which has been added ¼ cup vinegar. Let the scarf soak in the vinegar solution for 10-15 minutes (or longer). Rinse out again and roll in a towel to remove the water. Use the hand rolling technique to help spot full any ripples or problem areas. When flat, lay out on a flat surface to dry.

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Patricia Spark
Copyright 1998
Last Updated: Aug. 23, 2001