Felt and kantha

I love the results of my kantha stitching experiments, but it’s quite hard on the fingers stitching through four layers of fabric. So I thought I’d see if I could produce similar results on something softer, like felt.

I stitched a couple of circles made out of prefelt, and then felted these onto a piece of flat felt along with two plain unstitched circles of prefelt. After felting, I stitched the two plain circles. This let me compare the results of stitching before and after felting.

kantha prefeltkantha felt sample

As you can see, the prefelt circles that were stitched before felting flattened out and distorted during the felting process, and the thread started to hang loose in places because the felt shrank. The circles that were stitched after felting were much more distinct.

Circle stitched before felting
Circle stitched before felting
Circle stitched after felting
Circle stitched after felting

So I felted some grey prefelt onto a piece of silk crinkle chiffon to make a sample nuno felt scarf. As I hope you can see, the ruched texture caused by the felt shrinking onto the silk is enhanced by the stitching afterwards. I call it my limpet scarf!

kantha felt scarfkantha felt scarf detail

It’s a lot of stitching, but at least it’s easier on the fingers. 🙂


Shibori scarf giveaway

Woohoo – I’ve racked up 200 posts, so time for a giveaway, just in time for Christmas!

So here is one of my new elegant silk scarves, made of 5mm pongee silk, which is beautifully light – you can hardly feel it when you are wearing it.

shibori sill scarf

The scarf is hand-dyed using indigo, which produces a fabulous range of blues on silk. The pattern is produced using the shibori itajime technique – shibori is a sophisticated kind of tie-dye.

I dip the scarf several times in the indigo vat to build up the colour, leaving it to oxidise between dips. Indigo requires oxygen to turn blue – when I remove the scarf from the vat the colour is actually green, and as it is exposed to the air it turns blue before my eyes! Letting the scarf oxidise between dips also makes the indigo fast and less likely to run when washed.

Because all my scarves are dyed by hand, each one is unique – I couldn’t produce exact copies even if I wanted to! The variation results from slight differences in folding, clamping and binding, and in different temperatures, indigo concentrations and drying times.

I recommend that you wash the scarf separately in warm water with a little bit of shampoo added. Rinse in cool water, roll in a towel to remove excess water, and dry flat. Press with a warm iron.

The scarf measures approx 125cm x 35 cm.

If you’d like to win this scarf, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post before midnight GMT next Wednesday 21 November. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday 22 November.

Spontaneous scarf

This is hardly the weather to be thinking about scarves (hurrah!), but as I’ve suddenly acquired a large stash of odd balls of wool from a friend, I thought it was worth trying out this pattern for a spontaneous scarf by Charlene Anderson.

The scarf is knitted lengthwise, changing the yarn every row and leaving a length of 7-8 inches of wool at each end that later forms the fringe. By using moss stitch (that’s British moss stitch, not American moss stitch*), you achieve an almost woven effect.

It’s so effective but so simple – certainly simple enough for me to be able to watch Scandinavian thrillers with subtitles without any problem while knitting! And because you change yarn every row, it’s great for using up leftover balls.

*Another example of two nations divided by a single language. In British moss stitch you knit one, purl one across the row, and then on the second row you purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches. Americans call this seed stitch. American moss stitch is alternating knit and purl across two rows, followed by two rows of alternating purl and knit.

Nearly network

Is there a seasonality about textiles? I just ask because over the summer I’ve done absolutely no felting – just shibori, shibori, shibori. But now that the chills of autumn are in the air I’ve suddenly had a desire to go back to felt.

This may also have had something to do with the arrival of my copy of From Felt to Friendship by Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown. I know Nicola because she writes the excellent Clasheen blog and is kind enough to give me advice through her comments here. One day I will have enough time/money to go to Ireland for one of her workshops, but in the meantime I have the book to inspire me.

So, still thinking about Claudia Phipps’ glass wings, I wanted to make a scarf with holes in it (aka network felt). I’ve made these before, by laying out adjoining circles of wool and felting them together (left).

I’d read what seemed like an easier method, of laying the roving out in a grid, in both Lizzie Houghton’s Creative Felting and in Fabulous Felted Scarves by Chad Alice Hagan and Jorie Johnson. But the holes produced in this way were too regular and, well, grid like!

Then in From Felt to Friendship I came across one of Nicola’s scarves where she cuts slits in the felt to form holes after felting. She also included a method of incorporating beads by threading them onto roving and felting them in. Never known for my lack of ambition(!), I thought I’d give both techniques a go – and include some fringes for good measure.


This is the result. The holes in Nicola’s scarf were much smaller, but I wanted them quite large, and next time I think I will make them even larger and more of them. The scarf is made with only one layer of wool, and I actually made some of the holes by just pulling the wool apart in some of the thin areas, rather than cutting.

The beads along the fringes worked quite well, but you do have to rub well between the beads to get the roving to felt in properly.

All in all, a happy, productive afternoon. It was good to get back to felting after the break!