Before I left MI last winter, I saw a woman in a gorgeous fisherman's knit shawl. At least I thought it was a shawl. I admired it and she let me really look at its construction. Not that I wanted to knit one like it; I wondered if it could be a template for a nuno-felted shawl. It was created like a fat T. One long piece that draped around the shoulders and hung down in front on either side, with a square attached that covered the back. I sketched it; I estimated the measurements. And then we moved and it had to wait. In July, I finally pulled out the initial sketch. I cut two finished scarves and some patterned silk material I had. I chose wool and yarns I thought might work with the colors. And I started.
The colors felt like autumn and fire and molten lava and turning leaves. I layed strips of chestnut wool to create seams and to add design elements on top of the silk. I thought I would use red and burgundy yarns in the process, but as I continued, the work changed. A variegated brown yarn with specks of green and gold and orange got added. Wisps of merino wool in colors of fire joined the design.
I let the piece sit for several days before felting. I usually do this to give myself time to feel done with the design. When I was finally ready, it took several hours of wetting and rolling and rubbing and throwing. And when I was done, it did not hang at all like the shawl upon which I had modeled it. In fact, it became clear that it required a bit of hand sewing to become what it really was: a vest with a ruffled collar.