Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Shawl That Had Its Own Ideas

School has resumed for the year and I can devote more time to felting and less time to schlepping.  This is not to say I've done nothing all summer, wool-wise.  I just haven't blogged about any of it.  So let this first post-summer blog be about an experiment, one of many I undertook this summer.

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.


  1. I like how you had something in mind, but in the end the final product turned out even cooler that maybe could have been expected.

  2. It has become part of the process, letting go of my original idea. On many occasions, I have to learn what I've made from the object itself. Sometimes (like this time) i am better at the letting go part than other times.

  3. Ahh - that pesky creative side of the mind - when it takes all plans are off - you never know what you'll end up with but if you give it free reign it will give you something fabulous every time!