I decided rather last minute to make her a nuno felted tunic. She's used to me using her as a dress form, so I got her to come to the studio and took measurements with no questions asked. Then I started gathering materials for my project. Slowly. It took me ages to figure out where to begin. She liked a piece of purple and burgundy low immersion dyed paj I had around. It wasn't her usual colors, so that surprised me. I decided I wanted to try something new and I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go, but and as usual, I started going with the force, (as we used to say) without really knowing what I was doing, or so I thought.
I located a simple pattern I'd sized up for an old project that fit Chloe, but I wasn't sure what the shrinkage rate was I had calculated for that. I sketched out a drawing with her measurements a couple of times for reference. I roughly compared the measurements of the pattern to my drawings, and tried to make sense of the notes I had taken. I made the decision that it would work one way or another (I'd make it work!).
|my seamless jacket layout, Inge Bauer Workshop, 2008|
|Piecing at my Inge Bauer Workshop, c.2008|
|Inge Bauer, my felting hero|
|tunic in Luckystone Feltworks Studio, The Shirt Factory|
|the green on the left|
|Chad's Resist Shaped Felt Workshop, Felter's Fling 2007|
|Chad Alice Hagen, Queen of resist felting|
|Chloe's Tunic laid out|
Then I rolled it over a noodle, did about 4 minutes per side, took the noodle out, did a squishy roll from both ends, then flipped it and squishied from both ends again. Then I added hot water and started to massage it a bit on the bubble wrap. I was afraid of getting webby nuno. My nemesis is webby nuno. Ask my students. But I was in a rush, and I remembered Inge saying "mangle it" and "keep it wet and soapy". So I added more soap and started to sort of wad it up and mush it around. I tossed it a bit. Mushed it. Threw it, rolled it, squished it. Just did whatever I could think of that wasn't too rough or dry or aggressive, but kept it moving around softly and quickly. By now I was adding hot water from my electric kettle. The felt was feeling a little hard, and that scared me. And it was time to go, just about. I had to teach in the studio the next day, so I rushed around the for a white tornado clean up. I rinsed out the top, and took it home to finish up.
I got dressed for dinner, then stuck the tunic under my hot water faucet in the kitchen sink (I don't have hot water in my studio) and quickly rolled it side to side between my hands to shrink up the bodice more. I ran down to the cellar and tossed it into the spin cycle of the washer. I ran upstairs and dried some of the moisture out of it with the iron. In the car I folded it up and tied it softly with twine.