2017 Scarf of the Year – Discover the process behind Trappist – 1

Posted 15 June 2017

This year’s winner, Karina Irvine, gives us a fascinating overview of the process she used to create her award-winning felted scarf, Trappist – 1. Karina won the Felted category and Scarf of the Year.

The Story Behind Trappist-1

It all started with a ‘Big Bang’. The Galaxies theme was officially announced in February and I had some ideas.

Then the very next week I was watching the news and NASA for the first time showed pictures of a solar system called Trappist-1 and I thought, that’s it!

The design changed a few times as one does when your imagination goes into overdrive.

What is it made of?

For this scarf I used a Wet Felt technique using Merino wool, silk, mohair and tinsel.

I love using merino wool it is the longest finest wool in the world, soft and felts beautifully and most of all it is Australian.

Mohair is thicker fibre and takes a lot longer to felt than wool. Silk and Tinsel do not felt at all and must be held into place by the wool in order for it to be a part of the scarf.

The planets are cut from a piece of dyed tissue silk.

The Felting process

Felt is a textile material produced by applying various methods that will matt fibres together. Some fibres will felt easily and others won’t at all. By combining my four materials which vary in the felt process I was able to achieve the desired effect you see in this scarf.

I finely laid out the different coloured Merino wool on bubble wrap. The scarf is the same on both sides so the wool must be evenly and carefully placed. I gently hand rub over the wool, the heat and moisture from my hands are enough to start the felting process and this allows me to then lay fibres of silk for the galaxy swirls.

I slightly wet the wool with soapy water and roll it in the bubble wrap until it is a pre-felt. The printed tissue silk was also done this way onto wool and then the planets cut out and placed onto the main scarf. The scarf was gently rolled until it was all felted and could be worked and maneuvered. I left the edge of the neck part still at pre-felt so I could attach the mohair before the final rolling.

Each mohair ringlet was individually wrapped in glad wrap. I teased one exposed end and placed it between the wool on the neckline and rolled and agitated the wool to attach the mohair whilst trying to avoid any felting process of the ringlets. The scarf was rinsed and hung out to dry on your typical Australian backyard Hills Hoist.

See Karina’s facebook page for more of her incredible work.

Image credit: 2017 Scarf of the Year – Trappist – 1, Merino Wool

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