Monday, March 4, 2019

Inclusions with Margilan Silk

An inclusion is made when you capture an object - possibly one that wouldn't felt onto the wool - between the wool layer when making the felt and the cloth layer.  While inclusions can be captured by opaque cloth, if the cloth is sheer, you can see the inclusion through it.  At the end of my last blog, I showed this picture of a collar I made for an article I wrote on collars with inclusions and sheer cloth. Felt Magazine, Issue 16, 2016 December, titled “Collar Variations”. (

The felt collar with inclusions between the black merino and the white silk gauze done for the article in ArtWear's Felt Magazine

This is a side view diagram of the wool fiber base, with an inclusion on it, covered by sheer fabric. The wool fiber grabs the fabric and holds it so that it captures the inclusion. 

NOTE: The fabric doesn't have to be sheer to make an inclusion. Here is a patterned silk habotai with a piece of hard felt underneath it for an inclusion.The pattern over the hard felt shape did not distort while the pattern over the wool fiber background distorted.

For this new group of experiments however, I did want to use the sheer Margilan silk. This is part of my explorations of the silk from the city of Margilan, Uzbekistan. I used the type of Margilan silk called sparse and some of the rarefied. For clarification of the meaning of these words, see my posts from Feb. 18 and 21, 2019. 

Here is a sample with various inclusions: 

Layout Diagram
Layer one: Margilan Gauze. (Unseen in this photo)
Layer two: Chevron layout with 19 micron merino top. (Beige color.)
Layer three: Inclusions (prefelt shapes, yarns, lines of viscose fiber, felt balls cut in half.)(The prefelt inclusions are white, pale pink, and orange.)
Layer four: Margilan Sparse and Rarified Silk (One half in beige and the other half greyed rose. and they are overlapped in the middle.)
Layer five: Decorated prefelts (small triangles). 

Finished Sampler
 Detail of rose colored Margilan.
 Detail 2 of rose colored Margilan.
 Detail of beige colored Margilan.
 Detail 2 of beige colored Margilan.

I decided to use my color studies with Margilan to make some scarves and to use the secondary color gamp to be the inspiration for my colors. (  and 

For the first one, I made a prefelt of four, thin layers of 19 micron merino in a sandy, beige color. I choose Margilan sparse silks in lilac, magenta, orange, rust and beige to use in collage over the prefelts. The wool layer was rust colored 19 micron merino. The back of the scarf was wispy blends of the same colors in viscose fiber. 

Here is the layout diagram: 

First layer on the work surface: wispy blends of viscose Thank you to Lubov Voronin and Katia Mokeyeva for introducing me to these lovely fibers.
Second layer on top of viscose: 19 micron merino wool, laid out in chevron style
Third layer: shapes cut out of merino prefelt
Fourth layer: a collage of pieces of sparse Margilan silk 


 Front of scarf with Detail

 Back of Scarf (Viscose Side)

The next scarf was in greens, yellows, and blues. I used the same layers as above for the layout. But I tried a viscose decorated prefelt instead of one that was all wool. Here are some process photos. NOTE: I have a small table, so I make my scarves in sections. After I finish the layout and "set" the design for a section, I roll it  around a rolled up towel. I do this since I am using the "No-Roll Felting Method" developed by Nancy Ballesteros of Treetops Colour Harmonies ( to do a lot of the felting. 

 Layer one: Fluffy clouds of blended viscose fibers. There is a layer of thin plastic underneath the viscose fibers. After I laid the fibers down, I spritzed a little water over the top of them to help cut down on the static electricity in the air before I went to the next Layer.

Layer two: Wool fiber in chevron layout. Note, I am using the fiber managing system invented by L-Inna of Felt Tales (Л-Инна Войлочные Сказки). You can see videos of her system on her Facebook page. Or go to mine, where I have shared her videos. ( While she uses it to hold together bits and pieces of fiber top, I like it because it eases the arthritis pain in my hands. The merino top goes into a 6 inch piece of foam pipe insulation which holds it.  Then the very end of the fibers is held in position with a card (I was using my auto club card here). You pull back on the foam insulation and you leave a very thin shingle of wool fiber in place. It does help to spritz the air with moisture if you are having static electricity problems so the wool shingle does not puff up and get out of position. 

When the piece of wool top gets too short to stay in the foam holder, I hold it just in my hand and pull it back. I still use the card to hold the ends in position. 

When the fiber was all laid out, I sprinkled soapy water on the whole thing, covered it with net and pressed out the air.

 Covering with net. 
With the net in place, I blotted the water off so the fibers were moist but not sopping wet. Now we're ready for Layers Three and Four.
Blotting up moisture. 

Layer Three: Cut out pieces of prefelt for decoration. In this scarf, I used prefelts that had viscose fiber on them, but in the pink/orange scarf, I used plain wool prefelts that I had made. Roughen up the back side of prefelts so they attach well. You could add yarns or other objects at this point as well. 
Prefelts laid in position. Notice that I put some green viscose fiber behind the lightly colored prefelts because they blended in too much with the background. This is the first end of the scarf and it is all that will fit on the width of my table. (about 22 inches) I left about 7 inches on the front end so that I could use it to make the fringe.

Layer Four: Lay on the pieces of Sparse Margilan. I cut the fabric in a variety of odd shapes and did do some overlapping, pleating, etc. With the Margilan, the overlaps will still give a very smooth surface because the silk fabric is so sheer.
Beginning to lay on the Sparse Margilan fabric collage. 
Now I "set" the design. I wanted the viscose,  prefelts and Margilan collage to stay well attached to the thin layer of wool. So I wet down this whole section, covered it with plastic and then used the sander on it. NOTE: The sander has no sandpaper. I use a portable ground fault interrupter which will shut off the machine if any water gets in to it. I don't work the top end of the scarf section where the new layers for the next section will be added.

Sander on top of plastic covered scarf. 
From here, I rolled up a dry towel and laid it on the plastic covered (sanded) section. I rolled up the section, leaving just enough of the section unrolled that I could easily start the next section and have it overlap the first section slightly. (1-1.5 inches). When all of the sections are done, I roll a dry towel around the bundle and tie it so it doesn't unroll. Then I follow Nancy Ballesteros' instructions and use the dryer to tumble my piece. After 20 minutes, I re-rolled it from the other end and did another 20 minutes.  I took it out of the dryer, towels and plastic and cut the fringe. I rolled the fringe to felt it and then fulled the scarf.  

Finished scarf with collage/prefelt side showing. 

 Details of collage/prefelt side. 

 Viscose Side and Detail