I have been wanting to make a birch tree scarf for some time now, but I didn’t have the fine micron merino in the right white to do it. Since I was going to try another large project that required white, I broke down and bought 1kg of white merino 19mic in Snow from DHG. They are the only supplier selling bright white at the moment. I also ordered some large quantities in other colors and natural to justify the shipping.
I laid out this scarf differently to the Autumn Leaves scarf. Firstly, I blended grey, black and white viscose on the drum carder and laid out as I did before. I then wet it with plain water and added the white in a herring bone layout. I then added a very fine layer of white horizontally along the edge and filling in the gaps. Now it was time for the decoration. I googled birch trees. Every tree is different, but the common thing about birch trees is that they have ‘eyes’, and fine horizontal lines along them where the bark may split a little, and black dots and marks. So I decorated the tree with ‘eyes’ in black merino first. I then added nepps in black and natural white. Initially I didn’t anchor them down, but I did add more than I needed. After the first pass of sanding, I added some fine strands of white wool to anchor the nepps down as I wasn’t confident that they would stay on. I did lose some, but most of them stayed on. I sanded several times and also hand rubbed the wool side to make sure the nepps were going to stick. I am going to use nepps in another project and this was my test piece to see how they would stand up in the felting process. They do give the piece a nice texture and make the tree look more birch like. I had a very tiny bit of viscose left over from the other side and I added fine strands over and around the black lines. You can only see them close-up, but they do add a bit of shine. Because I used the extra fine merino, the wool side is very soft.
I didn’t iron this piece as I quite like the texture on the viscose side. It is a little bit bumpy, but still very shiny. Because I had a complicated decoration on the wool side, felting the piece was rather a delicate process as I didn’t want the wool to migrate through the viscose side and I didn’t want to disturb the decoration and nepps on the other side, so I did a lot of rubbing by hand before I felt confident to roll the piece on its own. The piece took longer to felt than usual. I started at 5 feet and the piece is 110cm, the length of the grey mat, not including tassels. I spent a lot of time making the tassels, but I think they are worth it and really add to the scarf. I made them in the same way as I made the leaf tassels, but instead of a leaf shape, I just cut strips across the prefelt. There are 10 tassels on each end. I made a leaf shaped brooch that I need to add beads to and a pin.
If I were going to make a birch tree scarf again I would only do a couple of things differently.
- I would still add nepps, but I would anchor them down first or I would cut up bits of merino or black yarn for the spots if not using nepps.
- On my viscose side, I would add more black ‘knots’ and carry the decoration throughout the length of the scarf.
This scarf has given me many ideas for other monochrome pieces and more tree like pieces. All in all I am extremely happy with it and will be putting up for sale on my Facebook page.