Tutorial Tuesday: “As You Wish” Wool

Tutorial Tuesdays header

Of all the things that drew us to wool – The feel of the wool. The vibrant colors. The projects – most of all, we loved the “as you wish” possibilities we kept reading in the instructions. And we were pleasantly surprised at the not-too-steep learning curve – because we thought we had LOTS to learn as we ventured into the new (to us) territory of wool … angora wool, merino wool, worsted wool, over-dyed wool, boiled wool, felted wool.

THE FELTED WOOL

The felted or not felted quality of wool is a major consideration since the felting process eliminates fraying – which means you will have clean-cut edges to work with.  Maybe the most surprising factoid for us was learning that some felt comes from this

water bottle

Yes that really is a plastic bottle. Recycled it can become (not so soft) felt!

and some comes from this.

sheep

You can feel the difference immediately if a real, live sheep once worn the wool!

That would explain why you can pay $3 per yard or you can pay $30 per yard – if you so wish.

That price mark may cause you to felt your own wool. And you can – if you so wish.

Before you try to felt wool, it will help to know if the piece is in fact 100% wool. We discovered that you can find this out if you put a small piece of the fabric in 100% bleach overnight. If it’s pure wool, the bleach will eat it. It will be gone in the morning. If something remains in the bleach then you know that your felting process may not be as successful with that piece of fabric.

The other thing that may cause a felting fail is if the fibers of the wool have been pre-shrunk before they are woven into the fabric. They won’t shrink again. I’m going to find out soon if this piece will felt up nicely or if it is destined to stay in this loose weave forever.

loose weave wool

Something about the subtle teal in this really appeals to me.

Felting isn’t difficult. [You can read a more detailed account HERE.]

Three components of felting:

  1. hot soapy water – just a tiny, little bit of blue Dawn may be your best bet
  2. agitation – the less water, the more agitation
  3. hot drying – watch your dryer filter due to the amazing amount of lint produced
boiled orange wool

You might try boiling the wool which will give you a more bumpy texture like this.

Fortunately, some things are very familiar in this wonderful world of all things wool. Many of the tools are familiar, many of the stitching techniques are familiar and when we do encounter new things, we also encounter the phrase “as you wish” rather than hard and fast rules.

THE TOOLS

greezer paper

freezer paper from that exclusive shop where you buy groceries

pen

for marking the placement of multiple layers – and it will come off

glue

to hold the pieces in place while you stitch and to stop the fraying in loosely woven or non-felted wool

needles

sharp end and big holes

needle threaders

Threaders have been our stitching helpers a long time.

thread conditioner

Thread conditioner eliminates knotting and twisting. Smooooooth stitching indeed!

thread

So many textures and weights of thread to choose from!

THE PROCESS

  1. Transfer the pattern onto freezer paper
  2. Rough cut the pattern out
  3. Iron to the wool – waxy side down
  4. Cut on pattern line & remove the freezer paper pattern
  5. Attach to the background fabric – small amount of glue
  6. Choose your thread: embroidery, Perle cotton, wool, silk – 1-3 strands as you wish. Contrasting thread or same color as wool as you wish. The smaller the pattern piece, the lighter weight the thread.
  7. Stitch in place as you wish: blanket / buttonhole stitch (not too tight), whip stitch (use regular thread if you want to have it disappear into the fabric), running stitch, cross stitch, French knots.

THE PROJECTS

… are endless. Almost any of our applique projects can be made with wool – on a wool background or on flannel or on cotton. But we are really happy to show you our Seasons at My Window Autumn Post Cards.

Seasons PC October Pumpkin Tea Cozy outside front only

Tea Cozy – lined with flannel

 

Table Mat – wool with felted wool acorns

 

fall towel

flannel towel with felt accents

 

as you wish!!!

 

 

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