Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wool Lovers Tips, Tricks, and a Winner!

Hello everyone - I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  As promised today I will announce the winner of the Wool Lovers Blog Hop Giveaway!

Thanks again to all those that visited, offered the most gracious comments, and decided to follow my blog!  Your kind words are very much appreciated and it's exciting to read so much positive feedback for wool.

Several of you asked basic questions about working with wool.  Using this cute little wall hanging (appx 9" x 3") that I designed and made for a friend, I would like to share a few wool applique basics.  Feel free to duplicate this pattern for your personal use or a gift if you like -- it is FUN to make and can be done in a range of colors!

 Wool RULES!
  1. When you first start out:
    • Choose a small project
    • Acquire wool at your local 2nd hand shop.  Look for 100% wool sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and other wool items.
    • Don't worry about stitch perfection -- wool is often used in primitive projects -- and perfection is not the goal -- it's hand made!
    • My favorite thread for wool applique is Aurifil 12wt/2ply in either cotton or wool.  No 12wt on hand, 2 strands of Aurifil 28wt works wonderfully too.  Use a Bohin Crewel/Embroidery Needle Size 5 or a Clover Gold Eye Chenille Needle (No 22).
  2. To felt (or "full") your 2nd hand wool pieces, wash in hot water and dry on high heat.
  3. Once woven wool is felted/fulled properly it should cut without fraying - making wool quick and easy to applique.  No need to turn the edge under and you can get by without using glue or fusible products.
  4. To cut a design out of wool -- use freezer paper!
    • Trace your design or template onto the dull (paper) side of your freezer paper (no need to reverse the design)
    • Cut the freezer paper template out, adding no more than a 1/4 inch allowance around the outside of the traced design. 
    • Iron the freezer paper onto the right side of your felted wool (use a medium heat dry iron).  
    • Cut through the wool and the freezer paper along the traced design.
    • Peel the freezer paper away from the wool.
  5. To attach your newly cut wool piece to the background (cotton, wool, flannel or any other type of background), try a wool felting needle (thanks Doreen and Janet).  This will hold the wool piece in place while you blanket or overhand stitch the wool to the background.   You may choose to glue it in place -- but personally I try to avoid using glue or fusible products on my wool projects.
  6. Ready to stitch ?  I flip flop between an overhand stitch and a blanket stitch.  If the wool edge is showing any signs of fraying I will opt to use a blanket stitch, as it reduces the chance that the wool will continue to fray.  Otherwise, a simple overhand stitch will work.    
  7. If you are layering wool pieces (like the flower below), consider layering it from the top piece down before attaching the layered piece

    to the background -- then you won't have to stitch through layers and layers of wool.  Once all the layers are placed, stitch it to the background fabric.
  8. More on stitches -- because the edge of wool shouldn't fray -- consider attaching some of your wool pieces with a decorative stitch -- avoiding any stitch along the outside edge.  See the berries? It's OK!
  9. Even more on stitches -- Thread -- I use a variety of threads when I am stitching and choose a color that best compliments my wool.  Some choices are:  Aurifil Mako 12Wt Cotton, Aurifil 12wt Lana Wool, a few strands of Aurifil Cotton Floss or 2 strands of Aurifil 28Wt Cotton. As you become more experienced with wool applique you will invest in more colors and more high quality threads like #Aurifil or #Valdani Perle Cotton in Size 8 or 1.
  10. Wool does not always need a center batting - think about how it will be used.  If you want a warm snugly piece add batting.  For a wall hanging or a small gift, batting may not be required.  Also consider the quilting method you are going to use.  Batting will certainly add to the dimension of your piece as well as the thickness that needs to fit under your machine.
For more of my Wool Applique Tips, Tricks and Tutorials visit these links:

Do these tips help ?

Would you like a more detailed tutorial for this project ?

Leave me a comment letting me know.

Now, onto the WINNER !!   As of 9:30pm there were 105 comments on the original post!  Woohoo!

Using Mr. Random Number Generator with a range of 1 to 105...  Lucky 16 is the winner!!

Counting 16 comments down from the top (where the 1st person to comment on the post was #1):

Congratulations "Wendy B" !  You've won wool roving to make for Mr. Redbird along with 5 swatches of fall wool pieces.   Please send me your mailing information and I'll get your package shipped out right away!

I hope you've all enjoyed today's post -- special thanks to my friend and mentor Debbie Wick for teaching me to work with wool.

Keep an eye out on the Winter issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects Magazine -- Debbie's "Pomegranate Holiday" Wool/Cotton table mat is featured !  It is just beautiful!  If you have access to Facebook you can see it here!   Congratulations Debbie!

Have a wonderful week all -- I'll be back later this week with some exciting news!



  1. This is great ( all the tips! :) Thank you! I answered you on my blog about the bird fabric but came over here just in case : ) karen I got it at JoAnn Fabrics and I am pretty sure it was Legacy studios ( the part on the selvage that tells you is gone but I am about 90% sure that it was Legacy and I think I’d bought a yard when they had one of their big sales with the coupons and all : )

    1. Thanks so much Deb - I just love the little pillow - appreciate the inspiration! Thanks for stopping over... :)

  2. Wow! That's such a great use of secondhand treasures! Beautiful!

    Thanks so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  3. good post and good information - I love wool and have a big box of it ready to do something with - you are inspiring me to actually take it our and do it.
    So many quilts, so little time :-)
    I am going to start following to help you to nudge me to get my butt into some hand work of which working with wool is a fave - thank you

  4. Thanks for a great tutorial, Karen! Whoop whoop!!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I have always been curious about wool applique, and know next to nothing about it... I will be referencing your tutorial for sure!

  6. Great tips and now I know how I can use my felted (accidentally) wool

  7. thanks for these tips-I pinned this too on my all things wool board