Wool Stitch Along and Making Wool Felt

Our first project for Autumn Jubilee begins today with a stitch along using wool felt.  I thought you’d like to see how to use found wool fabrics, like in garments from the thrift store or yardage from a shop.  Some time ago I got these lovely wool fabrics at a local shop with the intention of using them in applique.  They have finished the aging process (you know, where things sit on a shelf for at least a year before being used!) and I was finally ready to prep them for a wool project for Autumn Jubilee.  If you want to skip this step, scroll down for the pattern for the stitch along and the entry for the giveaway for today.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I cannot use them as they are because the fibers aren’t tightly woven and ravel like crazy.  Just handling them for a photo resulted in this!

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I did some research and settled on this method of felting the wool so it would no longer ravel, and be suitable for applique.  I got out my big red pot that I designate for boiling things that aren’t food.  It holds about 2 gallons of water, and to that I added 1/4-cup of vinegar to help set the colors.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Boiling the water, the fabrics were put in one at a time starting with the lightest one in case the colors ran.  I used tongs to handle them, pushing the fabric into the boiling water.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Getting the fabric wet all over, the water settled for a moment.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

It quickly came back to a full boil.  I left each fabric in the boiling water for 5 minutes.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Using the tongs, each one was lifted from the water, and the excess allowed to drain back into the pot.  I used a second set of tongs to wring out what I could, placing the fabric in a bowl to cool off while the next one was boiled.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Each one was boiled five minutes, ending with the darkest color.  There was really very little color in the water which was a good thing.  I’m not sure if the vinegar was responsible for keeping the colors stable, or if it is just the quality of the wool I purchased.  Either way, they were all done in a half hour.  I spread them out in the sink to cool off enough so I could handle them, and wring out most of the water.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Then they were thrown into the dryer with a towel.  The dryer was set to the hottest temperature it has, and they were tumbled until thoroughly dry.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

These strings were left on the edge, but pulling on them didn’t do anything.  The wool was drawn up and fluffed to the point that no further raveling could occur.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Now look, the wool is more fluffy and thicker, perfect for applique.  The colors are still good, and it seems that they will work nicely for the project I planned for Autumn Jubilee.  I would use this same procedure to felt wool clothing items from the thrift store too.  I would cut the garments apart first to discard the unusable parts, and only treat the pieces large enough for use.

Felting Wool at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Getting out my other wool colors, I decided on the oranges for the large pumpkin I’ve designed to be stitched onto a 9-inch square.  We’ll embellish it and add some words in two weeks.  Then we’ll mount it on a 12-inch wool base, and do the final finishing.

The second page of the pattern has the pieces individually, with some dotted lines indicating the overlap area, which goes behind the next piece. Work the pumpkin in order starting with the stem, adding piece A then B1, then B2, and so on. Pieces marked B1 and B2 are the same wool color, as are the two C pieces. This means you need five colors for your pumpkin to do it like mine. But feel free to duplicate colors however you like.  You could use browns or whites if you like.

Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

I cut out all the pattern pieces and arranged them on wools, going from lighter to darker A to E for the most part.  Cut one stem and three leaves.

Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

Then digging out the DMC floss, the colors were chosen for whip stitching. You can use a whip stitch with two strands of DMC as I do, or a blanket stitch if you like. It’s your pumpkin!

Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

We will work the pumpkin on a 9-inch square of background wool. Arrange the pieces to be sure you are starting in a good place for the final placement near the bottom right corner.  I cut my background just a bit big and will cut it to the final size after the stitching is done.

Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

Begin with the stem, stitch it in place.  Then place piece A overlapping the bottom of the stem, and stitch.

Autumn Jubilee Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

Add B1 and B2, and stitch those.  Be sure to overlap the pieces.

Autumn Jubilee Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

Add C1 and C2, stitch down.

Autumn Jubilee Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

Continue with D and E.

Autumn Jubilee Wool Stitch Along at From My Carolina Home

You have two weeks to get to this point.  When we come back to the Stitch Along, we will embellish and finish.  Here’s the pattern – Wool Stitch Along Pattern

Just so you know, if you have a blog, you can earn extra entries in the drawings once a week by blogging about Autumn Jubilee.  This week, blog about the kickoff or any post this week for additional chances in one of this week’s drawings.  Blog about your progress in upcoming weeks for extra entries in future drawings.

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop!!  The lucky winner will receive a $50 Gift Certificate, and it is open to anyone anywhere in the world!  Click on the Giveaway button to enter via Rafflecopter.  Check out FQS’s Woolies line of fabrics.   What would you wish for from Fat Quarter Shop?  Entries close Oct 9th at 11:59 pm.

If you are new to Rafflecopter, just click on the picture above, click on “use your email” to enter your name and email to open the entries.  I need your name and email to contact you if you win, but your email will not be shared or used for any other purpose.  After that each entry will have its own instructions, like leave a comment or click to visit a page.  For example, you might visit the sponsor’s website or a facebook page (which will open in a new tab), then come back and click “I visited” to register your entry for that option.

Good luck!!  Be sure to share your progress on our sharing groups!

What would you wish for from Fat Quarter Shop?  Are you stitching along?

PS!! Wanna win more cool stuff?  Jolly Jabber, the FQS blog, is sponsoring a Mega Quilt Market Sweepstakes!  See the Jolly Jabber blog to enter, deadline is October 26th!!

AND, I just found out about a month of free wool pattern giveaways on the Wooly Block Adventure sponsored by the Row By Row Experience.  Every other day, two shops will be features with a free pattern download.  Get it while it is up, because it is only available for two days, then it is gone and the next two are posted. Click on Wooly Block Adventure!  And keep going back every other day, the event runs through the months of October and November.

Sharing – Slow Sunday Stitching

84 thoughts on “Wool Stitch Along and Making Wool Felt

  1. CAROL S NELMS

    I have a small wool stash and will someday use them! I have a good size wish list at FQS and when there is a good flash sale, buy it and something from my wishlist. Mostly fabrics on my wishlist.

  2. Debra Miller

    I also buy wool clothing from thrift shops but I wash mine on the hottest setting with detergent before drying, also on the hottest setting.

  3. nicolaC

    I have never tried quilting with woolen fabrics but i am a beginner and would love to try. i would love to try a jelly roll race quilt.

  4. Carol Kennedy

    I like your pumpkin! Need to finish up the one I started last year before I can start another, though. Because I need another project – the WIP pile isn’t quite tall enough yet. 😉

  5. This is going to be beautiful, I can tell already! If I were to choose something from the FQS, I think it would be a selection of blenders, like tone-on-tones, because, while I am attracted to figured prints, when you go to put a block together, sometimes they don’t play so nicely with each other! Can’t wait to see the finishing details on this block.

  6. I love most of the offerings from FQS, and I guess I’ll be needing some woolies since we’re going to learn some basic stitching with wool from the expert quilter in our ministry group next month! So this project fits right in!

  7. That is so cute. I have “accidentally” made wool in the past, but not intentionally. lol This looks like it will be a fun project. I’m sure if I won, I would buy fabrics – maybe some of the Macaw batiks.

  8. Cheryl B

    I have done one felted wool project and ready to try another. The pumpkin is extra cute so will be following this for sure. Thank you

  9. lv2bquilting2

    Good morning Carole….I thoroughly enjoyed your felted wool instructions, even though it is not something I would do. You are very helpful, giving precise direction, along with pictures, and reasons why, when called for. You must have been a teacher in another life! Enjoy your day.

  10. Hi Carole! Well, who knew that would stop wool from raveling. That is just the coolest thing I’ve read today. And it looks so beautiful as your pumpkin! I want those exact same fabrics . . . ~smile~ Roseanne

  11. Christine Y

    I love it so cute! Thank you for all the info on using reclaimed wool. I have yet to try my hand at will applique. Maybe in the near future.

  12. Barbara Dzurik

    Carole, I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing! I also admire your generosity of time and talent and resources to help out others.

  13. Loris Mills

    Lovely! I have some “aged” wools too. Thank you for detailing your felting process. That is quite helpful. I love pumpkins and this is a wonderful pattern for one. How can I not want to join in 🙂

  14. Kris Bryant

    I’ve got my eye on too many l things to list from FQS, like kitchen window wovens, and urban cottage and the new blue primo plaids.

  15. Laura M

    I love Zen Chic modern background. Have been oogling for a long time and have many ideas to use.
    Thanks for the felted wool tutorial.

  16. Dian

    You are one busy person with so many great great events that you are administering. Love the unique pumpkin design and the tute on boiling wool. Just wondering if you or anyone else has ideas for making a wool pad for ironing quilt blocks etc? Off to collect some wool for this wonderful
    project.

  17. I have been wondering how to start with woolies. This is a great post, thank you so much. It is easier to start out with thrift store wool and go from there. I am excited now 🙂

  18. Lynne Mulder

    I would love to try wool sometime. Maybe that should be on my FQS wishlist. I love their grab bags, it is a weakness!

  19. Lisa Marie

    One thing I’m wishing for from FQS is Modern Background Paper Silver on White XOXO Yardage. This tutorial on felting wool was very interesting, thanks for sharing. That is something I might like to try. Your pumpkin is so lovely!

  20. Melanie

    A fat quarter bundle would be on my shopping list! Thanks, Carole, for your intro into the Autumn Jubilee pumpkin project. I’m in!

  21. dezertsuz

    That’s a great pumpkin! I may borrow it for a project I’m planning, if that’s okay with you? LMK Credit given, of course, and no problem if it isn’t okay. I like the crazy shapes it has. Thanks for this information about how you felted the wool. I always just throw it in the washer on hot water, without soap and run it through one wash cycle, then dry it on hot. I never thought about the vinegar! What fun this fall jubilee always is. I almost missed this because I’m so behind! Thank you for your great ideas.

    1. dezertsuz

      Oops, and I forgot about FQS! I like their Sew Samplers, but I can’t do them right now. Not that I need more fabric, of course, but they do have nifty notions.

  22. farmquilter

    Thank you for teaching me how to felt wool!! I haven’t worked with it because I’m allergic to it, but maybe after felting I will be able to. I love everything at FQS but since I’m a SABLE and I’m getting older, I would choose a new light so I can really see what I am doing!

  23. Christi

    How fun. This is exactly how my Grandmother did her wool some 50 years ago. I would buy Caroline Hulse Edition No. 1 Fat Quarter Bundle includes 10 fat quarters. I love the new Art Gallery bundles.

  24. Pam S

    I’m going to get out my wool this weekend! I love the pumpkin! Thank you for sharing this, and thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for the generous giveaway. I’d love to order all the colors of mesh and fold-over elastic that FQS has for bag-making.

  25. Happy

    I have a very long wishlist on the FQS! But at the top of the list would be any basic neutrals as well as the Mon Beau Jardin collection

  26. Thanks for the tutorial on felting, not difficult, and makes things easy to appliqué. I love this pumpkin! I may have to see about over dying some wool scraps and giving it a go! FQS has so many lovely fabrics…I think I would get some fat quarters in colors I don’t usually have on hand.

  27. Patricia Evans

    I don’t shop the Fat Quarter Shop, so I don’t really have a wish list, but I might buy something from the Modern Backgrounds Colorbox collection. I also haven’t gotten into wool appliques. I need to use up the rest of the stash before starting to collect something new.

  28. Sharon Schipper

    Let us know where to purchase smaller wool pieces: I find yardage on line, and 5″ cuts, but nothing like fat quarters? I’ve looked at fat quarter shop as well. Nancy’s has a layer cake that I may go to just for a few projects?

    My daughter and I will hit the thrift shops this weekend. Men’s suits? thanks! great project, I love pumpkins

  29. Your little felted wool pumpkin is sweet. Thank you for the ‘how to’ of making felted wool fabric. Just visiting from Slow Sunday Stitching. Please don’t enter me in your giveaway……I just wanted to say how lovely your little pumpkin is. =)

  30. I love that pumpkin. Thanks for the felting tutorial. I have never done that. I would probably choose a fat quarter pack to use in the future….or maybe some fabric to use to make a quilt for my daughter and her fiance!

  31. louverna

    Some shops sell wool that is already felted. (fat quarters, fat eighths, etc.) Generally if you buy wool off the bolt you need to felt it before using. Be sure and CLEAN the LINT TRAP on your dryer after drying the wool each time! There is a lot of lint!!
    Working with wool is so much fun and easy to do.

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