Monday, 19 March 2012


I have a few bits of wool fabric that I have gathered over the last year or so, I hope to use them in some wall-hanging type quilts.  In my travels round the internet I discovered that to successfully use the wool fabric for applique you need to felt it so it doesn't fray when you stitch it to the background.  Because the wool fabric is so thick you can't really use the needle-turn technique, so it is more usual to blanket stitch or whip stitch the pieces on to the background.

The most common way to felt the wool is to put it in the washing machine on a hot cycle, agitate the fabric until it starts felting, rinse,  spin dry and then throw in the dryer to finish the process.  As I was experimenting with small amounts of fabric, I put my fabric in a bucket, poured boiling water and a little detergent on top and then used a wooden spoon to agitate the fabric, once the water had cooled a little, I used my ruber gloved hands to rub and twist the fabric so it would felt together, then I rinsed it, put it through a spin cycle and then into the dryer, the end result was some felted fabric and some not so felted fabric, (probably because it wasn't pure wool)

This is the start of a block for a wall quilt, I'm just using the bits and pieces of fabrics, ric rac, embroidery thread that I already have, that way if it doesn't work, it won't have cost me anything except time.

This morning I decided to try dyeing some wool, I didn't have any dye but that wasn't going to stop me, so I thought turmeric would work, after all it stains clothes quite well when you spill a bit of curry on them. The fabric on the left is the result, the one on the right is the original colour, I am quite surprised with how yellow it is, I thought it would be more of a paler yellow, as I didn't use very much turmeric at all.  I don't have much green coloured wool, so my next experiment might be with a bit of the blue plaid, at the very least I will get something interesting.


  1. Check out Sue Spargo's blog she's a wonderful wool applique designer.

    I do all my felting in the washing machine. Longest and hottest cycle, about 25 minutes of just washing with woolwash and a pair of old jeans to give more agitation and rubbing. Then a cold rinse and into a cold dryer to soften and get the creases out. Lie it flat on a towel to dry. Works really well.

  2. Great Tips Pip! That chartreuse result is to "die" for.


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