Quilting and sewing tips and tutorials

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Felted wool vs Woolfelt® vs wool felt - what's the difference?

Oh gosh, life can sure get crazy. Last post I promised to show you a new technique, and I will share it with you very soon. I will also share a free project.

First, I thought it might be best to explain some basics about the difference between felted wool, wool felt, and Woolfelt®.  They are all very popular for making stitched projects such as mug rugs, penny rugs, table runners and all manner of cute pincushions, dolls, and adorable stuffed toys, etc.

Of course it all begins with these fuzzy sheep.....that's where wool comes from.


So, what's the difference between felted wool and woolfelt?

Felted wool is created by taking a wool fabric item such as wool yardage, a wool blanket, a wool suit, or wool skirt, and transforming it, by "felting" it. The felting process makes the wool dense, similar to felt.
The wool to be felted, must be at least 80% wool, and should not be worsted wool. Worsted wool is designed not to felt.
Once the wool is "felted" the fabric will not fray hardly at all along the edges. You may get a thread end that peeks out here and there, but only a tiny bit. It does vary with how well it was felted, and the quality of wool used. Here, you can still slightly see the weave of the fabric of these felted wool samples.
Felted wool samples

Using felted wool allows you to create raw edge appliqu├ęs. The appliques are finished with embroidery stitches such as the blanket stitch, stem stitch, feather stitch etc. The applique sample below is finished with blanket stitches.

wool applique by Thistledown and Company
felted wool applique

There are many fine purveyors of felted wool, so you don't have to do the felting process yourself.
Personally, I would rather shop for felted wool, than felt it myself.
Here are a few sites to help get your collection started !

Bird Brain Designs
The Woolery
Moondance Color
Week's Dye Works

Now, what about Woolfelt® or, wool felt?
Felt, regardless of fiber content, is made by pressing fibers together using a combination of pressure, moisture and heat to create a bonded felt textile. It is a not a woven fabric like felted wool is.

Woolfelt® is a brand of felt made by National Nonwovens. They make a large variety of dreamy felt with several options of fiber content. They offer 100% Woolfelt, along with blended felts containing wool, rayon, and even bamboo.
Full disclosure......I am a pattern partner of National Nonwovens and receive product samples from them to design with. That said, I do love their products. They have a large range of luscious colors and I love the consistent quality of their Woolfelt®. It's a real delight to work with with.

Wool felt  (not the brand) is any felt made with wool content.

Here is a closeup of Woolfelt®, you can see there is no woven characteristic to the felt and there are no stray threads along the raw edges seen at the right side of this picture below.
You can achieve a felted wool "puffy" appearance with Woolfelt® by washing it in hot water and drying it in a hot dryer. It will shrink and get a more dimensional (puffy) texture. You can also just use it as is, for a smoother, flat, felt texture.

Woolfelt® sample
 I enjoy working with both Woolfelt®, and felted wool. The texture is wonderful, the colors are divine, and it showcases hand embroidery stitches and decorative machine stitching, beautifully.


If you haven't made a project using wool, give it a try. It's very enjoyable to work with.
I have several patterns available that use wool. Jump over to my Etsy site and take a peek.

Baaa-tik pattern by Thistledown and Company

Next post will have a new technique and project for you......no really. 

Keep stitching.....

Friday, May 20, 2016

Barn quilts...

Hi.... things have been very hectic around here.
My hubby and I just finishing up a remodel on my parents bathroom. We put in a walk-in, tile shower and oh boy, do I need a manicure!

this quilter needs a manicure!

I think I'd rather deal with that than what Jeff is going through. He had hand surgery the day after we finished the tile. Now he's in recuperation mode.

At last Spring is finally springing here. We are enjoying watching the trees bud out and the early wildflowers popping up out of the now thawed soil. 

The birds are busy building their nests and I think I can put away our snow boots.
Hard to believe it's been a year since we made the big move!
took a short road trip to Sturgeon Bay and saw a few great barn quilts.

barn quilt- Wisconsin
Wisconsin Barn Quilt

Wisconsin Barn quilt

barn quilt - wisconsin
Wisconsin Barn Quilt

There is a barn quilt trail map for Wisconsin, though I doubt we'll see them all, there are so many wonderful ones we have seen so far. My hubby is now trained to pull over for barn quilts, along with quilt shops of course.

We did fabulous at our booth at the Winter Quilt Show, everyone loved my demo's for using my Whisperlite tracer/foundation. 
On that note, I will be sharing a new technique with you next week. I call it Wool Smoothies.
By using Whisperlite with woolfelt or felted wool you can create pieced wool projects without the lumps and bumps.
But right now I have to go make supper for everyone.
Apricot chicken is on tap for tonight.....yummm.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Need a good dose of quilting?

If you are running low on quilt related inspiration and you're in the great state of Wisconsin.....
Save the date February 27th and take in the Winter Quilt Show .

It's been a while since I have set up as a vendor at a quilt show. In fact I think the last one was Quilt Market in Houston some years back.
My BFF Karen usually came along to shows as my helper, and I'll miss having her here at this show.
We always had so much fun, and even though it's a lot of work, it's worth it.
I'll be doing a lecture/ demo about my Whisperlite material and all of its uses, including some great stash busting string quilt ideas.

My friend Jessie's string quilt
My dear sister-in- law, Lisa has kindly agreed to be my helper this year, along with my dear husband.
I'm excited to be participating, and getting to know more quilters here in Wisconsin after being away so long.
So, show up if you can, on Saturday the 27th, and immerse yourself in all things quilty. I'm sure there will be lots and lots of lovely quilts to see, and plenty of great vendors to shop.
I know I am always creatively invigorated after a good quilt show. Hope to see you there, or if you're not in the area, I hope there is a quilt show somewhere near to you, for you to enjoy.
Get inspired and quilt!

Quilt market Houston Thistledown and Company
Karen and I at Quilt Market Houston

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

I'm sharing a Throw Back Thursday stitchery. I made this hand embroidered table runner sometime in the '80's.
Wow, I had all but forgotten that I made this piece for my mom.
She pulled it out the linen closet this Thanksgiving to put on the credenza in the dining room.
I was very touched she still had it, let alone, liked it enough to keep it.

Thistledown and Company

I obviously had some time on my hands. I designed the piece, and I should have counted the number of French knots. see green rings) What was I thinking? I was disappointed that it got so wrinkly in the center, of course, I've gotten more wrinkly too. LOL
I must have hooped it wrong. Oh well, I'm not about to do it over.

hand embroidery Thistledown and company
French Knot frenzy

I must say though, that I got pretty good at French knots by the time I was done.

 I've always enjoyed hand embroidery, and besides this piece I have done pillowcases, redwork quilts,
Crazy quilts, and of course stitching on felted wool and woolfelt in many forms.
This is my Berry Cherry pattern.....more French knots!

I really enjoy blanket stitching by hand too, but it is also nice that a lot of sewing machines have blanket stitching as a choice.  I know not everyone enjoys hand stitching.
Question......Do you enjoy doing hand embroidery? Have you checked out Sue Spargo's work? It is wonderful. I love her designs and the great variety of stitches she uses.
Did you just start doing hand embroidery, or, have you been hand embroidering for a long time?
What's your favorite stitch?

May your threads stay untangled,

Berry Cherry pattern by Thistledown and Company
Berry Cherry Penny Rug