Wool sampler prototype piece part one. Embellishment will be presented in part two and quilting and finishing in part three.
Wool applique and embellishment is a great tool in a fabric artist’s quiver. There’s nothing else that provides the rich, warm, depth that real wool fiber does. It can make all the difference in achieving the artistic look you want. In my artist’s eye it compares to working with thick oil paints while cotton or silk is like watercolors. Both are beautiful but achieve totally different looks. Both require different techniques to get the best results.
So using a small project in wool applique I am finally launching my first video set in my YouTube channel. Here is the link to the new video. I have plans for multiple videos on my channel this year, and have just revamped my studio to include the things I need for producing them. So I would love you to subscribe to my channel and enjoy my videos just as a matter of interest or especially to join me in working through the projects you like. See the handout and pattern pdfs on my Aids and Links page here on this site for you to download and print out. Then go to my YouTube video here.
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Here is a list of the supplies with links that I will be using in this first project to which I have added links to help you in your shopping for the supplies:
1 yard of background fabric. I am using all wool Melton, which I had in my stash. Since the price of wool has skyrocketed since I filled my stash with it, I suggest using a melton wool blend for this, which is less expensive and still has a lot of the same characteristics and depth of beauty. Here’s another link at B. Black tailoring supplies, which is a fabulous store that has things that are difficult to find elsewhere. A solid color quilting fabric would also work but will not provide the same deep sense of richness.
There is another option. Use wool clothing that is no longer worn, or that you find in a thrift store, or use pure wool fabrics you have stashed under your bed in those storage boxes you put your clothing fabrics in. You may have had it for a decade and still haven’t made that garment you bought it for, like me. Cut the clothing so you get the largest pieces from them and wash your wool in hot water with some detergent in your washing machine and dry it in your dryer. This provides some amount of felting and cleans the fabric. It is also possible to dye this. It requires all three elements…hot water, agitation, and detergent, to make it do a bit of felting the fibers together. It does need to be pure wool for this to work well. The resulting fabric is also easy to dye in your washer.
One package of lightweight woven fusible interfacing sufficient to cover the yard of background fabric, such as Pellon SF101 Shapeflex
One pack of precut melton wool felt pieces in a variety of colors for flower heads and a pack of a variety of green pieces for stems and leaves. You will probably have enough felt pieces for a couple of small wall hangings or other wool applique projects. Be sure to save all the leftovers for small applique uses elsewhere. Please don’t use craft felt not made with any wool. The comparison is like using paper to fabric. You can use wool blend felt, but pure wool really makes a big difference in how this looks.
Aurifil 12 weight wool blend thread (small spool collection) or (large spool collection..the best value by the yard) or three or four colors of the large spools. If you prefer to use a 12 weight cotton as a slightly cheaper alternative I recommend Sulky 12 weight cotton, for this project, it will still look beautiful, just different and not quite as close to hand done that the wool thread will provide. I have even successfully used 40 weight all poly embroidery threads, and I sometimes have mixed them across a project in order to get particular looks or colors. The wool adds a depth of beauty and is probably what most hand stitchers would use. You should do some testing to see how they look.
1 black 12 weight Aurifil wool thread or Sulky 12 weight cotton for outlining.
1 spool of Superior monopoly or multiple colors matching the applique fabrics of light weight threads such as 6o to 100 weight polyesters or silks. I used both the monopoly and 100 weight threads.
2 packs of fusible web. I used Steam a Seam2 for my project and it works well.
1oo/16 top stitch needles
universal 80/12 needles if you choose to use monopoly thread for your appliques. I found the Schmetz super non stick needles really helps with dealing with the fluff from wool combined with the fusible web.
1 piece of backing fabric about 25 x 25 inches (for the back of this small quilt) This is a good thing to pull from your existing stash.
Small piece of lower loft batting about 25 x 25 inches. I am using 80/20. This is a good place to use leftover batting from a larger quilt project.
Bohin mechanical chalk pencil to mark the wool with, if needed.
And whenever I use fusibles, I like to have on hand this effective iron cleaning kit good for multiple cleanings that I have successfully used for years: Rowenta Iron cleaning kit
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While you can print the pattern out and use it to cut out your appliques, I did cut all my appliques using my Accuquilt Go! machine, which I really like for such projects. I have had mine for some years, collecting dies a bit at a time, and use it a lot for circles, rectangles, strips, bindings and borders and projects such as this. In my opinion, it is well worth the investment required. I can cut out a simple snuggle lap or crib quilt of squares and a border (prestarched) with a few fun appliques to snazz it up (backed with steam-a-seam 2) in ten minutes (after the fabric is pressed with starch) and make the quilt top all in the same day. Everything is nice and accurate too, very unlike it looks if I do my own cutting. Hahaha.
I used the following three dies for this project and it only took a few minutes for all the shapes I needed with some leftovers:
Go Circle (1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″) it’s so hard to hand cut good circles. These are beautiful. If you can only get one dye set for this project, this might be it.
Go Round Flower
Go Stems and Leaves
Sew happy everyone! Let’s get started. Please feel free to ask questions using comments here or on the YouTube channel.