Is it Wool Felt or Felted Wool?

What’s the difference between wool felt & felted wool? Both are made from the same ingredients, wool roving, but they are created very different.

It starts with fiber that has been sheered from an animal…most often a sheep.

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Hello!!!

These fibers are then cleaned and carded (the process of breaking up unorganized clumps of fiber and realigning them). The result is what we call wool roving. Now here’s where each textile takes a different path.

WOOL FELT

Wool Felt is a non-woven textile. There is no thread or weaving involved in the making of it. It originates as wool roving and by adding heat, moisture and agitation, the roving compacts and matts together tightly to form what we refer to as pure wool felt.

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There is no weaving structure to the fabric.

Wool felt blends are also made using the process described above but with a combination of wool fibers and those from another material. The most common combination is wool and rayon, a non-synthetic man-made fiber derived from wood pulp. Rayon’s properties are similar to those of cotton and linen, making it an excellent choice for wool blends.

Nationalnonwovens is a company that I buy a lot of my wool felt from https://www.nationalnonwovens.com/Applications/Arts.html

FELTED WOOL

Felted Wool is a woven textile. There is thread and weaving involved. Like wool felt, it originates as wool roving, but the roving is spun into thread after being cleaned and carded. This thread is then woven into wool cloth, which is washed in hot water and dried on high heat to emulate the “add heat, moisture and agitation” process used to make wool felt. This process turns wool fabric into felted wool.

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This felted wool then becomes a solid piece of fabric that you can cut without fraying. Some wool felts harder and more dense then others. So you would have to decide what type of project you are making. A fabric that is not tightly felted would not be good for cutting small applique shapes out of as it would have a tendency to fray.

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Wool roving is also spun into yarn, which is used for knitting wool sweaters and accessories such as scarves and mittens. You can “felt” these knitted items as well but regardless of your wash/dry temperatures, they will not compact as tightly as wool fabric woven from thread. A good rule of thumb when looking for wool garments at the thrift store it that the item is made from 80% wool or more.

WHICH ONE SHOULD I USE?

I have used both. Wool felt is soft yet strong and comes in a variety of colors. It is also more economical to purchase then wool fabric. Felted wool comes in many colors and patterns. It is however, more expensive but the choices in patterns are more. I use both sometimes in a piece…whatever works with the project I am working on. There are some ladies who prefer their wool applique to be authentic; all done in felted wool all.

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I hope this information helps clear the confusion!

Happy Creating!

Anita

William Morris

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

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Beginning in Britain around 1880, the Arts and Crafts movement was born from the values of people concerned about the effects of industrialization on design and traditional craft. In response, architects, designers, craftsmen, and artists turned to new ways of living and working, pioneering new approaches to create decorative arts.

One of the most influential figures during this time was William Morris, who actively promoted the joy of craftsmanship and the beauty of the nature. Having produced over 50 wallpaper designs throughout his career, Morris became an internationally renowned designer and manufacturer. Other creatives such as architects, painters, sculptors and designers began to take up his ideas. They began a unified art and craft approach to design, which soon spread across Europe and America.

Strawberry Thief 1880 designed by William Morris. One of his most iconic designs.The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris

Born in Walthamstow, East London in March 1834, William Morris was a poet, artist, philosopher, typographer, political theorist, and arguably the most celebrated designer of the Arts & Crafts movement. He strived to protect and revive the traditional techniques of handmade production that were being replaced by machines during the Victorian era’s Industrial Revolution.

As a designer, William created many wallpaper designs. Inspired by nature, Morris’ designs feature leaves, vines, and flowers that he observed in his gardens or on walks in the countryside. Rather than life-like illustrations, his drawings are subtly stylized versions.

The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris                      The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris

My love of William Morris and the arts and crafts movement began when I became an Occupational Therapist. I learned that;

“By the turn of the 20th century, the arts-and-crafts movement’s advocates formed a network which reached across America. Proponents were eager reformers celebrating nature, authentic experience, and honest design. Like their British contemporaries, they displayed a patrician contempt for the system of mass production, which was keyed to lower class tastes. They advocated the use of natural materials and processes and the purchase and use of hand-made items that were straightforward and simple in design. Indeed, for some advocates, the arts-and-crafts movement meant quality of design as much as quality of life.”

There were physicians who argued the whole mind body connection in healing was being overlooked. People suffering from Neurasthenia were not being treated properly and this malady was being linked to the strain of American life. Dr. Herbert Hall started a work cure method for treatment of these type of patients.  This would take the place of the traditional bed rest treatment. He would draw his principles directly from the Arts & Crafts movement philosophies;  …maintained that machines and factory work limited human happiness. He urged a return to simpler ways of life where experience was “more authentic” because less complicated by modern bureaucratic and industrial structures.”

Two other physicians, Adolph Meyer and William Rush Dunton (more on him another time) also joined Hall in his discussion of humanizing treatment of the chronically ill. Others in this time period also came on board and became standard names in my Occupational Therapy history courses.

The Arts-and-Crafts Origins in Occupational Therapy

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Early occupational therapy practice combined the therapeutic and medical with the diversional and recreational use of activities. One of the earliest sources of overlap between these applications was the sheltered workshop. Hall and other physicians championed the development of sheltered workshops where patients produced carefully designed, well-made objects such as hand towels, ceramic vases, and cement pots. The craft objects were sold in shops that had three purposes-to employ talented people who could earn a living by making authentic objects, to give spiritual support to craftspeople who pursued crafts as an avocation, and to help employ the mentally and physically handicapped (“Craftsmanship,” 1906; Evans, 1974; Roorbach, 1913; Simkhovitch, 1906).

For 20 years I taught Introduction to Occupational Therapy to my first year students. It was always exciting to revisit this rich history. Then I discovered Michelle Hill. She was a quilter who took inspiration from William Morris and his designs and created her own quilt designs.

William Morris in Applique      More William Morris Applique

UREEKA!! What a way to incorporate my love of the Arts & Crafts movement and applique, especially using my hand-dyed wool!

Now that I am retired I can delve deeper into this art form. Recently I completed a small quilt I hung on my wall using William Morris Christmas fabrics.

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I am continuing to study his work and my next project will have wool applique in it. Who knew my love of crafts would lead me to Occupational therapy and William Morris and back to crafts.  I have come full circle!

Happy Creating! Anita

Yarn Bombing

Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art done with yarn, either crochet or knit. So the question asked; is it art or vandalism? Technically it is illegal as with any other graffiti. However, it is rarely enforced.

There are many places one can find this art. Most of the time it is seen in cities…

Park benches:bench

Trees:  trees

PIPES

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I recently watched a video of a yarn bomber, London Kaye. She was interviewed on CBS news http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/how-one-yarn-bomber-is-redefining-street-art/

WOW!!!steps         BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Picture: Collect A more gentle than traditional Guerilla art campaign is spreading across the globe - 'Yarn bombing' involves women leaving knitted reminders on objects as varied as trees, lampposts & even a bus. The craze that started in America has now spread to the UK with the 'artist' taking pictures of their work and putting them on the internet. Magda Sayeg from the all female guerilla knitting group 'Knitta Please' has covered an entire bus in Mexico City

Here is a simple project I might try…chair

It would be a fun way to use up bit of yarn. Kind of like free form crochet!

So I would love to hear what you think. It is art or just another form of vandalism?

Happy Creating! Anita

 

Husband and Wife passions!

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This is my husband. His passion…being in the outdoors, especially on the farm. He absolutely loves tractors and working on them. He was so proud when he finally finished his restorations on this model and could put her to work (yeah!!!, I don’t know why they refer to them as a “her”?). As you can see his favorite color is also red. I have to confess though he loves them all; we even have some yellow in the collection.

He can spend hours in the garage working on just one tiny aspect of putting something back together. Why? I guess that is the age-old question. I asked him once why he loved working on these old things. He said “It’s a challenge! I like to make things work better then they did when I got them”.

He is working on his last big project for now. Things have changed in our life and we will slowly be downsizing the farm. That’s OK though because his next love is fishing and hunting. Fishing always takes a back seat because of the farm work in the spring an summer. He is sooooooooo… looking forward to more fishing.

We used to fish a lot when we were going together. Trout, salmon on Lake Erie, bull head (fishing at night!), and northern pike. We went all over.

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This is my passion! Isn’t it cute 🙂

I love all fiber but mostly wool. Every since my Dad got that first sheep when we were kids I have loved them. cheviot

I always wanted to raise sheep. As I have gotten older I can see it may be easier and more economical to purchase wool already shorn from the animal…LOL We’ve raised horses and beef cattle but now sheep. My husband is not enthusiastic about it as they raised them when he was a young kid. Our horses; Star, Molly & Garnet, are all gone now, just cows.

When we were first married I moved in with my husband on his father’s farm. My dowry was a pig, “Miss Piggy” and two chickens. One named “Miss Priss” and the other one did not have a name. My father-in-la made me a beautiful chicken coop (notice I did not say husband!). It was quite a palace…LOL My mother-in-law continued to use it for years after I left. She loved her chickens.

Sorry, I got a little off topic there…Anyway, I love everything about wool. I love dyeing it, spinning it, felting it and of course knitting or weaving with it!

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There are so many possibilities with it in it’s raw state. However, my first real introduction to it was using wool fabric. I love the look of applique quilts but I did not have the patience for doing all that turning under! That is when I discovered wool applique. (More on this another time).heart-applique-2

So back to passion. What exactly is it? The dictionary defines it as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. I guess that applies to my husband and I, but what keeps us doing it over and over again? For that answer I went back to my Occupational Therapy knowledge (Did you know OT   celebrates 100 years as profession this year!)             1950-coal-miner-occupational-therapy-rehab-kp-vallejo2

Mihaly Csikszentmihályi, psychologist. https://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow

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Happy looking fellow!

Mihaly is someone we reference a lot in OT. He recognized the state of flow during some of his research. What is flow? Also known as the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It’s about getting lost in what you are doing. You lose all track of time and even the feeling of hunger (OMG maybe lose some weight!) or being tired.

WOW! I have experienced this many times. I will get onto an idea about something and I come out from the sewing room and find my husband has gone to bed (at least he leaves one light on for me)…where did the time go? It is in those moments that I feel most productive and accomplished!I’m not sure how long one could stay in that state. Days? Weeks???

So I guess the bottom line is you first have to really love something (passion) to keep you doing it for an unconsciously long period of time (flow). Yep! that sounds about right…

Please tell me your story about passion or flow. What get’s you excited and lost in time? I would love to hear.

Happy creating! Anita

A New Year

Happy 2017!

Today I take flight on a new year. It will be one of anticipated change! Change is not easy but I am looking forward to the new year. First, I begin my last semester of teaching at the university and start preparations for the next chapter on my life’s journey. I need to start cleaning house and downsizing!!!! So I decided that I needed to create a new website that I could personally manage. I hope all goes well with that. I am not very technically literate…LOL  What to call the website? My original business name was Anita’s Homespun Treasures. Many people found that a mouthful and over the years people and companies dropped the Treasures…For awhile I thought my name should be ALHDesigns…I have always liked the way that sounds. However did that really fit with my identity? Oh what to do? Why should this be such a difficulty thing? Most people know what they want to be called. So after much debate I have decided to put it back to what people knew me as; Anita’s Homespun but I am dropping the treasures.

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Felting!

I will be working on more felting this summer and adding in some classes.

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ooohhh…..dyeing!!!

 

Lots and lots and lots of dyeing! I have so much fiber that needs my attention.

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Fashion, Fashion and oh did I say fashion!

 

I am so looking forward to creating more fashionable pieces. This is a top I made this past year at a workshop. There is also weaving to be done and let’s not forget about sewing. In high school I made most of my clothes. It will be fun to work with the sewing machine again….Project Anita here I come 🙂

Ok, so off I go now…taking down the tree and need to get ready for the Penn State game later.

Happy Creating, Anita