New Program in 2019

Can you believe we are almost at the end of January in the new year! One of my goals for 2019 was to be more active in the community.  Barb of Bee Happy Quilting is always telling me people ask for wool. She sends them to my studio (not far away) but they never seem to get here. So we decided I needed bring the wool to them!

Two times a month I will be at Barb’s shop with my hand-dyed wool. There will be samples to view and kits to buy along with various sizes and bundles of wool. I will be featuring something new each month! For February there are two projects of which both have kits.

I have also dyed some pretty pink and red wool colors….YUMMY!

pink and red wool

To keep up on new things happening you can check out Anita’s Homespun on Facebook 🙂

The next event will be February 6th. See you then!

Happy Creating! Anita 🙂

Is it wool felt or felted wool?

Dyeing wool fabric. When done wool is felted.

I get asked this question all the time. People want to know if they are the same or different.

The answer…they are two different things…let me explain!

Felted Wool: This fabric that has been woven on a loom. It needs to be shrunk so the final fabric can be manipulated without fraying. It can be easily cut and used in wool applique projects. The process is fairly easy.

How to felt wool: Whether felting wool fabric or a wool sweater from Goodwill, the process is the same. Felting wool requires three conditions — heat, moisture and friction — which can be provided by your home washing machine and dryer. Here are a few tips for successful felting:

  • Use a hot-water wash, a cold-water rinse, and the usual amount (per load) of whatever laundry soap you have on hand.
  • Set your home washing machine for the load setting that will allow free movement of your goods, but don’t use too much water or they will float at the top and not get enough agitation or friction. If you desire a thicker, more shrunken finish, wash the sweaters in a load with your regular laundry. The weight of jeans and towels agitates the wool and enhances the felting process.
  • Dry the sweaters in the dryer on high heat. This step tightens the felt further, and sometimes makes felt that lacks body become full of it!
  • If, after one cycle of washing and drying, you still haven’t achieved the desired felted texture, try repeating the process one or twice more.
  • After your sweaters have felted enough to hold a crisp edge when cut, remove them promptly from the dryer, smooth them out, and stack them flat to store until you’re ready to use them. This keeps wrinkles at bay and the need for ironing to a minimum. It also allows for maximum visibility of your material palette.

When drying make sure to not dry completely. You don’t want to get wrinkles to set in by drying completely. Now you are ready to cut your material for your project!

wool applique

woolfelt-group

Wool Felt:

Wool felt is not a WOVEN product. Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibers or wood pulp-based rayon.

colored_felt_cloth

YOU DO NOT NEED TO FELT THIS PRODUCT! If you put it through the washer like wool fabric you will end up with a Brillo pad!!!! LOL

You can however create a fleece-like look by getting it wet, squeezing out the water and putting in the dryer on regular setting. Again do not over dry! You can learn more about wool felt at National Nonwovens

Try a free project. free projects

When should I use wool felt or felted wool? It depends! Wool fabric is more expensive then wool felt (unless you are getting sweaters and felting them). If you are just starting out you may want to purchase a kit with wool felt. Some people just love wool and they do not want to use anything else!

Can you use both? Absolutely! There are no rules. I have used wool for the appliques and then attached them to a wool felt background.

Wool applique on wool felt background.

You can also applique either on to cotton fabric and turn it into a quilt. I tend to do this a lot.

All these quilted wall hangings have cotton, wool, and/or wool felt on them.

There you have it! I hope that helps! You can keep up to day on what I am doing in my studio by following me on Facebook

You can also find me on Pinterest

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.

lamb

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!

cranberry-sangria        rainbow-spun

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

mihaly_csikszentmihalyi
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.

house
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