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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Oh what fun!

This image came up in my Facebook feed this morning. As we enter into a new year I am reminded of a simpler time in life. One in which the magic of Christmas was in homemade gifts and family traditions!

Each year my Auntie would make us all (4 in total) a new set of hat, mittens & a scarf. We would eagerly go outside with our sleds and try out our new gifts. Mother would have to take a picture of our colorful prizes (even though the film was black & white!). We just wanted to capture the moment.

My beloved Auntie!
Auntie’s Knitting.

As I reflect on those days I remember all the love we had for each other as siblings and the fun we had going out in the cold. We are grown now and have just recently, due to an accident to my younger brother, have all come back together. The last quarter of 2019 was a trying time for our family but with a happy ending!

Now as 202o rolls in I am going to make this the best year ever and remember the acronym KISS: Keep IT Simple Stupid! I have a habit of going bigger then I need to and making things more complicated then they need to! So this year I am focusing on de-cluttering my house. A much needed process. (My hubby is in the backroom cleaning now as I write this…LOL)

I am also making a BIG Commitment to my business this year! I am making a vow to do things with what I have….and I have A LOT! When I look around my studio I see so much potential. And there in lies the problem…too much stuff, too many ideas that I get overwhelmed.

Here is to setting goals, making a plan, and taking it one day at a time!!!

Happy New Year & Happy Creating!

Anita

The Pineapple

SYMBOL OF HOSPITALITY

The pineapple as a welcoming icon can trace its roots to Christopher Columbus, who brought he succulent fruit back to Europe from its ancestral home in the late 1400s. Believed to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay, Columbus “discovered” the fruit in Guadeloupe in 1493.

Legend has it that captains would mount a pineapple on their gateposts outside their home to signify a safe return home. They were also an invitation to visit, enjoy food and drink and hear tales of the sailors’ adventures.

In colonial America, hostesses would place a fresh pineapple as a centerpiece at the table when entertaining visitors in their homes. Visiting was the primary method of cultural exchange as well as entertainment, so hospitality was central to colonial life. The pineapple symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests and became the dessert for the meal.

I have loved this image for a long time and always wanted to make it into a project. Here is my interpretation of a pattern I found by Vicki Stratton Designs

I chose to use hand-dyed wool for the stem at the top of the pineapple. Instead of individual leaves I made it in 3 pieces graduating the color from dark to light.

Here is the finished project… a table runner. It still needs quilted but I am excited about the colors. I had enough pineapple material left over so I made a bag with the motif. There is still fabric left to make another pineapple motif and I may just make a pillow too!

Kits will be available soon!

Happy Creating, Anita

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Not just for St. Patrick’s Day!

New shop listing: March blessings Kit

I wanted to create something that would appeal to everyone not just the Irish lovers! It has the feel of St. Patrick’s day but can be put up anytime.

This banner is 6″ wide and 18″ long. Wool cut outs and wool felt background provided in kit.

Kit is $10.00 + 4.00 shipping. It can be found under Shop Anita’s Homespun–wool kits.

Happy Creating!

Anita 🙂

 

Fearing Failure!

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I don’t know about you but I seem to let failure stop me from creating sometimes. I look and look at pinterest or other sites for inspiration. I have a massive collection of books and saves on my computer! But that seems like all I do sometimes is look!

Why do I just look? I think it is because I am a perfectionist when it comes to my art work. I want it perfect the first time 🙂 When it doesn’t come out like I envisioned I usually drop that project and never go back to it. However, all the accomplished artists talk about samples.

In knitting, make a sample swatch…WHAT???…you want me to waste time making a swatch when I could just dive into the project! Painters draw ideas in their sketch book and make many samples using watercolors or colored pencils and markers.

I spoke in my last post about receiving my newest book, The Art of Moy Mackay She is a painter turned felter. She makes absolutely beautiful wool painted landscapes. In this book she goes deeper into her process.

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Her process starts with using that sketchbook and making notes and drawings. She also talks about making mini samples in various colors of the picture you want to make before committing to the bigger version.

Making minis! Making samples! Oh My….this will be a hard concept for me to follow but I am going to give it a shot 🙂 After all she is a famous artist and she might know a thing or two about process…LOL

Speaking of process….I recently came across a website written by two brothers Joe and Sam Pitcher They just had a free series of videos about process and their mom Sue Stone

She talks about the power of 5 basic stitches. It is amazing what her art looks like with just a few basic stitches!

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You can see more of her work on Facebook

So….I have decided to go small and samples before creating a big project. Those felted pieces I talked about finishing last time, well, I am just going for it. Many of them require free motion stitching before the hand stitching. I am good with hand stitching but not free motion. I am not going to worry (well almost…lol) about what I am doing. I am just going to get myself into the Flow 🙂

If you are stuck and afraid, I say, “no more!” as Nike tells us…..JUST DO IT!

Happy creating!

Anita 🙂

spring flowers

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Brrrrrrrrr…..it’s cold outside! Negative numbers the last two days 😦 But, I am turning my thoughts to spring. Currently I am working on a new wall hanging inspired by the picture above; featuring penny flowers 🙂

Background will be a dyed piece of wool with sky and ground. You fill in your garden with wool applique and stitching. It is a great way to explore new stitches or adding beads and other embellishments! I’ve got my pennies and threads ready to go!img_32355b15d

If you are not sure what stitches to try, Creative Stitching by Sue Spargocreativestitching

Now off to dye some wool background pieces and get stitching!

Happy Creating! Anita ❤

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

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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.

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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

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.”

William Morris Signature
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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