"My Blog"

I receive many e-mails with questions on working with wool, woolfelt and embroidery.   I will try to address all of these along with tools I find helpful, little hints to make things easier, how I tea stain and some ideas on how and where to use these items in decorating!

Woolfelt and the hand dyed felted wools have to be two of the easiest and fun fabrics to work with.  Easy to cut, easy to sew and if you can do those two things you can make just about any pattern using wool and woolfelt!  You can use just about any woolfelt pattern and make it with wool or visa versa.  I feel the finished look is totally different!
The ways you can use your finished projects are endless!  Throw one over the back of a chair, a table runner, a candle mat, on your mantel, a shelf embellishment, to set hot pots on.  You can make pillows, stockings and wall hangings.  How about putting it in a frame?  I think the nicest thing is to give it as a gift!

Tools I find helpful to have on hand for wool and woolfelt!
white charcoal pencil
card stock
rotory cutter & cutting board
fabric glue stick
sharpies (markers)
straight pins
straight edge (I like the clear plastic 6"x24")

Tea staining your wool felt!
My formula that I use is actually  instant coffee and  instant tea.  I cup of hot water add to this one heaping Tb. instant tea and one heaping Tb. instant coffee.  Make as much of this as you need and store the lefovers in the fridge!
Always stain your pieces before cutting them out.  I let my fabric sit in this mixture for about 15 min, do not wring out, then throw it into your dryer with an old towel until dry.  Press your fabric then cut out your pieces.  Make sure your first load you dry after doing this is a very dark load!

Cutting out your wool and woolfelt patterns!
One rule to always remember - if you draw around the out side of a pattern piece always cut your fabric on the inside of the line drawn.  This will help you keep your pattern piece true to size, reverse this if you are drawing on your fabric on the inside of a pattern piece.
Some times the paper that we pattern designers use is not stiff enough to hold up to drawing around a pattern numerous times so I suggest cutting your pattern from card stock.
Always cut out everything and lay it out before you begin to sew (unless the pattern states otherwise).  If something does not seem to fit quiet right feel free to trim it a little.  When I have a small intricate or just hard area to trace around I will cut the pattern piece out, lay it on the fabric and use a fat piece of sidewalk chalk.  Just pull the chalk from the pattern piece out over the fabric and it should leave a nice crisp mark-remember to cut on the inside of the line!  The white charcoal pencil also comes in handy especially when working on a dark fabric.  The glue stick comes in handy when laying out letters!
Cutting out your main piece is important, that is why I like using a rotory cutter and board.  If your piece is larger than your board, measure and mark well, use your straight edge to draw your lines.

When doing a pattern that might have embroidery on the woolfelt the only way I have come up with to transfer that pattern is just old fashioned tracing paper and a tracing wheel.  I have tried graphite paper and a stylus but I can't seem to get it to stand out good enough to see.

I think the most important things with embroidery are transferring the pattern and paying attention to the directions, should you use one strand or two or if you should use perle cotton.
Once you find an embroidery pattern you like you can make so many different things, add trim to pillow cases, use it on clothing, pillows, hand towels, frame it!  Make wall hangings and quilts!

Tools for embroidery!
hoop (optional)
good embroidery needles
lightbox (you could use a bright window)
micron pens (multiple colors)
Learning how to do the different stitches just takes practice.  There are many guides available, I like the small pocket versions that most quilt shops carry, the directions are easy to understand and the drawings clear and easy!

Sometimes as designers we have to put our patterns on two pieces of paper.  When we have those copied sometimes the lines don't come  to the edge of the paper(I have been told it has something to do with the copyright laws?), I suggest you line up your papers and tape them together first then connect your lines. For embroidery I pin the pattern to the back of the fabric and lay on a light box and trace or hold it up to a window!