Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home for the Holidays BOM - part #1

Step #1 - Felting Wool: 

Working with hand-dyed wool is wonderful.  
Because of the dying process, it has already been "felted".  It's ready to use whether you buy it in squares, fat quarters or by the yard - and yes all the wool in your Home for the Holidays kits are either hand-dyed or have already been felted for you - so no worries

If you are using wool in any project, first make sure it is 100% wool.  If you have purchased wool by the yard, or you are using a recycled wool skirt or jacket from the local goodwill, it will more than likely need to be "felted" or washed.
Larger amounts of wool can simply be washed in your washing machine in HOT water ( I will usually set my washing machine to a hot soak cycle first, to allow the wool to absorb the hot water)  then rinse in COLD water, and repeat.  Spin it well and toss in the dryer.  Wool has a tendency to have an odor when it is washed, so I generally add a little detergent to the wash water to help with the smell.

Smaller pieces of wool (like squares or fat quarters)  You can hand wash in the kitchen sink.  Fill one side of the sink with HOT water  (again with a little detergent)  and the other side with COLD water.  Soak and agitate the wool with your hands until it has absorbed the hot water - and this might take a while -  the key is the agitation.  Then soak the wool in the cold water.  Then repeat with clean Hot and Cold water.  This shocks the fibers, shrinks them and the hand agitation "felts" the fibers.
Remove as much water as you can and toss in the dryer, or simply lay flat to dry on a clean towel overnight.

Once you felt a few pieces of wool yourself, you will be able to tell right away which wool fabrics need to be felted or not, just by looking at the weave and by feeling the wool.  It should be a tight weave and be soft like it has been washed.

If you are not sure if you are buying wool that has been felted or not, just ask your local quilt shop.  They will gladly tell you if your wool is hand-dyed or not and whether or not you need to  "felt" your wool before working with it.

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