My felted wool quilt

melindaeuAugust 1, 2006

Trying to post a couple of photos into one message. If it gets screwed up you'll know I submitted it before I could get it all together!

Umm, this photo is my felted wood quilt that I recently finished, actually not quite finished as I want to complete it by adding a blanket stitch, but that will have to wait until winter when I need the warmth while watching TV!

I bought a bunch of 100% wool sweaters from a local thrift shop, excellent qualities and conditions, and reasonably priced. Took them home, washed in hot water, dried in dryer, cut them apart and arranged, then sewed together with zig zag stitch (butted up to each other, no seams).

I rather liked this process as I love the feel of wool, plus I enjoy the smell of wool when I steam press it.

I'm going to give this a go, if it works, I'll post more photos.


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Well, that worked, so here is a different photo of it, as worn by me. Both these photos are of the same quilt, this one is a little larger than one-body size, but not so big as to cover the bed down the sides. My second wool quilt, not yet posted, is more a single body size, just right for a nice snuggle up on the couch!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 8:14PM
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Hello, Mel! I love your cheery face! That wool quilt is just gorgeous and what a good use for old sweaters. I bet those are very warm, just not needed here in North Carolina - anytime of the year. I gave up wool years ago. I think the only wool sweater I have is the one I bought in Scotland years ago.

You're a smart cookie to make those quilts!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 8:38PM
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Mel, the wool quilt is wonderful! And boy, getting the sweaters at a thrift shop and making such a great quilt has to be very satisfying. I can't find any wool around here and it wouldn't be needed either but when I lived in cold weather country I sure would have loved to have had one. That's definitely a hot chocolate, good book, and warm sitting by the fire quilt. Sometimes I really miss a little cold weather like that.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 9:38PM
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Well, I shouldn't have hit send so fast because I wanted to ask more about your quilt. I notice that it doesn't look like you have it quilted and bound. Is this not necessary? I have no idea how you go about making a wool quilt so am curious as to how you go about it after you wash the wool pieces.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 9:43PM
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Mel - I love your quilt! I love half-square triangles (but hate making them...). How do you prevent the pieces from shrinking more when you press them?

Kay - when you felt wool, it pretty much prevents /anything/ from happening to it. It's a very solid piece of fabric. That might be why it's not bound.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 11:09PM
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I love it! I just love wool too -- the warmpth, the drape, the cozyness of it all.

I am going to have to check out some thrift shops. Last time I was in one it seemed like a lot of junk, but then I wasn't eyeing the clothes with quilting in mind!

I live in San Diego, but still I own several wool sweaters. THOSE are not ready for quilts yet though!

CLEVER idea on butting the pieces up togeher. Love the pic of you swimming in it!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 12:31AM
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Thanks Kit. So it's not necessary to do anything more to a wool quilt, right? There's no need in batting, backing and all that?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 9:22AM
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Thanks everybody for the comments.

Kay, I think one could quilt it, in fact, now that you mention it, one of these days I'm going to use a leftover piece to give it a try and see how it looks.

No batting, no backing! And the back looks just the same as the front.

Also thought about binding it but decided to just stay with the border I made and then do a blanket stitch by hand with a thick thread for appearance (haven't done that's a thought for the winter when we're through with this summer heat).

Kit, steaming them did not further shrink them, in fact it helped them and made them more flexible and soft. Also, sometimes I was a little off in my cuts, and the beautiful thing was that after patching the pieces together, they were a little lumpy, and the steaming just set them in perfectly. The wool was very forgiving!

From this point on, though, I would wash the blanket only in cold water on a gentle cycle and reshape and steam it after it air dries. I've done this with my knitted felt hats, and they shape up great.

Ah ha! Now that I know how to post photos, I'll post a couple more to show some leftover samples. I still have a lot of felted leftovers -- some turned out a little too thick, and can be made into purses.

Thanks for the posting help & comments!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 12:01PM
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Well, that's the niftiest quilt ever, Mel! Now I want one whether it would be too hot or not. I'm going to start hunting around here for wool but don't expect to find any but I want to give this a try. It sounds like alot of fun to put together too. Thanks for all the info.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 12:46PM
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It's stunning, and you get extra credit for recycling old sweaters. I can just imagine how soft and cuddly it feels! My cats would go mad over it and maybe start kneeding and nursing on it and make holes! Love it!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 5:51PM
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I love the look of your quilt - it's a classic for sure, and reminds me of the 20's for some reason. Something that would be found folded up on a sofa next to a roaring fire in a cabin in the woods.

Can I ask - I've always been confused about people mean when they talk about "felted wool", and how it works. When I see felted wool bags, they look thick, and kind of furry in a way, like the person knitted them first, and then ran them over with a wire brush until all the nap from the wool yarn came up. Your blanket doesn't look that way at all, yet the pieces look almost like they were woven together rather than being sewn, and I can't see any stitches at all (did you use invisible thread?).

I've only done one felted wool project (or that's what it was called anyway..) - a pincusion kit. It had a ball of wool as a base, and scraps of colored wool that you cut into flowers. You used some loose wool fibers and a special needle to "felt" the flowers onto the ball, creating a little boquet on top of the pincusion.

I think I'm confused because the pincusion craft kit was very different looking than the felted wool bags I've seen, and both of those look different from your blanket, yet they are all refered to as felted wool. I'd love to learn about it!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 10:09AM
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felt n= a cloth made of wool and fur often mixed with natural or synthetic fibers through the action of heat, moisture, chemicals, and pressure

felted v= a firm woven cloth of wool or cotton heavily napped and shrunk

These are the distinctions as I know them. Felt has no strength but is warm. Felted is what happens when you wash & dry a woven or knit material

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 11:44AM
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Wonderful quilt, I love the picture!! Jill

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:02PM
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I love the quilt, or throw, or whatever it is...and, LOVE wool in any form. I take it you zigzaged the pieces into squares and then zigzaged the squares together....and this was done on the machine. I'd love to have one, but don't know if it's feasable to do by hand...but, I sure love it. My attempt at a wool bed covering was a blanked that I knitted a few years ago...and, I love's well used! I knitted long strips (the length of the bed+), probably around 12" wide, all with differing designs...some cabled, some with different stitches, etc, and then sewed the strips together. But, your sweater cover is so colorful...did you have any trouble making the squares the same size, or was it so well felted that this wasn't a problem?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 10:56PM
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