Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Working with wool . . .

So last week I was in Spokane, Washington attending a retreat sponsored by the nice folks at the Buggy Barn.  When Nicole and I decided to attend the retreat we knew we would attend the two Paula Barnes classes, we also knew we wanted a day to hit the local quilt shops and another day to attend the quilt show.  That left one open day, we decided to fill the day taking a wool appliqué class.  The only thing Nicole and I knew about working with wool was that we liked some of the finished projects we saw online, and if the class was a bust, oh well, it's always fun to try new things.

This was the project we selected.


This pattern is called 7 Snowmen and is by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night Designs.

Here are a few other patterns designed by Bonnie.

This is Boo Kitty on Parade.


Who doesn't love a Halloween cat wearing a polka-dot sweater!


Here are some more amazing patterns by Bonnie.


Bonnie must have brought at least 50 pieces from her collection, all equally amazing.

Stacy of Buttermilk Basin was also teaching some wool classes.  Here are a couple of her patterns.

This pattern is September of a year long BOM, one for each month.  I just love the quilt block paired with a little wool pattern.


She also designed these large Christmas Ornaments.


Nicole and I were like sponges, peppering Bonnie with questions all day long.  She was great about answering all our questions and giving us a great start on our projects.

Here's what I accomplished in class!  I've got aways to go but I'm very happy with what I've finished so far.


 One of the things I learned is that wool appliqué is a very expensive hobby, I won't complain about the cost of cotton fabric ever again.

Bonnie had us use a little bit of glue to hold each cut piece in place while we stitched our pieces down, Stacy had her class use fusible web to attach their pieces.  I'm very curious about using the fusible method, it seems it would make the pieces easier to stitch and the project more portable.  Do you have a preference?  

I also learned that I have a whole lot more to learn about wool appliqué! 
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26 comments:

  1. Lovely starter project. My older sister is the wool person in my family. She works exclusively with it. She loves all things primitive but hates anything to do with piecing.
    She does use fusible web for all her work. She would laugh at me if I ever suggested glue. I think she would want me to use heat n bond for my applique if I let her.
    Are you using a button hole stitch on the piece? Hand stitching? My sister use to hand stitch but has since moved to machine stitch. She says she has too many projects she wants to make to do them by hand, lol! One thing I have heard her complain about is how the machine she uses for the stitching gets fuzzy and it tends to hate just plain cotton after a while. I think she is referring to the tension.
    She solved the problem by buying a smaller machine for her "piecing" which really means she uses the smaller machine to put on any borders when she is using cotton as her background. LOL!
    I'm looking forward to a peek of your Paula Barnes pieces. I'm loving the basket one that Nicole was showing off.

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  2. I have done some of the wool projects and much prefer the use of the fusible wool applique shapes. Mostly what I have done has been through www.RaspberryRabbits.com and her Folk Art Fusion method. I agree with you - it is an expensive art. Glad you stepped out and tried it - now you know. Judy C

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  3. I have never done this kind of project before either. Have been resisting since I love quilting so much, but the patterns are so cute!

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  4. Isn't wool applique the best!? I love it. I use Steam-A-Seam Light 2 for all of my wool applique. I tried just pinning the pieces on but the SAS works better for me. I have 3 different wool projects on my design wall - I think I'm hooked on wool!

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  5. Fusible all the way, Thelma!!! It's so easy to work and gives your piece a nice finished look. It makes it a great project to travel with once it's fused. Lite Steam a Seam 2. It is the method Lisa Bongean suggest for all her wool projects. I warn you, wool appliqué is addictive!!! I just got my little sis, Kristin doing it and she LOVES IT! Your project is beautiful!!!

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    1. I am having difficulty getting the fusible to hold the wool onto the cotton while I get it stitched down. What am I doing wrong? THanks!

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    2. I would guess it's one of three things, your fusible is of poor quality, I use Steam A Seam 2, your fusible is old, or your iron is not warm enough. How frustrating, good luck!

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  6. Interesting comments on using the fusible materials. Looks like we have one more class to take now.
    Your snow people look like voodoo dolls with all those pins!

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  7. I've done a fair amount of wool and have always used fusible web and hand buttonholed. Over time my stitches became really precise. Here's one of my wool projects: http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger2/2662/3348/1600/573608/Woolly%20Garden.jpg which came as a kit each month and here's the other one http://bp1.blogger.com/_a89E6VQeHnc/RldWEdYHqEI/AAAAAAAAAfE/qzh3fNw66ZQ/s1600-h/garden+quilt.jpg where I bought the fabrics myself. Now you've got me thinking of doing another wool project!!

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  8. I know this sounds crazy but a very good friend of mine does lots and lots of beautiful wool projects and she staples her wool to the background. After it is sewn she takes the staples out and you can't see where they were.

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  9. I also use the fusible web not glue. I am slowly working on my 1st wool applique project and love it but it is pricey $$$$$

    Sounds like you had a wonderful week :-D

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  10. I started working with wool a little over a year ago and I now have more wool projects than cotton! I use the fusible. As others have said, it gives a nice clean finish. If the pieces are large, I cut out the middle of the fusible (leaving around a 1/4" on the edge) This keeps the wool a little softer and alot easier to stitch when you have multiple layers. Your project looks great...Good luck with it!

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  11. Has anyone had trouble with moths or bugs eating the wool? I bought wool about 5 years ago and had it on an open shelf in my stash closet. When I was digging through the stash a while ago, I pulled it out and some pieces were eaten. Not all the way through, but some pieces were pitted. And not all the pieces in the stash. I threw it away. I see all the projects on line and think about that. All that work, and what if the bugs get to it? I'll stick to my cottons.

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  12. The wool work intrigues me. Snowmen and wool go together. Love it! The polka dot cat piece made me smile. :-)

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  13. When I made my wool wreath picture last year, I used the fusible method, which I found worked well. An additioanl advantage of it is that it helps prevent fraying, though the wool pieces tend not to fray anyway. Enjoy!

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  14. I have a "pear" wool project that has sat on my shelf for 2 years--time to get off my butt and make it!!

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  15. Sounds like you guys had such a great trip! I love the voodoo doll comment :) I also love the shops in Spokane, they've got a nice variety!

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  16. I love working with wool. It is so hard to find in my area. I brought a kit with Christmas ornaments a few years ago and loved the ease of working with it.
    I adore the snowmen! :)
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  17. I've been to the Buggy Barn show a couple of times. Wasn't able to make it this year. I love wool applique and when I first started I used glue and then my friend showed me the fusible and I love it much more. Your project is looking fantastic.

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  18. Your 1st project looks fantastic. I have a couple of recommendations for keeping the cost of materials reasonable and a way to speed-up the process. I use Maywood Woolies Flannels rather than expensive wool. The finished look is very comparable and Woolies sell for about $11/yd.. I am sure a purists would be appalled, but rather than spending all the time basting I use a fusible called Steam-Away Lite. It is a fusible that allows you to be able to reposition your pieces several times before a final ironing permanently bonds them ( can even be washed after that). I found that the thin adhesive this prooduct uses allows the needle to glide easily thorugh the layers of fabric. Bonnie Sullivan taught a class out here at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop several years ago and I do believe that she used Woolies for that class. This beautiful line of plush flannels come in a vast aray of solids and patterns and the reasonable cost makes it possible to produce many projects for less than the cost of one small wool one. Give it a try, I think you will be delighted with the beautiful and speedy results.

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  19. Reading your blog reminded me that I had purchased a kit at the Hampton Show and stuck it in a drawer...somewhere. I love the look of wool pieces. I need to find that kit...as if I need to start another new project at this time!!

    Gloria
    gyates625@bellsouth.net

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  20. I love applique work & love wool the best! I am truly hooked! I find it difficult to find felted wool in my part of Canada but I have resorted to felting some wools myself. It's fun & very inexpensive.
    Maureen

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  21. I like using fusible, keeps the edges cleaner. That's how I was taught. I know what you mean, a FQ is about $22/$25. So much fun though!

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  22. I am a wool addict. There, I said it! Ha! If you go to my blog, look on the sidebar for "wool tutorial". It might answer some of your questions. I prefer the glue to the fusible because I don't like how gooped

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  23. I am a wool addict. There, I said it! Ha! If you go to my blog, look on the sidebar for "wool tutorial". It might answer some of your questions. I prefer the glue to the fusible because I don't like how gooped

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  24. Up my needle gets. Have fun. It's such a relaxing hobby!

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