Are any of you out there wool workers? Before this trip to the Buggy Barn, I had no idea what wool work was all about. What an eye opening experience. I am in love. The photo above is my class project, which was entirely constructed to the point as shown in the few hours of class time we had. The bunny and the "muff" on the left hand edge will be positioned in the main scene and whip stitched down soon. The prep takes longer than the actual stitching! There is a lot of cutting out, positioning and pinning in place before you can sew, but the actual sewing goes at the speed of light.
I mean, seriously. Have you ever seen anything so cute? Who knew? This process is so darn easy, you could teach your kids to do it. All that is required is careful cutting skills, and the know how to do a whip stitch. Piece of cake. Oh, and one more thing. A Donald Trump sized budget.
Man, these supplies are pricey. Jeez Louise. Before Thelma and I even had our first day of instruction we were in at least $50 for wool supplies for future projects we thought we'd like to make. The teensiest piece of felted wool costs a pretty penny. Up to $20 for a collection of four or five little eight inch squares.
For those of you who are novices, as Thelma and I were, felted wool is regular wool that has been washed and shrunk, so it thickens up and will not ravel. This makes it ideal for whip stitching on a background, and using as a table mat or other decorative piece.
Our instructor was Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night, master wool worker. She has years of experience, a couple of books out, and loads of patterns. She comes from a talented family--her sister is Kathy Schmidt, a fabric designer for Moda. Here are some photos of Bonnie's work:
Just look how she placed the plaid for her bee hive. She did the same thing for the individual bees, which you can probably see if you zoom in on the photo. Amazing
Even though the supplies are pricey, the technique to applique the wool pieces onto a background could not be easier. A simple whip stitch in thread that matches your wool just disappears into the background. And man, is it ever fast! Honestly, you can finish up a project in no time flat, and have a vintage looking decoration on your table for the holidays.
You do not need fancy threads. I brought embroidery floss, but perle cotton or just regular old sewing thread works just fine. A lady in the class had brought her entire stash of threads (which was enormous) and was happlily sharing what she had with the rest of us. You need embroidery needles, pins, and some sort of fabric glue. Oh, and see that little pile of scraps on the right? You never ever throw anything away when you work with wool. It is like gold. Not to be wasted, ever.
This class was a real eye opener and I am grateful to Thelma for suggesting we try it, and to Bonnie Sullivan for introducing me to a lovely new craft.