Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wool applique tutorial

I've been thinking about this tutorial and discussing techniques with some of my friends and what I've discovered is that everyone seems to have a different method of working with wool.

I thought I would show you some of these methods because, what works for me, might not be what works for you and vice-versa. By no means am I an expert on this subject but I thought I'd share what I know because I really enjoy it. I have to say that the hardest part of the whole process is cutting into a new piece of wool.

Since some of you have emailed me asking where to start building a stash of wool, I talked to Karen at Farmhouse Woolens about putting together a "sampler pack". (probably about 10 different colors measuring about 10" x 10"). She should have something up on her blog or her webstore in the next few days.

So, here we go...



You will be using one of these products to trace your shapes. I'm going to be using freezer paper, but you can also use fusible webbings like the ones pictured. (Remember, if you use a fusible, you will have to reverse your pattern pieces.)



Freezer paper has a dull side and a shiny side. Trace your pieces on the dull side. I use a permanent market (like a Sharpie) so that I don't have to worry about my ink bleeding on my wool.


The pattern is on the left, traced pieces on the right. Cut out the pieces 1/4" from the traced line.


Position them on the wool.

Iron pieces (shiny side down). Use the "wool" setting on your iron. The pieces will adhere but won't be permanent. You can reposition them if you need to. You can also re-use them a couple more times.


Cut out on drawn line. I use whatever sharp scissors I have around. I sometimes use smaller scissors on the little pieces.

Depending on your background color, you might want to put your pattern under a light box to position your pieces.

There are many ways to "glue" your pieces onto the background. I use the Roxann's Glue Baste-it, pictured on the far right.

Start with the pieces that will be under other pieces. I run a small line of glue on the background using the pattern and light box as a guide.


Position your cut piece on the glue line. Continue with the remaining pieces.


Sometimes I leave the freezer paper on the piece when I'm positioning it because it provides a bit of stability. Just peel it off when you're finished.

When it's all glued down,

I do this... Now don't laugh! I lay it flat on my table and put something heavy on it and leave it all night. This allows time for the glue to dry and the pressure makes it nice and flat when I'm ready to start stitching it down. I know....I'm weird. LOL

Time to start stitching. Here are some of the threads I use. The number of strands I use or the thickness of the thread just depends on the look I'm after.

I blanket stitched the vase and used a whip stitch on the rest of the design. You could also do a small running stitch close to the edge of the wool. Actually, whatever stitch you use is just fine. Just do whatever is easiest for you. There aren't any rules and the Wool Police won't arrest you...I promise.

I had a question about what to use to mark on the wool. You might be doing this if you wanted to do some embroidery on your design. These are my favorites. Sometimes one marker works better than another.
So, there you go.. Wasn't that easy? If you have other methods that work for you, please be sure and leave a comment for others to see. You might make me change a technique or two myself.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice job on the tutorial..I do my wool applique the same way only I have never glued it down and think I might try that method with our next block of the month from Karen. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this and I do love working with wool!
Louise

Beth said...

Thanks for the great tutorial Anne! and I like the idea of putting the heavy item on the block to let the glue dry. I'm going to have to give this a try.

Pat said...

Thanks so much. I have always used steam-a -seam 2. I may give your way a try next time. That is a great idea for a starter pack. I have a friend that would like to do a small wool project. I will tell her to keep an eye out for it at Karens. Thanks again!

Carrie ~ Cricketwood Prims and Gardens said...

Nice tutorial Anne, putting weight on it overnight is a nice tip. I like mine flat to! It was so thoughtful of you to share your knowledge with us.

yellowfarmhouse said...

Hey Anne - great tutorial on the wool - I like the heavy tub on it overnight to get that wool to really stick well. I use 505 spray baste to adhere my pieces to the background. Everyone has there own way of doing anykind of project - yours are great tips :)

Hugs - karen

Crazy for Primitive Quilts and Gardens said...

Thank you!! I have been doing wool for about 5 years now, and I use the same method as you do, except I will also remember to try to let it sit overnight with something heavy on it. Good idea! And I love your example basket! Cute!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, you make it look possible for me to do. Do you use cotton for the background fabric? It looks like cotton in your tutorial but I need to be sure.

Anne said...

Anonymous....Yes, that's cotton for the background. No stablizer used. I also like to use flannel for backgrounds.

Linda from Broken Arrow, OK said...

Thank you for your tutorial. I am just beginning to work with wool applique and look forward to using your methods. Do you have a source for your pattern? I also like the size of your light box. Could you suggest a place to purchase one? I have really enjoyed following your blog.

Anne said...

Linda, You are set up as "no reply" so I have to answer you here. The pattern name is "Wool Garden" by Dancing with Bears. You might email Karen at Farmhouse Woolens to see if she can get you a copy. I got my light box at JoAnn's.

Simply This and That said...

Wonderful Tutorial Anne! Thanks so much ! One of these day's, I'm going to try my hand at wool. Hope you're staying warm over there. ooxx`jodi

Kathie said...

great tutorial Anne thanks!
yes I am one of those that would love to start collecting wool.
I am so inspired by seeing it out in blogland on so many projects.
NOT that I need to collect anything else or hve the storage for it but looks like I NEED some
great suggestion to Karen to make up little samples of great colors to get us started.
thanks.
LOVE the heavy object on the block overnight great tip.
Kathie

Carol said...

Great tutorial Anne...I do it the same way, except I've never thought of the heavy object overnight...what a great idea.

Jenny McH said...

Thank you for all the info. Freezer paper seems an easy way to get the shapes, I will give that a go. So now that I have your 'instructions' I will be starting A Tisket, A Tasket this weekend. We have had a heatwave in Melbourne over the last few days, today reached 45c, our hottest day since 1939. It's not the ideal weather for working with wool!

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

I've just started working with wool and your tutorial was so helpful...you answered so many questions that I had. I love working with wool and doing the blanket stitch so very relaxing. Thanks!
Rondell

Quilt Hollow said...

Thanks Anne! I do mine the same and have even used a fine bead Elmer's glue with a warm iron afterwards to get the glue to "dry quicker." I can then stitch immediately. I don't know that I'm patient enough for leaving a heavy object on it over night. LOL I also stitch the wool on with my machine. Is that considered a no-no? The quilt police hadn't shown up yet. LOL

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful tutorial. I've never worked with wool but if I do I'll be using this post as my reference. Thank you!!! Love your vase of flowers.

Yvette said...

This was just what I needed!! I can't wait to try my first project.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I am also doing Karen's BOM. I like your idea of putting something heavy on the block to hold everything flat. Thanks again.

Mary

MARCIE said...

Excellent tutorial! How nice of you to take the time to do that. I know how long it takes! And that project looks wonderful too!

Linda said...

Hi Anne Thanks for the tutorial. I use a glue stick to hold down my wool. Again I don't know if this is right or wrong but it works. I use DMC embroidery thread. I have not heard of the other ones you showed her in Canada. I as well are doing the block of the mth. Linda

Sherri said...

Thanks so much for this post...I actually have never worked much with wool, so it's great to get some "insider" tips! I hope to do some wool applique in 2009!

PamKittyMorning said...

Wonderful tutorial Anne!!!

Sheri Howard said...

That is a very nice tutorial. I actually LOVE to work with Wool. There is something very "earthy" about it. Thanks for sharing! I love the "over night" part!!!

Richelle said...

Thanks for the tutorial! It is just what I needed to get going on Karen's BOM. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great lesson on wool! I think I'm ready to branch out now and try it. You gave me that little extra push I needed.
Nancy in WI

Sandy F said...

You did a great job with the pictures and describing each step along the way. This is the way I do it, hmmmmm, I guess because you did such a great job explaining it to me before. Don't mess with success, right? I do like Karen's idea with the spray, might try that also. Thanks Anne

Candace said...

Anne, you're a "natural" - great tutorial! I guess I'll be unpacking my light box - I knew there was a reason to not box it up yet! I had never thought to use it that way and the freezer paper is in the same box - wooo-hoooo!
Cheers!

Gayle said...

Great tutorial Anne. I do mine pretty much the same as you, except after I trace the pattern pieces on the freezer paper, I cut them out ON the line - I find it's easier for me to be accurate if I'm only cutting through the wool for the next step. Thanks for your wisdome!

Linda said...

I have never used the freezer paper and glue method. Very interesting! Thanks for a great tutorial!
Thanks for your sweet comment as well.

Kaaren said...

Excellent tutorial...thanks a bunch! I too use Steam-A-Seam 2 but I think I'll give your method a try as well. I love working with wool on cotton. A good source for hand dyed wool is at Primitive Gatherings as follows:
www.primitivegatherings.us

LesleyAnn said...

Thanks, Anne! I use basically the same technique and glue my pieces down, but I have never thought of using freezer paper to cut out the pieces. I bet that works a lot better than just pinning like I have been doing. Great Tips! It really helps to see what others do so it makes life easier.

Carrie P. said...

Very good job on the tutorial. The block is beautiful too.

Kim said...

Well done! Thank you for the tut!

Ms. Jan said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I had to learn some of this by trial and error when I learned to do wool embroidery. I'd not thought of weighing it down--what a great idea!
Thanks!!

Christina said...

Love this tutorial and it came at just the perfect time. I'm doing the BOM from Bunny Hill and have a question: I want to use wool for the snowman, and cottons for the rest of the block. Will the wool pieces be okay when the quilt is washed? Thanks again!

cynthialeedesigns said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I'm getting ready to start a wall-hanging that has a cotton background with wool appliques and this way very helpful. I've never glued mine down before, but am going to try this method on this project.
Cindy

Jen in NY said...

Thank you Anne, that was extremely helpful! I feel much less anxious about working with wool now, which is awesome because I love how it looks. Now I have to go buy some!! --Jen

basketsnprims said...

Wow, that was so helpful. I'm going to keep my out for the wool from Karen. Thanks.

Pam

Dawn said...

Thanks for the great tutorial!! I havn't worked with wool much and now I really want to!!

Dawn said...

Anne, thanks so much for the wool applique tutorial! I am such a visual learner and it made to so much clearer. I have done lots of applique, never wool. I will be giving it a try, thanks again, Dawn

Judy said...

I LOVE Roxanne's glue, I stick tiny dots on almost all my wool and any pre-turned applique and wow does it save time and pinning. Thanks for the tips!

Linda said...

Hi Anne Thanks for stopping by my blog. I guess I am still in the learning stages. I will try to remember to leave my e-mail in the future. Yes that is an antique cheese box that is holding my hearts.Have a great weekend Linda

ohiofarmgirl said...

What fun reading all your instructions and looking at the pictures too. I must admit I use a glue stick on the small pieces and just keep a pin in the large ones. Your ideas sound much easier to me. I will try that on the next project...for now I am stuck on punch needle. lol Dianntha

Miss Jean said...

Thank you for your help. One question. Do you hand stitch or machine stitch the pieces down?

susan said...

thanks so much for this tute. i do mine the same way too. i have a sparkly silver pen that i use for drawing on fabric and wool

Mary's Cottage Quilts said...

Anne!! I just wanted to say a HUGE thanks on the tutorial! Very nicely done with lots of pictures (I need the pics). Thanks for sharing - I hope my BOM turns out as cute as yours!
Mary
I tagged you on my blog, go take a look :)

Betty said...

Nice tutorial. I've always used a glue stick, and it gets rather messy. I'll have to get some baste it glue and try that. Will try to add it to my ebay store as well. Hadn't thought of stacking stuff on top of it overnight while it dries. I bet that really does make a nice flat surface to work with.

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful tutorial and so nice to find your blog..thanks to Granny Loz for that!! Happy day to you.

Cara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cara said...

Great tutorial! Oh and I love your block! : )

Cindy said...

Thank you for this wool technique. I found you through BOM Quilter Blog (Yvette). Your wool work is wonderful. Hope it's okay to stop by and visit regularly.

Julia said...

Thanks for this great tutorial. I haven't used any wool yet. I was wondering, you have to use wool only on things that will not be laundered, right?

jannimary said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. You have given me the confidence to have a go with wool applique. I have been collecting woollen fabrics. Do you felt them first, or just use them as they come?

Kim said...

I have never done the whip stitch with wool only the button hole stitch and I love the way the whip looks.....I'm going to make the free series from Bunny Hill Designs (their baskets) in wool on flannel.
Thanks for the tutorial.
Happy Sewing,
Kim in Poughkeepsie

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Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about doing wool applique. I am assuming if you use Roxanne's glue you don't wash it out. Is this a worry? I do cotton applique using Roxanne's, but always wash my blocks to remove the glue. Thanks!

janine said...

What a wonderful tutorial. Exactly what I was searching for!! (found you through a google search) Very inspired now and off to my local quilting shop. :-) thankyou for sharing your talent.

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial! I love the idea of whip stitch rather just the buttonhole stitich which I used throughtout my one & only wool applique project. Thank you for all your hints...especially the glue as I used pins & you can just imagine my disconfort!
Thanks again,
Robin

Rob Larson said...

Thank you for your help. One question. Do you hand stitch or machine stitch the pieces down?

Darla Karimushan said...

What do you use for your backing fabric. Is it cotton or wool. I am a newbie. THanks,

Anne said...

Hi Darla, I hope you come back and read this. I couldn't email you because you are "no reply". I use all types of fabric for the backgrounds. If you think your fabric might be "flimsy", try adding a lightweight fusible interfacing to it. It will give it some stability.
Good luck. Anne

Missie of Hallbrook Designs said...

Very interesting that your wool sticks with liquid glue! Maybe the trick is to set something heavy on it overnight. I have only had luck with glue sticks in the past...I'll try this next time as Roxanne's is my favorite glue. Thanks for the good tutorial!