My Love Letter to Wool Applique
Yes, it’s my current obsession… if you’ve been in the store more than a couple times, you know this! I thought I’d share with you some of the projects I’ve made, some ideas for scrappy wool projects, and some other bits & bobs. My hope is that you all will give wool applique a shot – I know you’ll love it!
First – my inspiration for all things wool. The master, Sue Spargo. You can use your own scraps to make your own similar creations. She uses so many colors and textures in her work! You’ve all seen the mushrooms I have up by the register (no pictures will ever show up on social media until her pattern book for them is published – I’m doing a block of the month program). One of the upcoming mushrooms uses velvet! You’ll also see rickrack, woven items, linens, cottons, charms, you name it. I stumbled across her stuff over a year ago and I’m still obsessed with it. I got my mother into it as well – here’s her first Sue Spargo creation:
Here’s the pin cushion I made last year – just the top (before I put it together). I gave it to my mom, and in return she gave me hers!
But Sue Spargo isn’t the only type of wool applique. You can do something as simple as a tiny wool penny mat (design by Kim Diehl) – I’m still working on this one. I’ve fused the pennies on, I just need to do the blanket stitching around each.
I made this out of wool scraps I had at home from other projects. It’s small enough to make a bigger pin cushion from, or frame and hang on the wall, put a candle on top of it, use as a coaster (carefully!), anything you want!
This one is wool appliqued onto cotton (design by AuntSusiesDesign on Etsy):
This one was fun, adding my own embellishments to the pattern (buttons, changing the name on the tag). My binding skills aren’t very polished yet so this is why it’s in a frame instead of just on the wall! I learned a lot doing this one.
And my very first wool applique, made entirely from scraps at the store:
This one was interesting (to me, anyway) — half is done with regular perle cotton, and half with Valdani thread. If you’re a stitcher, you know how expensive Valdani is. You can’t tell the difference on the final project between the threads, but you can while stitching. Let’s just say you get what you pay for! Now that I’ve become a Sue Spargo afficianado, I really want to embellish this one, but I’m leaving as is, since it was my first one.
If you think these projects are too big or too much for a beginner, I say hogwash!! Just jump in and do it!! It’s folk-art, it’s not supposed to be perfect! But there are tiny projects too, like the ones from Primitive Gatherings’ book 101 Itty-Bitties Celebrations. They are all 2″ square designs that can easily be done in one sitting. They’re fun, easy, small and you’ll get hooked! The penny rugs are super simple too and are a great place to start.
There are so many wool projects out there I want to do. Countless blocks of the month with Kim Diehl (if she does them, I just really like her designs), Primitive Gatherings, Buttermilk Basin, The Woolen Needle, there are so many! If you’re interested in learning wool applique, come see me! I’ve got lots of wool here. I’ve also got the one of the best books on wool applique (in my opinion) – Wool, Needle & Thread by Lisa Bongean from Primitive Gatherings. Great photographs and clear descriptions.
No, I get no affliate payments or whatever from listing all these wonderful designers and their books/patterns. I just love their work and want everybody else to love it as much as I do! Full disclosure though, it can get expensive! Wool is expensive, no getting around it. I do have some wool scraps. And the hand-dyed wool that I stock, I have a smaller mark-up than a lot of stores, but it’s still expensive, I get it. And like everything else, not all hand-dyed wool is created equal. I love Primitive Gatherings and stock it here. There’s a shop in Port Angeles called Olympic Wool Works – I would stock hers, if she sold wholesale! Her wool feels like butter, it’s so soft.
ANYWAY. That’s enough from me! I hope I’ve inspired you to try a new-to-you craft! I’m off to finish my tiny wool penny mat and do some more sprucing up of the store.