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Using Felted Wool

Ideas and inspiration for felted wool projects.
  • Felting Wool

    When wool is felted, it shrinks and becomes so tightly woven that it will not ravel. This is one of felt’s most appealing qualities, because you don’t need to turn under the edges as you appliqué it.

    To felt wool for appliqués, machine-wash it in hot water with a cool rinse cycle and a small amount of detergent. You can use fabric softener if you wish. Dry in a dryer on a medium setting, removing promptly and checking the filter often. Steam-press lightly if necessary.

    This variance in temperatures, along with the agitation, causes the wool to felt. Hand-dyed wool does not need to be felted before use because the dying process also felts the wool.

    TIP: If you want to felt wool from a piece of clothing, cut it apart and remove the seams so it can shrink freely.

  • Freezer-Paper Templates and Stitching

    To make a wool project like this Basket of Posies throw, use freezer-paper templates to cut felted wool into appliqué pieces.

    Lay the freezer paper over each pattern piece with the paper side up. Trace the pattern with a pencil; no not include seam allowances. Cut out the traced pattern roughly ¼" outside the line. Place pattern on the wool and press with the shiny side of the freezer paper facing the wool. Cut out on the traced line and remove the freezer paper. Reuse the freezer-paper template several times if desired.

    Use a basic running stitch or a decorative hand- or machine-embroidery stitch to attach the wool appliqués to the foundation. For added dimension, add buttons or tack wool appliqué pieces at their centers only.

    Quilt name: Bee Happy Pincushions, American Patchwork & Quilting Complete Guide to Quilting, 2002

  • Patriotic Penny Rug

    Penny rugs—so named because of their plethora of wool circles (or pennies)—traditionally use a hand-sewn blanket stitch to attach the shapes to a wool background.

    Quilt name: Stars & Stripes Penny Rug, Easy Appliqué Quilts, 2003

  • Wool Wardrobe Accessory

    Because you don’t need to turn under wool appliqué edges, wardrobe accessories like this folk art pin go together quickly.

    Quilt designer: Jill Kemp

    Quilt name: Penny Rug Fashions, American Patchwork & Quilting, October 1997

  • Wool Jacket Clip

    The dense weave of felted wool makes it especially durable, so it’s a good choice for wardrobe accessories like this jacket clip.

    Quilt designer: Jill Kemp

    Quilt name: Penny Rug Fashions, American Patchwork & Quilting, October 1997

  • Fun Felted Fall Bag

    This felted wool swing bag shows off a snazzy pumpkin appliqué.

    Quilt designer: Debbie Busby

    Quilt name: Wool Pumpkin Bag, American Patchwork & Quilting, October 2004

  • Wool Embellishments

    Simple embellishments, such as stars stitched on black felted wool, add dimension, texture, and personality to projects. This easy-does-it pillow would be perfect for the baseball fans in your life!

    Quilt designer: Sharon Stewart

    Quilt name: Baseball Duo, American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2002

  • Folk Art Inspired

    The designer’s interpretation of a traditional folk art pattern will add new dimension to your stitching repertoire. It combines embroidery, appliqué, and quilting to create this heartwarming wool-on-wool penny rug.

    Quilt designer: Janet Carija Brandt

    Quilt name: I Love You, American Patchwork & Quilting, June 1999