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What is felted wool? How is wool applique done?

Felted wool is made by washing, drying and lightly pressing woven wool fabric. The wool fibers hook onto each other and the fabric behaves more like a non-woven fabric, which means you do not have to be too concerned about directionality in how you use it, and you do not have to turn under the edges. You may find felted wool at your favorite quilt or fabric shop, or you may try felting your own pieces. The wool may sometimes be overdyed, interesting variations and rich colors.

To do wool applique, trace your pattern onto the dull side of freezer paper and cut out with a paper scissors. Place pieces with shiny side toward the wool. Using a dry iron set to wool, firmly press the pattern pieces in place  for about 15 seconds. Let cool and cut out using a sharp scissors. When you are ready to use them, peel the paper off and use short applique pins to attach the pieces to the background fabric, which could be wool or a woven natural fiber fabric.

The real fun is stitching the wool pattern pieces to the background and embellishing with more stitches. Use embroidery floss, pearl cotton, wool or silk threads. Try different threads for different looks and effects. 

Look for a class or technique book on wool applique to learn more  - and enjoy!


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