Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Wonder of Wool

Wool is amazing. It's that simple. I've loved it as long as I can remember, and it's put me in the way of some friendly ridicule from my dear family. Elizabeth has always kidded me that my kids will just be dying to go to her house, because she won't make them wear wool sweaters all the time and sleep under wool blankets.Even the scratchiness of wool clothes (e.g. sweaters, skirts and jackets) has never bothered me --- to the amazement of Mom and Elizabeth. I just love wool. It's liquid repellent if you happen to be playing in the snow or out in the rain, and it dries almost immediately.

It's no wonder that making wool felt dolls and learning how to needle felt dolls seemed like such a fun hobby. I'm finally convincing the family of the great value of wool, and opening this Etsy shop and working on little wool felt dolls has certainly helped. Mom and Elizabeth have pretty much gone off the "deep end" when it comes to studying, selecting and using wool felt. What blends are the best? Where is the best place to buy it? How many colors are available? What's the best cut to buy? Is it better as yardage or by the square? Those are the type of things that they've spent a lot of time on these days.

All this to say, we've discovered some great uses for wool over the years, and I thought that it would be a pretty fun post to show some of the things that this amazing fiber can be used for.

Felted Dolls, of course. My favorite wool thing has to be a doll. I love everything about them. Making them, holding them and admiring them. They are just wonderful all around.

Clothing (i.e. Coats, Hats, Sweaters, Socks, etc.). There is nothing better than wearing wool. A Winter coat, a sweater. You name it, and I love wearing it. My favorite thing has to be knitted wool socks. Not only do they keep your feet warm and toasty, but they are truly beautiful things to behold. I have three pairs of striped socks that I've gotten at some of the fiber shows, but I'd love to have a pair of knitted Scandinavian-design knee socks. In fact, this is a picture of a particular pair (available in this shop on Etsy) that I really admire. Wow! I couldn't imagine much better than that.

Felt Play Food. This is our newest discovery, and Elizabeth and I have pretty much gone nuts over it. Apparently, this has been all the rage for some years as part of the Waldorf school technique. Somehow, we had never heard of it --- until this week. I even parted with my "Christmas money" and bought a set of patterns (guess where??? --- from this shop on Etsy!) to make complete felt meals. A French Toast breakfast. Pizza and fried mozzarella. Sandwiches and hamburgers. Fruit salad. Ice cream. You name it . . . practically. Take a look at these pictures and tell me that it doesn't look almost real!

Felted Animals. Mom laughs at me for "favoriting"  felted animal sales on Etsy. She doesn't understand why someone who makes felted dolls all the time would bother staring (multiple times, that is) at pictures of felted animals that other people are selling. Well, I LOVE making dolls. People. That doesn't mean that I enjoy felting animals --- but I do admire them. Below are two pictures of felted animals that I really love. The first is a Barn Swallow, and if you've been reading my blog in any of the past Summers, then you know that is my all-time favorite bird. It is available from this shop on Etsy.  The second picture is a Scottish Fold kitten (see it on Etsy here). Do you get cuter than that? How I would love to have a felted kitten of my cat, Samwise. This pose is perfect. In fact, I've been saving some of Sammy's fur (which felts beautifully) for years and want to make a felted kitten of him. I just haven't gotten up the courage to try it.

Baby Diaper Covers & Children's Clothes. A few weeks ago, Mom found out about wool diaper covers. That's a fabulous alternative to plastic or rubber. I'm a big fan of cloth diapers, but it drives me crazy that you "have" to put the plastic or rubber cover on. Well, I guess it is only us Americans that suffer from that delusion! Europeans have been using knitted wool diaper covers forever, and it's just fabulous. After reading a lot about them and looking at all kinds, I decided that my favorite is the Disana brand. They are German-based and 100% wool. No elastic. No ties. No buttons. No snaps. Just plain knitted wool. Not only do they make the cutest diaper covers, but they also have a line of children's clothes made of wool. Take a look at the boiled wool "cover-all" suit. I mean, that looks like the old-fashioned, precious baby suit for Winter. And it can come in a variety of colors. So, I'm sold on wool baby clothes, too --- from the diaper on up!

These are just some of the wonderful things that can be done with wool. This post would go on forever if I listed everything that I love, but these are some standouts. So, it gives you an idea of what really speaks to me. If you haven't tried loving wool, then I sure recommend it. This said, I should be upstairs making a little wool doll to list on Etsy. :) More later.

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