Friday, August 14

Hot, hot, hot!!

Yep, it's hot here in Minnesota this week with temps at or near 90 and a big dash of humidity sometimes, too. I'm just glad that I'm not a golf fan or a golfer as the PGA is being played just west of Minneapolis and it would be too hot for me on that golf course. I am very happy right here in my room with lots of AC.
Another way to stay cool is think of how cold it will be when winter returns again. I love fall and it's beautiful colors and mid-range weather. It's my favorite season and it's only a few weeks away. I start thinking of all sorts of projects that involve wool and woolfelt and flannel. I try to work on wool projects in the summer but I just can't get enthused about working with wool when it's hot. I try but it just doesn't work. Perhaps I should paste this photo inside my project basket and it would make me "think cold"!

This shot was taken last February after we had a big snowstorm. That's my antique wooden sled hidden under that snow. Might feel good to jump into a pile of snow like that on a hot day! Anyway, on the day I took this photo, I had bought a bunch of woolfelt and was washing it to get the fluffy, "sherpa" effect. Thought that some of you might like this little tip if you enjoy working with woolfelt. It's all about creating more colors for your projects..........

First, though, I personally prefer to pre-wash all my woolfelt ( do the same with almost all my wool and cotton fabrics, too). I start by filling a small bucket with HOT water and then placing the woolfelt in the bucket. I let it set for 10-15 minutes and then pour the water out and begin rinsing the piece of woolfelt. I rinse it under cold water until almost no dye remains in the piece. I say almost, because sometimes my fingers can't stand the cold water so I figure "almost clear rinse water" is good enough for me. I never wash my woolfelt pieces after they are finished but if they got wet by accident, I wouldn't want the colors to bleed. When the woolfelt is rinsed, I place it in a zippered cotton pillowcase and toss it in the dryer with a couple of big beach towels that I use specifically for this purpose. I use the pillowcase because once I washed a piece of woolfelt and it left streaks on my dryer. This method seems to prevent that. Don't "overdry" your woolfelt. You will need to figure this out using your own dryer but I like my woolfelt to be "almost but not quite dry" and then I smooth it with my hands and let it airdry. You will have a fluffy texture to your woolfelt now (what is called "sherpa") but if you prefer a smoother look, all you have to do is iron it and you can get a nice smooth look to the woolfelt.
Now.......getting lots of color variations from your woolfelt................

See all that lovely's one of my favorite woolfelt colors, Majestic Plum. Like so many other darker Woolfelt colors, it contains a lot of dye. When you wash it, the water turns a yummy shade of purple. I figured why waste that color!
So, here's what you can do. Whenever I am washing a dark woolfelt color, I always add lighter colors to it and see what "develops". In the photo below, I have taken a 12" square of a pale yellow woolfelt and am forming it into a ball. I take the rubber bands and put them around the ball shape and then toss it in the bucket of dye water. Sometimes, I make several balls using white, pale green, pale pink, etc.

This is just like tie-dyeing a T-shirt only easier because the pieces are smaller! :-)

In the photo above you can see the color variation on a white piece of woolfelt. Once you dry the piece you are ready to use it in your next project. This technique works great because you get colors with variations that look lovely cut up as flower petals, leaves, etc. You can achieve colors that will look like cowhide or just the piece you need for a pony. This technique is great if you are looking for a blue sky with clouds effect! I have loads of color variations in my woolfelt and all because I didn't want to waste the excess dye that comes when the woolfelt is washed!
To enhance this process even more, you can use tiny amounts of fabric dyes, fabric paints, etc. to get special effects on your woolfelt. You can also use bleach - very sparingly- to remove color. I use this technique when I want to create lines on leaves, etc. Dyes from nature work well to color your woolfelt (or wool). I love using real walnut stain from real walnuts still in their casings. This is messy and probably requires a post all its own. :-) One thing, I don't use to color any fiber is kool-aid or sugar based products. I know that some have used these items successfully, but I don't like the idea of putting a food product into my woolfelt or wool that might attract bugs looking for lunch. Wool is much more prone to bug issues than woolfelt - at least in my experience. My best advice is just experiment and see what colors you can create.
Later on this month, I'll be dyeing that white wool yardage that I ordered up from the Amana Colonies and will post about it. However, tomorrow, I am headed out for a weekend quilt retreat at Bonny's Quilt Haven in Hutchinson so I won't be doing any blogging for a few days. I can hardly wait to leave!!! I've been packing for over a week just to make sure that I have everything I need. :-) I'll have lots of pictures to share when I return. See you all on Monday.
Have a great weekend all and do try to stay cool if it's hot where you are!


Crispy said...

Take heart Sandi, it's suppose to cool back down to mid 70's, perfect summer temps. It hits us in ND Monday so should hit you very soon thereafter.


Pat said...

Have a great retreat. I've not usually washed my wool-felt, but I'll take it (after the grandkids leave) and see what I can do to get more variation in colors. Sounds like fun anyway. you have to dry each piece separately or can you put more than one in that zippered pillowcase? I hate to run the dryer for just one but don't have more than one zippered pillowcase.

julieQ said...

I know, it is > 100 every day here in Texas, and I am half melted. I love your wool! I have not tried to dye anything yet...but love to admire the results.

Micki said...

No such hot weather here in Ireland...good luck with the wool felt!

Sara said...

My hubby is watching the PGA today. He said its raining there, so I hope that is heading our way! Today its 90+ in NE Ohio!

I like what you do with your wool! Thanks for sharing!

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Sandi, thanks for all the hints you have given. I think I probably have dried mine to much.
Keep Stitchen'
Can't wait to here about your retreat.

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