Friday, January 24, 2014


  My love affair with wool.....most specifically felted wool, began as a result of one of my quilting cruises.  This time our 7 day cruise was on a steam paddle wheel boat along the Mississippi river, from New Orleans to Memphis.

I wanted to create a workshop project that might reflect the era when trade along the Mississippi was the life line for so many.  After a bit of research, Penny Rugs caught my interest.  Soon I was hooked enough that it led me to writing another book.  AND......I've been experimenting with felted wool ever since. 

 Penny Rug designs usually feature birds, flowers, animals.....not abstract as this piece is.  But wanting students to have a choice of styles, many different samples were created.  
So...what's the problem??  Well.....I've learned a lot in these last 10+ years.  #1.  NOT all wool is equal.  Some wools will felt up nicely, some won't.  The denser and more compacted the fibers are, the less stretching and distortion you'll have.  Wall art in particular needs to be properly stabilized....that can be with a product such as an interfacing or by adequately stitching the layers together.  

Over the years of taking this piece to workshops and hanging in my studio from time to time, caused the top layer to develop a lot of bubbles.  You see.....the weight of the beaded coconut buttons tended to pull it away from the backing.  Lesson learned.....the layers were not sufficiently stitched together enough to prevent this problem.

Solution..... Spend hours and hours and hours cross hatching the two layers together with 1 stand of embroidery floss.  The technique is working well to draw up the excess (stretched out) fabric.

BLACK AND TAN - 15" X 20"

100% wool, bead embellished coconut buttons, hand embroidered

I'll admit, it's now getting a tad boring......but worth doing to rescue the piece. The wonky shape is an illusion....caused by taking a photo on a design wall is full!!  It will soon be available in my gallery shop (for a very reasonable price) since my workshop samples are slowing finding new homes as my teaching concludes.  If you think you might be interested and don't want to wait, name your price and email me now. More photos available upon request.

1 comment:

Marilyn Wall said...

Mary hate to hear you are retiring from teaching. I'm slowing down after this year as well. Still love to teach though.
Love your felted pieces.