Wool felt quilt blocks

So you know the saying about the cobbler’s children going barefoot? I feel like that, only in my case, it’s the quilter’s bed going ugly. If you come across a fellow reader of this blog, you will recognize her/him by the stunned, partially blind eyes which are the result of foolishly scrolling through photos of the extraordinary (and I mean this in the worst, ugliest sense of the word) comforter on my bed.

But, that ugly comforter has perfect comfort going on, and so every fall, I sigh, close my eyes, and put it back on my bed. I mean, seriously, I even tried to shame my own self into getting something better looking. But guess what’s on my bed, although it is hidden under my summer coverlet. Shame, apparently, does not work on me, even when I put the full court press on my shame-button.

So, what’s a quilter to do?

Well, last year, I had an epiphany– which, as you quilter’s know, does not mean that a quilt is going to get made anytime in the near future. But the idea is epiphanous–and once you have a quilt idea, you could, in theory, make a quilt.

So, my epiphany was to buy lots of sweaters, full them (the technical term for turning knitted fabric into felt by tossing it into the washing machine), then cut them up and make scrap blocks. Once I had enuf blocks, it would be a simple matter to sew them together, back them with flannel, bind, and voila! A nice winter comforter that isn’t ugly!

After marinating my epiphany for a year, I am getting busy with those sweaters. And I have to tell you, I am having a BALL!!! This is way way too much fun! I am chopping up pieces, fitting them together, zigzagging the butted edges, spritzing them with water, pressing it all flat, then trimming to 10″. There’s no rhyme or reason to the blocks, they are just fun. I do have an idea for the finished piece, and I’m excited to see it to completion.

Want to see some blocks? OK then! I promise to keep you all updated as I finish up this project.

I am cutting with scissors, eyeballing sizes and shapes, because I want a free form style. The felt is so forgiving to stitch, and I love how it pulls itself back into shape with steam and heat…but it seems to keep some rakish angles and shapes!

wool-felt-block-before-blog.jpg This is what a block looks like after zigzagging the butted edges but before spritzing, pressing, and trimming. It doesn’t look much better than the ugly comforter, does it?

wool-felt-block-trimmed-blog.jpg But, voila! A little water, a little heat, and some judicious trimming, and it is pretty groovy! I like it. (Best part about this ironing? You don’t have to sing about talking horses or fish heads. And if you want to know what I’m talking about now, you’ll have to go read Rice Freeman-Zachary’s blog.)

wool-felt-blocks-1-blog.jpg wool-felt-blocks-2-blog.jpg

Above are 4 different blocks so you can get an idea of where I’m going with this. I have it up on my design wall at the moment. I think I’m going to make a bars/stripes type design for the center, then surround that with these scrappy blocks, then a “solid” narrow border, then a striped outer border. That’s the plan, but we’ll see where this takes me.

The wool is surprisingly soft, and I think I’ll like sleeping under the quilt. Hmmm– I think that it can’t be called a quilt, because it doesn’t have 3 layers. Well, in any event, it’s going to be nicer than the ugly comforter.

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9 Comments

Filed under Art quilt, felted wool, Fiber, Fiber Art, Quilting, sewing, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Wool felt quilt blocks

  1. Ricë

    but i think you should sing ANYWAY! just for fun. fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads. . . .
    (OK, my job here is done.)

  2. dawn

    I love the way this is turning out. What a brilliant idea you had. I can’t wait to see the finished product. And I agree with Rice….sing the fish heads song just for the hell of it.

  3. I knew you guys would get the song stuck in my head again. Well, it’s been so long, I’ve almost kind of missed it.
    Fish heads, (steam) Fish heads (press) roly poly fish heads (done)

  4. Okay, Susan, I’m gonna have nightmares about fish heads! Love the blocks and can’t wait to see what it looks like when finished!

  5. Annette

    LOOKS VERY COOL….i had this urge last winter, rummaged the closets and thrift stores, actually had enough blocks to make two queen sized quilts…found that i wanted to put a polar fleece backing on them for more warmth (cold here in PA) and possibly “tie together” with some vintage buttons scattered across the top…(good way to use up my ENDLESS button collection)…LOVE them, but my only complaint is sometimes you have to zigzag a few times, as they have had a tendency to pull apart in places! Keep up the good work!!
    Annette

  6. Susan! I LOVE this! I am thinking about doing something similar but my bedroom is almost all white/beige. (an attempt to sooth my eyes after being in my studio all day). Wonder how long it would take to find enough sweaters in white/cream/beige to do this??? Do you think your quilt will be overly heavy when you are done?
    (hey)Jude

  7. jomaj

    This is brilliant – and it’s easy to go to thrift stores and pick up wool sweaters for a song. Throw them in the washing machine, tumble in a hot dryer – game on! While it can’t technically be called a quilt, historically there were pieced tops with no batting, just a light backing, called “summer spreads” for their lightweight summer use. I’d call this one a “winter spread” and glory in the results. I love your results – keep posting the progress!

  8. Andrea

    You might want to get a felting brush and needles. Then you don’t need a sewing machine, you just overlap the pieces and felt them together. The seams virtually become seamless. You can use any old clothing made of wool like women’s skirts or men’s wool suits. These woven materials are much thinner than knit sweaters. What is wonderful about the felting brush and needle tool is the versatility for adding decorative touches, and the pieces will not pull apart. Don’t limit ourself to blankets. You can make jackets, coats, purses, etc. as the felting brush and needle tool will allow you to shape it as well.

  9. Geri

    Do you have any pictures of the finished quilt? Love, love love the squares on this page.

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