Monday, May 5, 2014

Plain Wool, Over dyed Wool, Textured Wool

Before I start writing about different types of wool I'll give you an example of how a textured wool can and will work in even the most precise hooking project.  I'd never have believed it if it hadn't happened to me.

Here is my dearly departed Shadow girl which was hooked last September at Cape May with Diane Stoffel.
The wool taken for Shadow was some dip dyed (flat) wool dyed for my Rottweiler Memorial some years prior so the colors were appropriate.  Also took some textured blacks/darks.  But sadly my stash for the over dyed wool was running out and there was way more to hook on Shadow than I had taken to camp.

So Diane took me shopping (at camp) to find a suitable wool to use for Shadow's unfinished face since I'd used up all my over dyed wool.  OMG, her face.  You have no idea how frustrated I was having to make the switch.....well, if you go back that far in my blog you will see my ongoing struggle. So this is the wool Diane chose (the plaid), and I used the light section for some parts and the darker for the darker parts of Shadow.
Interestingly enough, it worked just fine.  And if you look with a critical eye you will see the variance in the photo below. 

So, would I have preferred having enough of my over dyed wool?  YES!  While it is only a hooked piece it was a special girl of mine and I wanted her to be hooked as I'd planned.  But I'm pleased with how she turned out and Diane made a dang good choice!  I'd take another class with Diane Stoffel in a heart beat!!!!  She's funny, good at what she does and her color wheel lesson is off the charts fun.
To continue....when first starting my journey with rug hooking and having absolutely no stash I, as most of us, resorted to the thrift shop.  I mean, why would I spend good money to buy wool yardage when it can be purchased for much less at the thrift shop and just for the washing, drying and dismantling of the fabric?

My first mistakes were:

~ buying clothing with any percentage of wool no matter how little
~ buying flat colors and no textured (check, plaids, herringbone, etc.)

Some of that wool did serve me well during my practice (struggle) but as my rug hooking experience matured realized that a significant amount of wool in my stash was not usable.  You see, I'd never been to a rug camp before, didn't know any other hookers in my area so was self-taught.  And now there is the Internet where other hookers communicate on groups and blogs if you aren't lucky enough to be able to go to a rug camp.

The preferred wool is 100% wool but even then you need to be careful to NOT buy WORSTED wool.  Worsted wool is a process which makes the wool thread, will not full even when washed with tennis balls.  It is worthless.

Don't buy wool with Polyester but it is okay to buy wool with 10% nylon as it will accept acid dyes and won't harm your cutter.  It is also a luxury if you find clothing which has cashmere mixed in.  Ooh la la... it makes it very soft.  I've purchased some clothing with which was 85% wool, with cashmere and nylon making up the other 15%.  It has a feel which I can identify if my fingers ever touch it in my wool basket.

Then once you take it home do not take it into your home until it is ready to be washed and dried.  That way you don't bring in unwanted moth eggs.  I would usually dismantle the clothing out on my back deck or in the garage if too cold outside.  Then take it in and wash it on warm and dry on low with a couple fluffy towels. 

Have a great evening folks and if any of you newbies reading my blog want to ask questions please feel free to write me at  If you post your question on my blog and you happen to be a "NO-REPLY" blogger I'll not be able to respond.  If you want find out if you are a NO REPLY click HERE.



  1. I did that at first too, didn't realize I got a mix in the wool but I do like nylon in it and that is also great for wool applique since it is thicker and fluffier.


  2. Saundra,
    That plaid wool worked marvelous for your Shadow girl rug! It's amazing what one can do with textures! I couldn't agree more with all your well written, great advice about wool. A seasoned hooker can spot that good stuff half a mile away!!
    Great post!!
    Cathy G

  3. What a beautiful tribute rug! I learned my thrift store lesson very quickly...last year. :) and thank you to you and other rug bloggers for sharing your experience. It has been a great help to this newbie. ;)

  4. Those are such good tips to pass along! I rarely thrift anymore, but when I do, one of my favorite things to look for is Harris Tweed wool, it always seems to be a bit furry and shaggy and looks great hooked into animals and trees. I tend to pass on men's blazers unless they are really cheap or really beautiful, because it seems like all you get is the back of the blazer....the arms and front usually have all that darn interfacing stuck to it!

  5. I love overdyed rug, they make home quite unqiue.


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