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Thread: Pre-cut wool strips from the 40s

  1. #1
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    Question Pre-cut wool strips from the 40s

    When cleaning out my mom and dad's house, I found an old GIANT can, about 3 feet high and 20 inches wide, full of wool strips and instructions my mother had typed up for making braided wool rugs. I think she was presenting a lesson to the homemakers society or something. I've kept these HUGE wheels of wool strips thinking I would braid a rug...I'm never going to braid, or crochet, a rug. A couple of days ago I had an idea...I can piece them and turn them into a quilt, right? Why not? So, log cabin, rail fence, strips? Any thoughts? I didn't look at all of them, but I think they are all dark colors, saved from suits, clothing, etc. The strips are all about 2 inches wide, light weight wool.

  2. #2
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    I am sure that you could use them in a quilt - but it would have to be dry cleaned. My MIL showed me how to use burlap as a base and use old wool clothing cut into strips and pull them through the burlap (using a frame) and she made some magnificant rugs. They wear really well, too.
    Nikki in MO

  3. #3
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Wool quilts can be washed, just use cold water. You may want to make sure they're 100% wool and not a blend before you decide about making a quilt from them. Use the burn test.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    If you make a quilt my thoughts are: you would not want to use a batting, not sure what kind of backing you would use, maybe flannel. You could not dry in a dryer. It would have to be tied.
    I think I would sell them or give them away. Just my thoughts.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

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    Or, I just make a rug as it was intended for. We'll see...

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    We had wool quilts on our beds when I was a child. They were wonderful. The way the economy is going, we may all need to start using them again. They were backed by flannel and tied. Mom washed them when they needed it. They were made from men's old suits, probably grandpa's. If you decided to sell the wool pieces please PM me.

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    I'll keep that in mind, Tanya. Maybe I'll stitch up a little practice sample to see how it goes. See what happens if I wash it, how it sews, etc.

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    Could you make one of those 1 hour race quilt since the strips are already cut?

  9. #9
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    Grandma Peg, that was my thinking. Sew together and wash in cold water. If it shrinks, it can still be used as a quilt for your favorite dog ... many love the texture of the wool. You could also felt it (washing in hot water and machine dry) and use as primitive applique on a string quilt or 9 patch quilt.
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i have made 4 (so far-always another one in the works) wool quilts---and i guess reading all of your (you can't's) i do everything wrong! but i have to tell you---
    my wool quilts are BEAUTIFUL, worth (appraised) alot, and get tossed into the washer AND THE DRYER when they need it. i use wool batting (which has little to no shrinkage & is a dream to work with) and either wool or really nice thick double sided flannel for backings. the quilts are fabulous- people love them- i sold one for $3500!
    they hold up very well- stay beautiful- i do not (baby) my wools- when recycling wool clothing i (de-construct) then wash in the washer in HOT water with detergent, rinse twice- then dry in a regular dryer-till just barely damp- then i press/iron the pieces & use them- sometimes for hand applique, sometimes for pieced blocks, i strip the left overs for hooked wool rugs- when the quilt or rug is finished it is still washable/dryable- quite usable- and i know people who are waiting in line to get one some day. wool is wonderful to work with! my favorite fiber.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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    I brought the barrel of strips into the house today...yes, they were in the garage. I really didn't think about what it was when I moved it out of my parents' house. I looked at all of them. There are reds and blues and browns and plaids...I'm thinking rustic log cabin. I would love to piece it on one of my treadles...not sure how practical that would be for a full size, but maybe for my practice doll-size quilt. I really want to do this. Thanks for all the input!

  12. #12
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Your idea sounds great. I saw a quilt made out of wool suiting with decorator fabrics interspersed and it was gorgeous. Someone gave me some wool men's suit sample squares and I have been collecting decorator fabric. I pieced an entire quilt on my treadle. Cotton of course, but don't know why wool wouldn't work. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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    Can I ask, why do people say they wouldn't quilt it? Just tie it instead?

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    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    One of the first quilts I made was with wool cut from old coats. I Cut them all different sizes, depending on the size of the scrap I was working with, then using a long running stitich I outlined each square with a vine of leaves and flowers (very simple design), sewed them together into a queen size (it weighed a ton!) backed it with flannel and gave it to my son and his new wife. They are still using it and it gets washed a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingweb View Post
    Can I ask, why do people say they wouldn't quilt it? Just tie it instead?
    USually the thickness of wool fabric is so much thicker than cotton combined with the flannel backing that it is impossible to make the small quilting stitches in a rocking motion that hand quilters prefer. It is necessary to quilt with the stabbing motion of putting the needle through the fabric from the front, pullin the thread taut, then pushing the needle from the back to the front and pulling the thread taut again . It is not impossible to quilt, but harder to quilt than many like to do. This is the stitch that was most frequently used at a quilting bee when the sandwiched quilt was fixed in a frame and hang from the ceiling and all the ladies sat around it and quilted and talked. Also, if there is so batting, there is so real reason for quilting other than aesthetics. Tieing will keep the backing and front together quiet well enough to keep them from slipping during usage.

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    I could quilt it on my long-arm though, right? The wool is very light weight, not very thick. I guess I'll have to see what it looks like once I decide what to do with it. Maybe I could just use the long arm to tack it, instead of an all-over design.

  17. #17
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I don't know about longarm quilting a wool quilt, but I've quilted them using 'big stitch' quilting....all had a wool top and backing with an old flannel blanket as batting. Quilted with crewel yarn.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  18. #18
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    The One I saw using men's suiting interspersed with decorator fabrics used metallic thread with a decorative stitch randomly placed. It was gorgeous and my guess was quilted on a DSM. it had Berber fleece as a backing and no batting.

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    Weren't most Amish quilt traditionally made with wool? You can make quilts from many different fabrics. All you have to do is look at a book of old quilts. There are quilts made from silk, velvet, wool, linen, and cotton. And these quilts were made before dry cleaning existed. If you want to make sure a fabric will work for quilting, make a sample quilt and wash it the way you plan to wash the finished quilt.

  20. #20
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Depending on how much you have, you could make a wall hanging, that would really display the old wool. May I suggest that you go thru every piece and make sure the wonderful bugs have not had breakfast, lunch and dinner on the wool...would be horrible to start and not be able to finish. My most favorate pattern is the log cabin, and would be my first choice, second would be a diagonal strip. If you have tons and tons then make a quilt. i would recommend you wash before unless you are making just a wall hanging. If the strips are from old clothing, then you know they have been washed before. If not do some test pieces, see what happens with cold water...see what happens with hot, that would be like felting it, really tighting up the weave, my only worry would be the age and if it would survive....IMHO
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

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    Wonderful input! Thanks everyone. I will keep you posted. Today I've been finishing up some UFOs that needed binding. I'm amazed I can get ALMOST done and not finish completely. Lots of binding to do.

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    Name:  logcabinwool.jpg
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Size:  634.5 KBThey seem really bright in this picture, but don't seem so bright when I'm working with them. I'm not trimming them or re-cutting, just using them as they come off the roll. I 'll square them up when I'm done. I have 15 done so far...I guess I really should figure out how many I want. I started with 15 red squares and am string piecing...it's amazing how much faster than the one at a time method I used on my first log cabin quilt.

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    I love wool quilts! My grandmother made tons of them, I still have several of them, and I toss them into the washer as needed and machine dry on low with no problems. They're tied, with cotton batting and flannel backing - one of the ones I have even went to Viet Nam with my uncle! Very warm, very heavy, very cozy. I treasure all of them! I think your quilt will be wonderful!

  24. #24
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Looks very nice, good choice.......will it be a wall hanging, throw or bed quilt ???????????????
    Yes that is a real picture of my hometown Temecula, California. We feature premiere Wineries, World Class Golf Courses, Pechanga Indian Casino and Hot Air Balloons

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    I think I'll go as big as I can. It might end up bed sized. I had one roll of red, lots of blues and tans and browns, some kelly green that I decided to skip, and some mauvy pink. My grandmother made a lot of wool quilts too. She cut the blocks, stitched around the edges with a straight stitch to stabilize and the crocheted around all of them before she stitched them together. All of the wool was from old coats, pants, etc. I have a few of them that she made and I really love them...more of an afghan than a quilt, no batting or backing, but cozy and pretty. I think she made one for each of her children and all of her grandchildren, she was always working on one project or another. I loved watching her work.

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