JABC Stitch School: Wool Resources and FAQs

June 05, 2020

You may have noticed, we love working with wool!  The delicious colors and non-ravely edges make it one of our design favorites. Plus the texture of wool against  our handmade and hand-dyed buttons is a match made in crafting heaven!

With every new wool appliqué pattern release, we are asked about our sources. You'll find a few of the most frequently asked questions below. 

Do you offer kits to go with your patterns?

We've offered many project kits over the years, and you can still find many of them in our store. Because we are so busy making buttons and pins, we simply don't have the manpower to make more kits. Instead we design patterns and let you know what brands and colors of wool we've used. You can shop for supplies locally at your favorite store or order online. A new Just Another Button Company pattern may suggest a background color you want to purchase to get the same look, but you'll find that by saving the leftover bits after each project, you can often cut the small pieces from your scraps.

What is the difference between felted wool and wool felt?

When working with wool appliqué, we use either felted wool or wool felt.

Felted wool (usually just referred to as wool and shown in the sample above) is a woven textile that has been washed and agitated causing the fibers to shrink (known as felting). Felted wool fibers make the weave of the fabric very tight and resistant to fraying. Because it's woven, the texture is softer and drapes nicer than the felt options (below). If you plan to add your appliqué design to clothing, you will want to use felted wool.

Tip: One thing to note, because wool fibers are naturally off-white, you won't find a pure white felted wool. To whiten the fibers, they would have to be bleached which causes damage. A bright white can only be found in wool felt blends (see below).

Wool Felt (shown in the sample above) is a composite material where wool fibers are pressed together to create a sheet. The matted fibers are very dense, resulting in a stable fabric for appliqué. The texture tends to have more body than felted wool, but quality wool felt brands are not at all stiff.

 

Wool felt blends are composite material made of wool fiber and rayon ( a man-made fiber created from wood pulp). The two are blended together and formed into a sheet. Like wool felt, the fibers are tightly blended making it a suitable material for appliqué. Wool felt blends tend to be more stiff and have a textured surface.

Tip: If you are doing a project where a dimensional element is included (like the flowers and leaves above) you will want to choose a wool felt or wool felt blend since the stiffness of the material will add structure.

One other felt that we should mention is craft felt. This is the inexpensive felt you see in craft stores (usually near the kids crafting section). It is made from 100% synthetic fibers. Colors are usually very limited. While it is good for some crafts, we do not recommend it for stitching projects.

How does the cost of each type compare?

Prices for each vary. Felted wool is usually the most costly, followed by 100% wool felts. Wool blends will be the least expensive. Generally, the higher the percentage of wool in a wool blend, the higher the price. When you are lucky enough to find a hand-dyed felted wool for your project, keep in mind that a craftsperson added value along with the beautiful colors.

Where can I purchase felted wool or wool felt?

We've created the lists below as a resource for purchasing felted wool and wool felt. These are businesses that we know personally or that members of our team have shopped with. A quick internet search for "felted wool", "wool fabric", and "wool felt" will return many more options. 

On the list for felted wool sources, we've made note of which shops offer Weeks Dye Works wool since it is commonly used in our patterns. While we often use WDW wool, you can certainly substitute your favorite brand of wool or wool felt. You will also see notes of shops offering smaller cuts of wool for those of you preferring to purchase something smaller than a fat quarter.

Tip: Don't forget to check with your local quilt or needlework shops. Many of them carry wool and wool felt also!

Tip: You can click HERE to find a PDF of the list for wool sources.  We will update the lists as we have more information to share.

Felted Wool Sources: 

Acorns & Threads

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.acornsandthreads.com
  • location: 4475 SW Scholls Ferry Rd #158, Portland OR 97225
  • phone: 503-292-4457
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works and In the Patch Designs wool in fat quarters, smaller cuts, and bundles.

A Stitch in Time

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.astitchintime.com
  • location: 5724 St. Augustine Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32207
  • phone: 904-731-4082
  • Offers Sue Spargo wool in fat quarters and eighths; wool bundles.

Bird Brain Designs

  • online: www.birdbraindesigns.net
  • location: Hailey, ID
  • phone: 208-788-0221
  • Offers hand-dyed wool in yardage and precuts.

Folktales Fabric Shop

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online:  folktalesfabricshop.blogspot.com
  • location: 1885 Kok Road, Lynden, WA
  • phone: 360-354-0855
  • email:  folktales@netzero.net
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works fat quarters; wool by the bolt, 6"-7" squares, charm packs, and fat quarters.

HollisHandsCreate

Little Red Hen

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: thelittleredhenonline.com
  • location: 612 Hope Ave, Muscatine, IA 52761
  • phone: 563-262-5709
  • Offers in-house hand-dyed wool in cuts and bundles.

Prairie Point Junction

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: prairiepointjunction.com
  • location: 124 East 8th, PO Box 184, Cozad, NE  69130
  • phone: 308-784-2010
  • Offers 100% wool (assorted brands) as well as wool blend felt. 100% wool available in 9" x 28" pieces, 18" x 28" pieces or yardage.  National Nonwovens Wool Blend Felt can be purchased in 12" x 18" pieces and yardage.

Prairie Woolens

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: prairiewoolens.com
  • location: 108 S Main St, Paullina, IA 51046
  • phone: 712-229-0341
  • Offers in-house dyed wool and wool felt

Quilt 4 U

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.quilt4u.com
  • location: 908 Rain Forest Parkway Ste E, Columbia, MO 65202
  • email: info@quilt4u.com
  • Offers wool in fat quarters, smaller cuts, and bundles.

Simply Unique by Sheila

The Olde World Quilt Shoppe

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.theoldeworldquiltshoppe.com
  • location: 30855 North Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek , AZ 85331
  • phone: 480-473-2171
  • Offers hand-dyed Dorr wool in cuts 1/16th to 1/2 yard; wool bundles for seasons and holidays.

The Silver Needle

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.thesilverneedle.com
  • location: 6068 S. Sheridan, Tulsa, OK 74145
  • phone: (888) 543-7004
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works wool in fat quarters and 8" x 8" precuts.

The Shanty Stitchers

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.shantystitchers.com
  • location: 104 N. 3rd St., Beresford SD  57004
  • phone: 705-661-4258
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works wool; Primitive Gatherings by the square inch.

The Tinsmith's Wife

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online: www.tinsmithswife.com
  • location: 405 7th St., Comfort, TX 78013
  • phone: 830-995-5539
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works fat quarters and some smaller cuts.

The Woolery

  • Brick & Mortar Store
  • online:  www.woolery.com
  • location: 859 East Main Street, Suite 1A, Frankfort, KY 40601
  • phone: 800-441-9665
  • Offers Weeks Dye Works fat quarters.

    Winterberry Cabin

    • online: www.winterberrycabin.com
    • location: 13 Old Wheaton Quarry Rd, Barre, VT 05641
    • phone: 802-279-3353
    • Offers hand-dyed wool in fat quarters, smaller cuts, and bundles.

     

      Wool Felt Sources:

      Benzie Design

      • Brick & Mortar Store
      • online: www.benziedesign.com
      • location: 24118 W Chicago Street Suite 102, Plainfield, Illinois 60544
      • Offers precuts and yardage of wool blend felt in wide range of colors.

      Felt On The Fly

      Prairie Point Junction

      • Brick & Mortar Store
      • online: prairiepointjunction.com
      • location: 124 East 8th, PO Box 184, Cozad, NE  69130
      • phone: 308-784-2010
      • Offers 100% wool (assorted brands) as well as wool blend felt. 100% wool available in 9" x 28" pieces, 18" x 28" pieces or yardage.  National Nonwovens Wool Blend Felt can be purchased in 12" x 18" pieces and yardage.

      Prairie Woolens

      • Brick & Mortar Store
      • online: prairiewoolens.com
      • location: 108 S Main St, Paullina, Iowa 51046
      • phone: 712-229-0341
      • Offers in-house dyed wool and wool felt

      The Felt Pod

      • online: www.thefeltpod.com
      • location: Los Angeles, CA
      • phone: 308-784-2010
      • Offers 100% wool (assorted brands) as well as wool blend felt. 100% wool available in 9" x 28" pieces, 18" x 28" pieces or yardage.  National Nonwovens Wool Blend Felt can be purchased in 12" x 18" pieces and yardage.

      (updated 6/5/20)

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