Types of wool
- Just because the label says 100% wool, it does not make it right for rug hooking
- Not all wool is created equal
- Recycled pros and cons
- cost of gas and time to buy
- average skirt only yields about 5 ounces
- a yard of rug hooking wool weights about 14 – 16 ounces
- takes 3 skirts to yield about 1 yard
- limited color choices
- Moth risk
- bringing old clothing into your home increases your risk of a moth infestation
- take the wool from your car directly to the washer and wash with warm water
- rip the wool apart outside and away from the house to avoid spreading any eggs
- snip and rip – the small amount of wool you get by ripping out the seam is negligible
- there is some nasty stuff in the seams and hems
- More moth details are included in my book, Dyeing Without Dye.
- avoid jackets and blazers
- higher cost per piece and usually only the arms are useable. The rest has a fusible lining that leaves a residue.
- Skirts and slacks are the best source.
- Coats and blankets are usually too thick.
- Scarves and shawls are usually beautiful, but expensive for the amount of wool you get
- worsted is the worst
- You can use less than 100% wool – personal decision
- I like thicker wool rather than thin
- I avoid the 2×2 weave
- Trust your source, know how the wool is stored and what the vendor’s standards are
How to Wash Rug Hooking Wool
- All wool should be washed to make if fluffy – but also to eliminate any pests
- You CAN hook with wool right off the bolt
- Wash wool the same way you would wash blue jeans (I even wash wool with blue jeans)
- cool water, hot regular dryer
- If you air dry, it will not fluff
- Be sure your detergent does not include bleach
- Test for 100% wool using bleach
- Snip it into hookable pieces – The method I use.
- fold the selvedges together and snip the fold
- open it up, fold one selvage to the snip.
- fold again, fold one more time
- snip two places on one side and one on the other
- open it up and repeat with the other side
- your pieces are 1/16 yard
- each piece will hook approximately 25 square inches
- Label your newly washed and snipped wool with a tag
- I cut 5” x” 8” index cards into 4 pieces that are 2” x 5”. Fold in 1/2 and staple on the edge
- Include your name
- Include a dye formula and base color
- Include source – who you bought it from, do they have a name/code for the wool?
- Include a date
- Did you buy it for a specific rug?
- All of these notes will help you find more if you need it.
Washing Maching concerns
- I’ve heard some people say that washing wool broke their washer. I’ve never had a problem
- Keep the sump clear with bleach
- Bleach will dissolve wool and is a great way to test for 100% wool
- If a blend, the non-bleach fibers will still be in the cup
- Dryer – keep the vent clear
- A smooth vent will have less build up than a rippled one.
- Avoid softener sheets – they can create a waxy buildup that the fibers stick to
The wire shelving I used is now discontinued, but here is a link to several that are very similar. This is an affiliate link. At no extra charge to you, I get a small thank you from Amazon when you purchase.
What advice would you give a new rug hooker about buying wool?
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