A Love Afair
Or Why I use Felted Yarn.
Probably not the first blog post that you were expecting from an upholsterer, right? But I felt (get it, felt?) the need to evangelize this amazingly durable, yet ever so gorgeous yarn. I am an avid knitter and crochet addict. I especially love the super giant merino wool I have seen posted on Pinterest and Instagram. I mean what's not to love? The posts make it look stunning and yet and so simple to create. With one hook and some seriously giant wool, you can whip up something amazing rather quickly. Sometimes I don’t even use the hook, just my fingers. It's the simplicity of making something that stunning, so fast that led me here.
What started it all off? An obsession to have one of the giant Merino wool bed runners that have been all over Pinterest for the past few years. I researched and compared different types of yarn and price points. When I finally chose the yarn for me, I gluped, I had never spent that much in a single transaction on yarn ever! Over £200, but worth every penny. It is the most amazingly soft, warm and gorgeous piece I have ever made, and you know what? I don’t let my children so much as look at it. They have the run of the house, except for my bed. Nope, they can’t go near it, because it is so fragile, it pills and picks up dust and well, it isn’t very practical for a house overrun with children, but I don’t care, I love it!
I am an upholsterer (obviously) and my head started turning over ideas.... could I use this to cover a footstools? Giving them a bit of that rustic, hygge love that everyone is so into? The immediate answer? No. I prototyped a few tops and they lost their shape, pulled and pilled and were seriously impractical in probably most homes in the world.
That’s when I had a look at the Woolly Mahoosive website and saw something called felted wool. What is felted wool, you ask? Great question. The best way I can answer that is to play out the following scenario. You have a gorgeous, soft, comfy wool sweater, it accidentally gets mixed up in the wash, in a HOT cycle, it comes out small, stiff and hardly able to fit over your three year old's head. We've all been there. The only thing? That is exactly what I was looking for...I knew I had to have a go. My first attempt was to use some leftover merino wool from my blanket. I wanted see if when washed, would it felt on its own? See sad result below….
Obviously, that wasn’t going to be a big seller, so I ordered a ball of beautiful pink felted wool from Woolly Mahoosive and had a go. I was so excited when it arrived, I even hugged it, see?
It was a dream. Absolutely what I had envisioned and after 27 attempts, give or take, I was pleased with the end result. Then came the testing. The footstool was used all over Christmas, and guess what? It was amazing. It held its shape, but was still malleable enough that it would move, kind of like plumping up a cushion. The wool can be washed, because hey, its already been shrunk, it’s not getting any smaller. And while you are washing your footstool top, I have made sure what's beneath it will be neutral and can stand on its own. Which makes it so decadent and yet so practical.
Here is a quick before and after photo of merino wool, for visual reference....
If you, like me, have children that run around with sticky fingers, or a friend that likes to spill red wine, you can wash it at 30, or take it to the dry-cleaners. Simple.
But what it really comes down to is this. It is beautiful, so lush, you just want to touch it and look at it, and that’s what sold me on felted wool. With so much focus on the wool I bet you wonder what's below? Don't worry, I have been giving equal attention to every component of my footstools. From the legs ( your choice of either industrial hairpin legs, or hand-turned, oak), to the body (FSC certified wood base, high density foam, fab top fabric) every detail has been covered. Not only that, but the legs are UK made, both coming from independent, small business owners like myself. Clearly, I am biased, as they are my creations, but these stools tick all the boxes for me!
They now come in an array of colours, with more in the pipeline, I can't say enough about this wool. It is so durable that I have been weaving with it, with mad results. See a few more of my creations.
So that is my rant about felted wool. If you would like a go on it, you can try to felt it yourself. But it is a pain in the backside. I am still trying to do it, with terrible results! Watch this space as I may have a few tutorials on the go at some point. If you ever wanted to go big, try your hand at the felted stuff, I highly recommend.