Supply Round Up: Standing Wool
“Traditional standing wool rugs were made by stitching narrow strips of thick woolens together so that the edges form the top and bottom surfaces of the rug. There are many ways of assembling standing wool rugs, including coils, multiple centers, freeform shapes, and combinations with shirred wool. Traditionally a linen cord was used for the stitching.”
- Diana Blake Gray
Standing wool was popular before the Industrial Revolution as a thrifty way to use up extra scraps and create rugs for the home. However, this technique fell out of use during the advent of machine-made products because the slow, handmade process is impossible to create using automation or machinery. Standing wool rugs are also called quilled wool rugs or quillies.
The work I create is exclusively for the wall. There are several ways to back and hang a finished standing wool piece. Kira Mead has a YouTube channel full of resources, including how to back and hand a standing wool piece.
Below I have rounded up all of my favorite suppliers of felt and other materials, as well as some tutorial resources!
For my own work, I cut my felt into 1” strips, however, you can cut your felt as thin as ½.”
My favorite felt suppliers:
100% wool felt in beautiful colors, and the highest quality felt on this list. The Felt Pod also makes pre-cut strips of felt if you want to go that route. However, they are the most expensive on this list because they are pure wool instead of a blend.
They have a mix of wool blends, 100% wool felt, and bamboo felt. I love their range of colors and their color palettes for inspiration.
Benzie has wool blend felt in a wide range of colors. If you need to, you can buy their felt by the bolt! This is the felt that you will find in my Tide Pool Kit.
I love their felt and their wool roving. They ship quickly and have great colors.
If you are going to use fleece, I would recommend cutting it into 2” strips and folding it in half. Leave the folded edge as the visible edge to emulate the clean lines of the felt.
Flannel can be used the same way that you use fleece. This will be thinner than either the fleece or the felt, but you can find flannel in various colors and patterns, and it is an easy textile to find in a thrift store.
Other thrifted textiles
Any fabric can be used for a standing wool creation. I find thicker fabrics like denim and canvas to be harder to sew. Additionally, when you work with woven fabrics, you will need to make a plan for managing any unraveling that happens. If this is a desired effect, you can let it happen or even encourage it. If you do not want to deal with unraveling, you can fold it in on itself like bias tape or serge the cut edge.
Other supplies for standing wool:
I use DMC and Sublime embroidery floss for all of my projects. Any embroidery floss will do, but depending on the end use of your work, you may want to check on color fastness if the finished piece will come into contact with water.
Glass head straight pins
Pins are essential for holding your piece together while you are working on it. I like 1 ¼” pins with a round head.
Size 1 embroidery needles from John James are my favorite all-purpose needle. Doll needles are good for larger sections, and curved needles are ideal for binding coils together.
Books and resources*Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you
Traditional Shirred and Standing Wool Rugs by Diana Blake Gray
Coils, Folds, Twists, and Turns: Contemporary Techniques in Fiber by Tracy Jamar
YouTube tutorials coming to bit.ly/amytube (case sensitive)
Kira Mead on YouTube, Accidental Rugmaker on Facebook and Instagram
Standing Wool Rug Making - Quillie Rugs on Facebook
Did I miss any of your favorite supplies? Let me know in the comments!