"Found Wool" Magic

From recycled plaid skirts to a shimmery background

By: By Nancy Zeppelin Parcels

Leiana, 25 ½" x 32 ½", #6-cut wool on linen. Designed and hooked by Lynne Fowler, Westover, Maryland, 2006. Lynne used this dye method for her shimmery background.

Shimmer in a hooked rug? Why not? Especially if you are upcycling “found” wool. Shopping at Goodwill, Salvation Army, thrift shops, church rummage sales, and yard sales can reward rug hookers with some lovely wools. Once you learn what to look for, you can become an expert hunter.

The Search
Begin by seeking 100% woolen goods. A word of caution, though: although lovely, worsted wool will not work well for hooking.

The best and easiest garments to work with and to deconstruct are skirts. Skirts come in all sizes and shapes; pleated skirts and plus-size skirts yield a lot of wool. Look for the garment tag to find who manufactured the skirt, where it was made, the contents of the material, and the size. Gather skirts or garments that are 100% wool.

Often you’ll find wool blended with other fabrics. While these will work in our rugs, the addition of other fibers may not be friendly to our rug cutters. Passing synthetic fibers through a cutter blade may dull the blades. Therefore, since our cutters are a large investment, my preference is to stay with 100% wool. Other garments to seek out could be woolen suits, vests, men’s slacks, men’s shirts, men’s suit coats, or blazers, woolen bathrobes, or even woolen scarves. Although most of these are a bit more difficult to deconstruct, they will yield wonderful recycled woolens.


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