It has never been a secret from all of you that I absolutely LOVE wool. What is it about this wonderful renewable resource that calls to me in its various forms? I will never know. It has me under its spell, and I really do not care. :) I mourn the days gone by... Does anyone remember the days of thick plush felt made from 100% wool, the norm in those days, that was easily found and not an expensive oddity? My Mom made us all Christmas stockings from a current pattern (which at the time was the 1960's) and used felt to construct them. She still has those stockings. They of course would be considered vintage now! LOL But the felt of the day was thick dense 100% wool. It stood up through many Christmases that saw pounds of fruits and candies 'come and go'. (Although one of my sister's still has a piece of candy melted in the toe of hers! ;) )
Where is the quality of yesteryear? As I stated earlier, wool IS a renewable resource. Why is it such a rarity? Why does it cost over $22 dollars a yard to find quality wool by the yard to dye? Let's not even discuss felt again... I mean the current quality of wool felt... you know that usually has 35% wool content, IF you are lucky. I made myself and two of my sister's sets of stockings fashioned from the same pattern that my Mom used back in the 60's. I searched high and low for 100% wool felt in the appropriate colors. The finished products paled in comparison to the 1960's group. They are thin, only trusted for display in my house and have felt embellishments that colors could not be found in 100% pure wool... :( It really bugs me. Sorry about the rant, but I just needed to throw a few questions out into the blogosphere. It relieves my mind a little. Now, onward to my post...
Penny rugs are one of the most creative and unique forms of hand stitched decorations. Spanning back to pioneering days, it was a great way to protect tables that were not sealed from candles that could run. Plus, they were just simple decorations that played in well to having pieces of fabric that were not big enough for any one item. With circles being a primary motif, the tiniest pieces could be cut into circles drawn from using coins as templates... Pennies included... Hence the name. ;) I especially love it, because it is a kind of "anything goes" craft, involving artistic imagination and hand needle crafting. How can you top that? The little rugs feed well into my love of salvaging wool from thrift store items as well. :)
There has been a Halloween drawing in my sketch book that begs to be turned into a modern day penny rug. After much thought, I decided the main piece of wool should be dyed. (A hobby I have not tried... yet. ;) ) This is where Etsy and EBay come in. Thanks to some very talented fiber artists, I have the beginnings of a gorgeous dyed stash, created with Dorr wool. The first two colors are courtesy of Gina from Across Generations. (Click on her name to visit her Etsy store.) I marvel over the various colors that emerge in such a copacetic way on her fabric... breathtaking! Then the next two pieces are from Frances at Sun and Wind Farm. (Click on her name to visit her website. She also has an Etsy store.) The depth in this ladies colors is nothing short of spectacular. The range of her colors is extraordinary. I hope that I live to see her full span of colors folded in stacks inside one of my hutches. *sigh* The last four colors are from Petit Violet. (Click on her name to visit her EBay item page.) The colors literally spring from the wool. They are based on a more basic one color application, so they are "jump off the wool" vibrant.
Each store packaged their wool attractively and shipped in a timely matter. I was very impressed. Their shipping was fair, as well as pricing. One must keep in mind the size of the wool that is being purchased. It seems that their main customers are rug hookers, but the sizes are equally as friendly to penny rug creators. As far as appearance, it is simply a matter of design. Pricing might give some new wool purchasers an enlightening moment; but when you consider that Dorr wool can sell upwards to $22.00 a yard retail and these are hand dyed "ready to use for that special project", I think their prices are more than fair. Plus keep an eye out, I hesitated and missed a wonderful sale at Sun and Wind Farm. I am hoping to catch it the next time around! :)