Recycled vs. Reused Wool

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It’s easy to assume that anything “recycled” must be good for the environment. In the case of recycled wool, there is a lot of wiggle room for your conscience.  Most recycled wool goods have a harsh feel to them.  In the case of wool, reusing old woolen goods may be a far better option than recycling them.

“Recycled wool” is wool fiber that has been shredded from previous woolen goods, then re-spun into new yarn to make a new end product.  This process, called “garnetting,”  damages fibers, shortening them.  Remember mom telling you not to yank at your tangles because it breaks the hairs and gives you split ends?  Same thing here.

“Reused wool,” on the other hand, is a huge trend in the crafting world.  This is something anybody can do, without special equipment. Also referred to as “repurposed” wool, the possibilities are endless.  Do a search for “upcycled wool sweaters” on Pinterest and you’ll see lots of great ideas

.reused wool blanket example

This great felted wool blanket is from chicagowillie.blogspot.com. Check out the colorful blankets posted there!

Old wool sweaters and blankets can be used as the fabric base for any number of durable end products. Pillows, totebags, and wall hangings are great possibilities.  The same quality that puts you at risk of a teeny tiny sweater if you put it into the washer and dryer– felting– makes it a fabulous fabric for crafting.

jessica vanderloo recycled wool rug

Needlefelting embellishments are all the rage, and look great on repurposed felt fabric. This technique is like painting with wool. Pieces of dyed wool roving are placed like paint on a fabric surface, and specialty needlefelting needles are used to punch the fibers into the surface.  This results in a smooth, durable fabric where the colorful “paint” melds into the background like paint on paper.

When needlefelting is combined with reused wool, some really beautiful items can be made. The durable felt decorated with colorful needlefelting makes an old sweater or blanket into a beautiful new creation.

Copyright ©  2013 Kelley Adams.  All rights  reserved.

All text, photos, and graphics are the property of Kelley Adams.

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