It is relatively common to use wool in quilts. These quilts are outstanding for cold weather.

Wool retains heat extremely well. Wool probably retains heat better than cotton, and has the same wicking properties (they draw moisture away from your body and allows it to evaporate.) Wool quilts were very common during the Civil War, and were credited with saving many lives during the harsh winters.

Wool is a little more difficult to work with than cotton. 
Because it is generally thicker (each thread of wool is thicker than each thread of cotton), the seam allowances don’t finger press well, and will require pins to keep them in place.

Because of the thickness, the quilt will be bulkier, and it may require a stronger sewing machine needle to sew through all of the layers.

Hand quilting is different because of the thickness of the fabric and also the weave. Some wools have fewer threads per inch than cotton, so your quilting stitches should be longer, and you may want to use a thicker thread.

Until recently, wool was mostly “Dry Clean Only.” 
Each strand of wool has little barbs on it. When they become wet and agitated (as in a washing machine), the barbs join together, never to be separated. This is called “felting,” and creates a piece of fabric or quilt that is about 1/3 its original size. very disappointing if you have spent hours on the project and were hoping to would remain the same size.

New wool is on the market that they say is washable and will not shrink. Using a new biotech process, wool can be treated so it is washable in your home washing machine and will not shrink. This is a great benefit, and will require quilters to know the difference and which wool they have, so a tragic mistake is not made.

Wools tend to be more expensive than cotton, and the variety of colors and patterns available is somewhat limited. As quilters venture into other types of fabric, the selection is increasing, so look for a wider variety of wool in the future – including hand-dyed wools.

Final thoughts. With all of its challenges, wool makes great quilts. They are cuddly and warm, and drape very nicely. Try wool batting in the quilt for a 100% wool quilt.

Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren

Penny Halgren is a quilter of more than 24 years who seeks to interest new quilters and provide them with the resources necessary to create beautiful quilts.

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©2006, Penny Halgren

Penny Halgren - EzineArticles Expert Author