Letter Re: Sewing, Mending and Altering Your Clothing After the Ball Drops

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Dear James,
As a former professional seamstress, I have a comment on using woolen materials for quilts.  They can successfully be washed, provided that the woolen material was previously washed before making a quilt of it, whether the wool is used as the top layer, or as the batting.

The wool should be washed in hot water, and then dried on high heat in the dryer.  It will shrink, which has the double advantage of:  1. making it much warmer; and 2. washed wool becomes somewhat felted, which makes it much sturdier and less prone to wear and pulling of threads which might catch on splinters or rough surfaces.

I have run wool fabrics through the washer and drier prior to sewing them for many years for exactly these reasons, and have nearly always been pleased with the results…except for a couple of extremely loosely knitted fabrics which over-shrank.  Still, even these would have been good for quilt stuffing.

Speaking of which, you can find woolen clothing at thrift shops which can be used for stuffing, as well as for tops.

The author also mentions using acrylic yarn for knitting.  Yes, it is cheap and warm.  However, under TEOTWAWKI conditions, it would be a disaster, since it frays and starts wearing out within a year of heavy use.  Woolen yarn is almost impossible to get any more at ordinary stores, but is readily available online – try eBay – at prices comparable to acrylic. 

Woolen yarn lasts for years, and can be re-knitted when the original item develops wear spots, as the author describes.  Doing that with acrylic is a waste of time. 

I am not a herder, but do know that tribesmen in the Arabian desert mostly live on the sheep they herd, and wear woolen clothing.  Also, the Navajo of the southwest are famous for their woolen blankets, made from the sheep they raise.  Clearly there are sheep that would do fine in the author’s desert area.  Perhaps some of your readers would know what breeds would be appropriate.

The tied quilt sounds like a really fast and simple way to make quilts under emergency conditions.

Wiggy’s is planning to offer quilting, so your readers may want to contact him. Warmly, – Janet W.

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