Make It With Wool

Guest Blogger Sarah Thelen:

I’ve been sewing since I was in third grade. The very first thing I ever made was a pink and yellow tropical printed pillowcase and I still use it every night.

My mom used to be a Home Economics teacher and was in 4-H, so naturally I grew up in 4-H. The program focuses on having youth “learn by doing” with the motto “to make the best better.” I was always making my projects even better for judging at the county fair. Attention to every single detail and precision got me blue ribbons and a grand champion or two.

Sewing with wool was a natural next step for me. A new challenge. When I learned about the Make It With Wool contest, it only made sense for me to participate in it as well.

I had entered a couple different years and won my division at the Minnesota contest to advance to the National Make It With Wool contest. The first time I went to nationals I was so intimidated by all these other great young sewers, who had probably been to the contest before. I didn’t place the first three times I went to Nationals, but that was about to change.

I wanted to make an outfit that I knew I would wear and not something that would just hang in my closet after I was done competing with it. I was inspired by the grey herringbone quilted vests that are seen everywhere in the fall. I found this black wool at Treadle Yard Goods. For added warmth I decided to add a layer of fleece between the lining and the wool and then quilt it. I had received a piece of yellow and grey plaid Pendleton wool as a prize from a previous contest and it was perfect for a plaid shirt. I then found charcoal grey wool with stretch that was perfect for a pair of pants.

I spent hours matching plaids and drawing chalk lines for the quilting. Without fail, I was putting the finishing touches on my outfit the night before the state contest. The next day I won the Senior Division for the Minnesota contest and advanced to the National  contest.                                                                                                                                                                              

Last January, at the National Make It With Wool contest, I was named the 2017 Senior National Ambassador and won the Exemplary Construction Award for the Senior Division.  All of my hard work from over the years had paid off. I’ve spent this past year promoting the wool industry at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival, MN State Fair, the Sewing and Quilting Expo, and judging the MN Make It With Wool contest.

Wool is a fabulous fiber to work with. It seems intimidating, but it’s actually very forgiving and easy to sew with. Durability is one of the best perks of it. Wool keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer because it naturally wicks away sweat from the body. It comes in many different forms from yarn to fabric and even raw roving for spinning. You can always find the right wool for your project.









 Sarah is an intern for The Arc Greater Twin Cities. She has a B.S. in Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design from NDSU and also a Graphic Design Certificate from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. LINK