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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > What is "boiled wool?" ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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What is "boiled wool?"
I'm confused...
BrendaR
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Date: 8/27/13 2:40 PM

I posed this question on another thread but I can't stop wondering about it so I decided to start a thread of its own.

I'm confused about what boiled wool is nowadays. It used to be woven fabric--quite dense and kind of felted, like what a Tyrolean jacket would be. Might otherwise be called melton or loden. But for the past ten years or so or maybe more, I see everything in ready-to-wear that is called "boiled wool" is a sweater knit. Some are denser than others. Most of the time they are inexpensive (especially at the end of each season--maybe the most expensive is Geiger), while the earlier woven ones seemed more exclusive. Is this one of those "floating definitions" that has changed? I assume that now either a knit or a woven can be boiled wool?

Nancy K
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Date: 8/27/13 5:21 PM

Boiled wool is a felted knitted wool. It retains the flexibility of a knit, but has extra warmth. It does not ravel. You make your own by washing loosely woven wool knit in hot water for 30 minutes and drying in a hot dryer. It shrinks a lot so you need at least 50% more than your pattern calls for.

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PattiAnnJ
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Subject: What is boiled wool? Date: 8/27/13 6:24 PM

I think manufacturing is either lax in their terminology, or in communication (lost in translation?) with their advertising department..

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beauturbo
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Date: 8/27/13 7:42 PM

I don't think you are confused at all, (and could probably ID just what you think it is and want if in your hand in a second) but instead just more with the more advent of tons of internet shopping and fabric websites and the need of sometimes of some of those places to get something with tags out there google search recognized,and just sell some yardage (and with the big do it your self craft thing of knitting something and shrinking it or even tossing 100 percent wool in your own washing machine) it all has just got very, very lax, on the descriptions of anything often. And so because of that too, I do think that also changes the meanings of fabric descriptions also.

I would just know if it was more a quality made wool, that really would end up in a Geiger Tryolean and bound off kind of jacket that used to cost at least $30 (not on speical sale) per a yard even 10 or 20 years ago, if you see something advertised on the internet now for more like $6 to even maybe $30 a yard, (and if it has any rayon or cotton or polyester in it) that really most times, is just not it. but there is nothing you can do to make a bunch of random web sites just stop doing it or name anything in any kind of consistant way. My guess is a bunch of them selling stuff even described like that, probably if you asked the person whom made up the description, they may not have even worn a Geiger jacket like that or even felt it, in between in their fingers before either.

So I think for that, the old thing of if it's too cheap to be true, should be kind of the guide instead.

Maybe try to go by origin of fabric or something like that. If really was made in Germany or Italy, or close, possibly you might be a bit safer in getting what you might think it might be. Rather than made in China or such. Also if instead of showing a flat piece of fabric on a table, if they got it shown in high peaks and valley's in the fold of it, you could just even rule out a whole bunch of that stuff, just since then you could actually see in inches or mm, the actual edge and thickness of it even. So if you know how something folds or drapes or bends, (or would not do that) and you can see something else is just not like that, that might be a pretty good clue right there too.

I actually disagree with lots of fabric descriptions I see all over the internet selling fabric often, it's just that you have no control on how they describe anything at all, I think there are no sweeping held accountable kind of standards, for that.
-- Edited on 8/27/13 7:59 PM --

goodworks1
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Subject: What is boiled wool? Date: 8/27/13 7:51 PM

AFAIK:
Loden or melton cloth is a woven wool. (most likely felted/fulled)
Boiled wool has always been knitted/felted wool.
-- Edited on 8/27/13 7:51 PM --

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