Wooly Felted Wonders has transformed wool in to a hot, hot, hot tool for quilters. This natural fiber is easy to work with and lasts forever.
Thea Jirak, owner of Wooly Felted Wonders, first discovered that wool was a great pressing tool when she was growing up. Her dad was in the military and her family moved around a lot. Frequently, ironing boards weren’t available, so her mom would take out her dad’s wool army blankets and press on top of them. Thea’s memory of this practical and useful tool stuck with her as she moved on, later opening a quilt store in the Portland, Oregon area.
A few years ago, Thea saw wool dryer balls popping up in retail. They were advertised as a tool for drying clothes faster and Thea began wondering why they weren’t being touted in the quilting industry. Thea found the dryer balls aerated the laundry more efficiently, speeding up the drying process. Consequently, quilts didn’t need to stay in the dryer as long. She also discovered that the wool dryer balls minimized static electricity and the lanolin in the wool helped reduce wrinkling.
Giving back to the World Community
Thea began selling her handmade, 100% New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls as Spring Market in 2017. She was the only vendor for this product at the show. Today, Wooley Felted Wonders Dryer Balls are manufactured by women in Nepal who are still struggling after that country’s devastating earthquakes in 2005. Through this business partnership, Wooly Felted Wonders is supporting fair trade, empowering Nepalese women to enter the workforce and enhance their professional/business skills, and ultimately giving back to the world community.
Other Wool Products Made in the USA
Product development is Thea’s “passion.” After Wooly Felted Wonders Dryer Balls took off, Thea began working on other natural wool product lines designed specifically with quilters in mind.
Remembering her mom’s Army wool blanket pressing experience, Thea created a Wool Ironing Mat. The wool texture holds on to fabric, allowing for even, crisp ironed seams for quilt blocks. The mats come in several sizes. The 13-1/2” mat is handy to take along to quilt classes and retreats as it is the perfect size for pressing 12” squares. In addition to the ironing mats, the company also makes custom cut ironing board covers.
Following the success of the pressing mats, Wooly Felted Wonders next big item was their Wool Pressing Bars. They were developed with Modern Quilters in mind as an aid to pressing open multiple seams. They are handmade by Thea’s husband.
Their latest wool product for quilters is their pin cushion.
Wool Bag Challenge
Earlier this year, Thea teamed with Moda Fabrics for a Wool Bag Challenge. Participants had to make large tote bags from wool. The Finalists were displayed in the Wooly Felted Wonders Booth at Road to California and winners were announced at 2019 QuiltCon. Prizes for the winners included a Bernina 535 for first place and a Bernina 330 for the second-place winner. Thea said the response was “phenomenal” and she hopes to bring back the Challenge again in the future.
Vending at Road to California
Thea thought Road 2019 was “fantastic.” She enjoyed interacting with the guests and quickly became known as “Mrs. Wooly.”
To learn more about Wooly Felted Wonders, please visit their website.