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A Woolly Surprise

I was asked by the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts to teach my Coiled Fabric Bowl class for the upcoming Fall University Day (FUD) held October 1, 2016. The FUD theme is “All About Wool,” which meant the fabric for the bowl had to be wool. It is hard to find shops that sell 100% wool in my area, so the event chairperson suggested I go see Joyce Krueger. She had heard Joyce has “a lot of wool.”

I contacted Joyce and made arrangements to stop at her home and see what she might have for wool. And, that’s where the delightful WOOLLY SURPRISE came about! Ha, she wasn’t joking about “a lot of wool.”

Everywhere I turned in her home were beautiful rugs she has hooked or braided and patterns she has created. I wish I had taken more photos of her finished works - beautiful, intricate, sophisticated, fun, folk, modern, holiday-themed and fine art-worthy.

Her workshop was in the basement. I was first greeted with a mini museum exhibit of sewing items that were either her mothers or grandmothers. Next, a classroom space for her students. I learned Joyce is a retired textile teacher from Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) as well as an active member in the Cream City Rug Hooking Guild.

Everywhere I turned there were buttons, ribbon, lace, thread, yarn, baskets of wool strips and more rugs.

We went into the adjoining room and I was stunned by the amount of wool! Cabinets and more cabinets and bins all filled with wool all sorted by colors. She also dyed about 90 percent of her wool.

That’s when I discovered her dyeing kitchen!

Joyce has “cataloged” every dye she has used with a color and number and the formula. WOW. She has this all on index cards with a sample of the shades of each color, i.e., 100%, 50%, 25%, etc. of the dye. Plus, look at this photo below of dyed wool swatches, each with a corresponding number, which is only half of all the swatches she has.

Then we went into the final room in her workshop. It was filled with bolts of wool. The extensive selection of wool was jaw-dropping.

After this wonderful tour, we got to the task-at-hand, to find wool for the Coiled Fabric Bowl class. I was very intrigued with the “spot dyeing” pieces Joyce had done. It really isn’t like most fabrics one normally finds. We searched for all the spot dyeing pieces and analyzed each for the class.

After much deliberation, I choose this rich teal blue, brown and rust orange.

I made up my sample bowls. And shortly before the class, Joyce will create more of this spot dye wool fabric just for the participants of the class.

What started as a little errand to check out wool, turned into one of my favorite show-and-tell field trips! Joyce is delightful; I had many questions that she was happy to answer and embellish with stories and how-to instructions. (Thank you Joyce)!

I hope you will consider taking the class on October 1 for FUD. If you do, you’ll know right where the fabric came from! For more information, go to

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