Standing Wool Rug- Quillie Rug

At  Wonderwool last week I was fascinated by the beautiful rugs made with by the standing wool rug-making technique also known as making a ‘quillie’ rug.  I wrote about it in this post.   Apparently it’s not a very well known or practised technique which is strange because it’s very addictive and I found it not at all difficult to do.  I thought I would show you how I did it  in case you would like to have a go! I watched the quillies being rolled up at wonderwool and then how they are sewn into a complete rug but didn’t see how they were kept individually rolled beforehand so that bit is just my own way. I started with the  cut-offs of wool blankets I bought at Wonderwool


my wool cut-offs

Back home I cut them all up into strips with my rotary cutter.

Wool strips ready for quilling

The wool squares cut into strips

Then the fun bit: First lay two different coloured strips on top on one another and begin to curl them up between your fingers  keeping the initial fold as tight as you can.


two strips laying one on top of the other


beginning to curl the strips

It’s quite easy to roll them up but you do need to keep tight hold or else they flirt open and leap onto the floor!   I kept mine  from uncurling by sewing them through the middle using  sock wool  with a very long needle.  Mine is a called a Doll needle and there were 3 in a packet,   I find the 5inch one easiest.  It was very hard to pull the needle right out of the other side of the roll without using a needle grabber.  Once I bought the grabber it was very straight forward. If you were making these to combine for a rug or item to be used you should sew them together with linen thread for strength.

wool and doll needle for sewing up

pushing the long needle threaded with sock wool through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie together


wool right through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie

I just snipped the wool off the leave a short piece through the middle


finished quilllie with wool through

Here are the first few I made


First few quillie rolls

Here are the finished ones grouped together but not sewn together. I wanted to experiment with the colours.   I haven’t decided if this will be the final colour layout but   I will add more quillies as soon as I cut more strips from my store of felted charity shop jumpers! image I could sew these together and then add to the rug so it grows like freeform crochet or I could wait until I have all my quillie rolls and create the design first.  Decisions!

The sewing up part involves sewing two together – straight through the middle of each in a couple of places, then adding another one and sewing it to the first two in what ever shape you want.  Each quillie needs to have several strands of wool, or preferably strong linen thread, holding it to the others around it, using the long needle,  and then needs to be sewn at the top edge  to the adjacent quillie, using a curved needle. I imagine this is to make it secure enough to be walked on unless you wanted to have it as a wall hanging.  They could also be made into place mats though which would be much quicker!


using curved needle to sew up at the top edge

My largest quillies are about 3inches in diameter, the ones in the picture are 2 inches.  You just roll up the strips till you have the size you want then cut off the rest! Hopefully next week I will be able to post a complete rug! Linking up with Handmade Monday now and off to see what everyone else has been making!

21 thoughts on “Standing Wool Rug- Quillie Rug

  1. Oh wow thank you so much for this tutorial, as I said last week, I am absolutely loving these Quilies. Whether I’d actually make one though is another matter as it has the dreaded ‘sewing’ word in, but your easy to understand explanation and photographs make it not look so scary!
    Didnt know there was such a thing as a needle grabber, that could be quite usefull!!! x

  2. The swirls so far look amazing. Looking forward to how it turns out when it’s finished.

  3. Wow this looks amazing, the colours are fantastic. I never seen a rug made in this way. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s finished.
    Ali xx

  4. This is really clever. I think I could use this with my Headway guys as its so tactile, perhaps on a smaller scale to make cards using fabric left over from other projects 🙂

  5. I love all the different colours of your swirls, I think it’ll make a nice soft rug when finished.

  6. I’ve never come across standing wool rugs before. They look like lots of yummy little swiss rolls…

    The idea of a needle grabber is brilliant. I’m off to order one now…. xx

  7. I saw this at Wonderwool too. I currently have the material from a woollen kilt in the washing machine, hoping it will felt so that I can make some of these.

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