Ruskovilla merino wool thermals

At some point when I had pneumonia I have coughed so hard that I have fractured two of my ribs!  As a result I still cannot do a great deal at the moment.

My Christrmas present from the children was a new set of Ruskovilla merino wool thermal underwear.  I bought my first set 10 years ago and apart from the colour having faded, they are just as good today as they were when I purchased them.


Ruskovilla is a Finnish company:-

Ruskovilla – ecologically produced clothes and textiles from natural fibres. We are committed to quality in a very deep sense: in all phases of production, from raw materials to the finished product, we take people and environment into consideration.

Ruskovilla, established in 1981, is a pioneer of environmentally friendly  textile manufacture in Finland.

We wish to bring you closer to nature and its authenticity. What engineers attempt to invent  in their laboratories, nature developed thousands of years ago. Nature’s produce and their uniquely suitable qualities cannot be copied.

Natural fibres bring the luxury of feeling good into your life. Clothes against your skin can make you feel either comfortable and pleasant or, for example, chilly and sweaty. The natural fibres – wool and silk – have a unique ability to cooperate with your skin. They breatrhe as your skin does and keep you always nicely warm and comfy. It is important for your skin to breathe well:you are feeling better when it is breathing naturally.

Our choise is an ecologically and ethically more sustainable world, and we are not alone. Numerous energetic people around the world make this same choice every day, the choice for sustainable development, for a healthy planet and mankind.

Although we support nature, we are not opposed to technology. We wish to communicate with you and therefore we are also on the Internet. Please take a look at our pages and send us tour message, feedback or comments. Naturally, you may equally well contact our customer service or retailers. We want to answer any questions you may have.”

“Our wool is ethically produced organic merino wool ( mulesing free ). The wool is produced in South America: Argentina and Uruguay.
There are many aspects included in ecological production e.g. environmental and social factors, which we wish to support by getting our raw material from producers using this method of production.
Ruskovilla organic merino wool is produced according to the criteria of IVN (Internationaler Verband der Naturtextilwirtschaft e.V.). The yarn is spun by a german spinnery, and it is certified by IMO (Institute for Marketecology).

Dyed wool products

The spinnery uses as few synthetic chemicals as possible for dying woollen yarn. The dying process takes place in closed system with the use of reactive dyes causing the fibres to react completly with the dye and preventing the dyes from running. Therefore, reactive dyes are safer option for garments that are in direct contact with the skin. No crome dyes or heavy metal salts are used in the organic production process. Any harmless auxiliary products that are indispensible in the dyeing process are flushed out in the post-dyeing rinsing process.

Merno wool – an inimitable natural product

– Feels soft, elastic and pleasant
– Lets air through and does not cause perspiration
– Absorbs moisture without feeling wet, warms you even when damp
– Neutralises skin excretions
– Fireproof

The sheep is man’s oldest domestic animal. Its wool has been used for clothing by man for as long as 10,000 years. Scientists around the world are trying to copy the properties of wool with man-made fibres, but without success. Wool is inimitable.

The reasons for the unique characteristics of wool are to be found in its chemical and physical properties: crimp, elasticity and an ability to absorb moisture which cannot be matched.

The crimp derives from the difference in tension between the ortocortex and paracortex of the main tissue. Products made of crimped wool are porous, enhancing thermal insulation.

The crimp also gives the fibres elasticity and resilience. Because of the elasticity, the insulating properties of wool do not fade with time and use. Wool does not crease and quickly returns to shape.

Wool is a warm fibre. After absorbing moisture, chemical reactions take place in its fibres. These reactions release heat and make the fibre feel warm against the skin.

Wool is capable of absorbing up to 35 per cent water without feeling damp.”

Unfortunately there is no UK retailer, but they now have a webshop where you can buy there products.

I have the “Outdoor top and underpants.”

You can read more about the benefits of wearing wool here:-

A pair of merino wool felt boots for Kelly

I have not forgotten about the Cattail Doll tutorial, but I thought I would write about a pair of merino wool felt boots I made for Kelly yesterday.

You can read how to make felt shoes in one of my previous tutorials;

The materials required were; merino wool, soap and warm water

merino wool boots-1 (Large)

I drew around one of Kelly’s feet to obtain a pattern and then added 1cm around the circumference of her foot.  In addition to making the two shoes, I also made a strip of felt.  I sewed this strip of felt around the shoe opening using a blanket stitch to form a boot.

merino wool boots-2 (Large)

I am very pleased with the end result and have decided to make a pair for myself also.

merino wool boots-3 (Medium)


Wilderness shirt

I have designed a new wilderness shirt, which a friend has now made for me.

wilderness shirt-kevin warrington

The material is worsted wool, with leather sewn across the shoulders and around the collar.  I have also sewn leather along the bottom edge of the two breast pockets.  The buttons I have made from Moose horn.

The back of the shirt is longer, so that it covers my backside.

naturallore-wilderness shirt

The shirt has a poly-cotton lining to reduce wind penetrating.

wilderness shirt polycotton lining

There is a leather baffle in the front to also reduce cold air penetrating inside.

wilderness shirt leather baffle

I am very pleased with the end result and it is incredibly warm.  A belt warn over the shirt, around the waist helps to hold in warm air.

Winter kit Part 1

Just in the process of preparing for my next trip to Swedish Lapland and thought it might be of interest for you to see what I will be taking with me.  There will be deep snow and the  temperatures I encounter could be anything from around zero degrees to minus fifty degrees.  At the time of righting this the temperature there is currently minus 16 degrees.

Firstly I have three grades of merino wool thermals which will be warn in combination, depending on temperature.  I will wear the light-weight set to travel and carry the medium grade in my hand luggage  (just in case my main bag gets lost)


Next I have six pairs of merino wool socks in two different grades of thickness and two pairs of the merino wool shoe liners I made.  I will be wearing one pair of socks and boot liners for travelling and carrying two pairs of socks in my hand luggage.


From the top left I have Swedish army worsted wool trousers (very very warm), next to them a pair of Fjallraven trousers which I will wear while travelling, below them my zoot suit and a set of braces.


I have a fur hat for travelling on a snow mobile, a wool hat for general use, a shemagh (which I will also use as my towel) and a wool neck tube.


From top left a Canadian military wool shirt, my Swanndri hooded bushshirt, below that my leather mittens, merino wool mittens and a pair of pilots gloves and finally my Swedish army winter parker with a coyote fur trim I have added around the hood.


Now for footwear; Top left my Canadian military Mukluks, next to them my walking boots which I shall travel in, and below the felted wool liners for my mukluks.


Felt shoes

After two attempts at felt making (the second being far more successful)

I decided to experiment with making felt shoes/boot liners made from merino wool purchased from

I began by drawing around my carpet slipper as a pattern


and then added 20mm all the way around to allow for the depth of my foot + some shrinkage.  I then cut out the pattern and wrapped it in cling film to waterproof it.


I followed the method described in the second link above covering each side of the pattern with thin layers of wool, laid alternately to each side, and each layer of wool 90 degrees to the previous.


covering each layer with soap and warm water and wrapping around overhanging wool to  form the sides of the shoe


To prevent the wool sticking to my hands when adding soap and water and manipulating the layers, I used a plastic bag


When the pattern was evenly covered I cut through the wool on one side as the opening for my foot and then removed the pattern from within.


After “hardening” the wool  I rinsed out the soap, placed the shoe in boiling water and then put it on my foot and worked it to shrink and shape it to my foot.



I have tested these shoes this weekend, both as boot liners and house shoes.  They are only 2mm thick yet incredibly warm, both when dry and wet.  I plan to make varying thickness’s that can be warn as a modular system and will certainly be using them during my next trip to Lapland.


Felt making Part II

The weekend before last I was at the home of my friends John and Val Lord of and they were having a family gathering as their daughter Gina was over from Canada for a couple of weeks.

One of their other daughters (Steff) showed me a really nice felt bag she had made and I told her about my failed attempt to make a bag here. Steff offered to teach me how to make a felt bag and as it was something Gina had never done, she was also keen to give it a go. We would be using pre-died and prepared wool this time.

The first task was to design a shape and then cut out a pattern to work the wool around.

Once the shape was cut out, one side had to be lightly covered with wool, ensuring all the fibres were laid in the same direction.

Then using soap and warm water the wool was dampened

and bubble wrap placed over it and with soapy hands the bubble wrap was gently rubbed to start manipulating the wool.

The pattern was turned over with the first layer of wool now face down and the process was repeated, folding in any wool that overhung the edge of the pattern. Then the whole lot was turned over, but this time a second layer of wool was added with the fibres laid at 90 degrees the the first layer and again the wool was wetted, bubble wrap laid over and gently manipulated to start the process of interlocking the fibres and different layers. In total three layers were added and after the bubble wrap was removed for the last time, the wool (particularly the edges) was worked with soapy hands. At this stage we cut open the top of the bag and removed the pattern and continued to manipulate the wool to help the fibres interlock. At this point the wool fibre layers could still be pulled apart with the fingers and needed to be “hardened”.

To do this the wool was rinsed in clean water to remove all the soap, then put into hot water and then manipulated very vigorously which required great effort and concentration!

Being serenaded by John helped to relax us as we worked (more about John’s musical talents later in the week)

and the transformation in the wool during this process was quite amazing and at the end, it was impossible to pull any of the wool apart.

For some reason my bag shrunk considerably more than Gina’s and ended up more like a woollen cup than a bag!

I must concede that Gina made the better bag which isn’t surprising when she demanded most of Steff’s attention and in fact Steff did most of the work for her!! (though I’m not bitter), but I was still impressed with my end result and as you can see below our tutor was very pleased with our work too!!

(sorry Steff….had to do it!)

Felt making

Inspired by this video on YouTube
I decided to have a go at making a felt bag.

A friend supplied me with some sheep’s fleece and I began by beating it with a stick to break up the wool, add air and make it more fibres.

I then pulled the fibres between my thumb and forefinger to break it further and remove and crap.

The wool on the left has been processed and the the wool on the right hasn’t.

Between each layer of wool (to which I applied soapy water) I put a layer of leaves to prevent the two layers combining together (next time I will remove the thick central rib before using them).

I covered the top layer with my insect net and then rolled the whole thing up.

I rolled it for about 30 minutes and manipulated it with my feet.

I removed the netting and leaves and left the wool to dry.

Here is the end result.

I did not use a sufficient thickness of wool so it is very thin in places and the edges of the two pieces did not combine well but the end result is better than I was expecting and I’m sure my felting skills will get better with practice.