What is Walkstoff?
When I launched my ‘Walkstoff’ collection a couple of weeks ago, I got a lot of positive feedback. People just love my two poncho designs and are really intrigued by the fabric that I used. It didn’t come as a great surprise to me as ‘Walkstoff’ is a woollen fabric that is really hard to come by in North America.
It is traditionally manufactured in a couple of European countries from Northern Italy to Scandinavia. England, Scotland and Ireland developed similar techniques as well. In general this kind of fabric and its relatives have been used for centuries to make functional outerwear to keep you warm against a windy mountain climate or rough and humid ocean weather. Everyone who was fascinated by my latest collection realized that the fabric was somehow related to felt, boiled wool or loden. To make things easier for you, I will briefly explain the difference between those three fabrics and ‘Walkstoff’.
Felting is what my friend Carly of Folly a Tet does. She takes fibres from raw wool and works them with either needles or her hand in soapy water so the fibres get all twisted and tangled and turn into a fabric. The fibres are combed before she starts working with them but they’re never woven, spun or knitted.
Boiled wool, fulled wool or loden fabrics are basically the same. The fibres are first spun, then loosely woven and finally fulled or walked in hot water. It makes for a really dense, strong fabric that keeps its shape which makes it really easy to sew with. If you think of the German stereotype of a man in Lederhosen or a woman in her Dirndl-dress and a huge jug of beer in their hands, the jacket you picture them wearing is made from loden fabric.
Last but not least – ‘Walkstoff’ the fabric I brought with me from my last Germany trip. It is also 100% wool that is spun and then knitted before it’s finally felted or rather walked in cold water. This is done so the tiny fibres essentially glue together to create a luxurious but sturdy fabric. Because it was knitted first, it is significantly stretchier and lighter than boiled wool.
I chose to turn my stash of ‘Walkstoff’ into ponchos because ponchos are just the best for camping in Canada and the fabric will make you feel comfortably warm on a chilly summer night. And for those of you who think the fabric is too precious to wear it camping, don’t be afraid. You can easily spot clean that ketchup stain with a wet cloth and just hang it outside over night to get rid of the camp fire smoke!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or just shoot me an email at [email protected]
With love from the Maple And Oak Diaries,